Judicial Appoinments

Perhaps one of the less obvious but most impactful ways that the present occupant of the White House has harmed American workers and their families is in his granting of life time appointments to judges to the federal courts.

While a number of fine lawyers and judges have been appointed as federal judges by the President, his appointments as a whole raise serious concerns. These concerns have been exacerbated by the Republican controlled Senate’s ready willingness to confirm the President’s nominees, even if these persons have been determined by the American Bar Association to be “unqualified.” Further, judicial nominees have been rushed through the Senate that refused even to hold a hearing when President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the United Sates Supreme Court.

The President has now nominated over 200 judges to the federal courts. He claimed in his recent acceptance speech that he plans to appoint 300 federal judges if he is re-elected. There is a troubling lack of diversity in his appointments. Of these appointments, 85% are white, and 76% are male. Only 4% are African-American. He has nominated two white men as justices of the United States Supreme Court. As of this time the President has appointed 1 in 4 appellate judges in the United States.

Compounding this lack of diversity is the rigid ideological bent of many of the nominees. Judges should be selected based on their demonstrated abilities and impartiality. Instead, The President has frequently appointed judges who hold ultraconservative views and who tend to favor corporate and other powerful monied interests over working people. As the Alliance for Justice has reported:

Of all the ways President Donald Trump has undermined our democracy, his massive reshaping of the courts will be the hardest to undo. With the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans, Trump has filled lifetime vacancies on the federal court at a breakneck pace. Many of these nominees have ultraconservative views that are contrary to the direction most Americans think our country should be headed – views that are consistent, however, with Republicans’ desire to accomplish in the courts what they cannot through the legislature. Some nominees are also egregiously unqualified to uphold the integrity Americans have come to expect from judges, but Senate republicans have nevertheless rubber-stamped their confirmations.

This reshaping of the federal bench has the potential to further roll back the rights of the American worker, including in the areas of forced arbitration, discrimination, and wage and hour benefits, among others.

Many people, including the Stand Up for Workers PAC, firmly believe that judges should be appointed based on their qualifications, accomplishments, legal and courtroom experience, their fairness to both sides, and not their ideology in either direction. We also believe that extremist judges deprive workers and their families of a level playing field when they are asked to enforce labor and employment laws. The upcoming election will be critical to ensure an administration and Senate that prioritizes a fair judiciary.

*SOURCE Alliance for Justice https://www.afj.org/