Most conservative politicos, particularly ones who are active on Twitter, are familiar with the near omnipresence of Justice Don Willett. With tweets that include incisive humor, lighthearted graphics, and selfie skills like a millennial, Willett is not only an active presence on Twitter but a dedicated husband, father and, before his recent confirmation, Texas Supreme Court Justice.
When he was nominated to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Democrats balked, of course, but not for the reasons one might think. In an incredible show of grandstanding, liberals spent more time picking apart Willett’s tweets rather than objecting to his jurisprudence.
Because of his conservative (nay, libertarian) leanings one expected Democrats to push back on Willetts’ nomination. They pitched a hissy fit about Amy Coney Barrett and Joan Larsen, despite incredible qualifications, because they were religious women. But Democrats grilled Willett and his tweets, to the point of asinine absurdity.
In 2015, Willett sent this tweet, joking about the country’s focus on same-sex marriage:
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee repeatedly hammered Willett for that tweet. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told him, “You’ve equated the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, which the [U.S.] Supreme Court has upheld, with the constitutional right to marry bacon. I don’t think one would see that as praising the Supreme Court decisions.” Willett countered it was an “attempt to inject a bit of levity” as anyone with a sense of humor and love of bacon can certainly see.
As if that weren’t enough, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., also piled on about a different tweet, one that Willett sent mocking Alex Rodriguez, or A-Rod, the professional baseball player, since he made the comment while retweeting an article about a transgender highschooler playing sports. Franken tried to insinuate Willett was not sensitive to children or transgenders, although it’s obvious in the tweet he was poking fun at a grown, adult male.
Go away, A-Rod. “@FoxNews: California's transgender law allows male high schooler to make girls' softball team http://t.co/hnTrWAaV8g"— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) February 14, 2014
Democrats continued with the onslaught, with Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., who called Willett an "extreme individual" with a "frightening record."
At 11:00 a.m., @SenJeffMerkley, @nwlc's @FGossGraves & I will be speaking out against Fifth Circuit nominee Don Willett & so many others Trump judicial nominees who are #BadForWomen. Watch live at https://t.co/oFTyj2w7n1 #CourtsMatter— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) December 13, 2017
All of this, while pretty much normal in the political climate in which we live, is actually patently absurd when you realize both the goal of a federal judge and the qualifications of the judges which have all been nominated, and eventually confirmed, to the Supreme Court. One would hope all of the country’s federal judges are qualified, fair, balanced, and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the unique premises upon which our justice system rests.
It’s also ironic that Democrats seem to be fine with liberal judges interpreting laws based on their biased political views, but when a “conservative” judge is nominated, they want to ensure that person will demonstrate fair, neutral, jurisprudence. (It’s almost as if that is the actual job of a federal judge.)
As long as Trump continues to nominate qualified conservative or libertarian judges to the federal bench, you can be sure Democrats will squirm, holler, and grandstand to attempt to slow down or halt the person’s confirmation. Which is why it feels so good when qualified, upstanding judges like Willett are ultimately confirmed.
Nicole Russell is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is a journalist in Washington, D.C., who previously worked in Republican politics in Minnesota. She was the 2010 recipient of the American Spectator's Young Journalist Award.
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