President Trump has bungled many things, from tweeting at all hours of the day and night and calling out private citizens, to accusations that he knew about Russia meddling with our election and that his family participated.
One thing he has not screwed up: Nominating the right people for federal judgeships.
How can we tell? Because they keep getting intense criticism. A few weeks ago during hearings, the Senate Judiciary Committee proved this by relentlessly interrogating some of his nominees, including Amy Barrett. Barrett, a Notre Dame Law Professor and former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, was repeatedly grilled about her devout Catholic faith.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told Barrett with disdain, "When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that's of concern." Recently the New York Times piled on, claiming, "Ms. Barrett told the senators that she was a faithful Catholic, and that her religious beliefs would not affect her decisions as an appellate judge. But her membership in a small, tightly knit Christian group called People of Praise never came up at the hearing, and might have led to even more intense questioning."
It's not uncommon for a person of religious faith to be a member of a group of believers with the express purpose of being held accountable within their religious journey. It's questionable whether such involvement merited an entire hit-piece.
Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, Legal Advisor for The Catholic Association Foundation said in a statement:
Notre Dame Law Professor Amy Barrett is an incredibly intelligent woman who is superbly qualified to sit on the federal bench. Finding no flaws in her credentials, critics have sunk to a new low by attacking her faith. The New York Times insinuates impropriety in Professor Barrett's possible choice to deepen her faith within a group of other Catholics. With nothing of substance undermining Professor Barrett's nomination, her opponents are left bashing the rights to religion and association guaranteed by our Constitution.This week, Trump announced another great nominee, Kyle Duncan, for federal judge on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
He was formerly general counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious faiths. Bill Mumma, president of Becket said in a statement, "Americans of all faiths should welcome Kyle's nomination. Very few lawyers have demonstrated the kind of empathy and understanding of people of many different backgrounds that Kyle has. He is an intelligent, upstanding man who will do great service for the Court and for all Americans."
In a press release about his nomination, the White House said, "Mr. Duncan has argued two cases in the United States Supreme Court, and has acted as lead counsel in numerous other cases in that Court, including Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S.Ct. 2751 (2014), in which he successfully led litigation challenging the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate on behalf of Hobby Lobby Stores." The Senate will consider Duncan's nomination later this year.
The quality of Trump's federal nominees doesn't negate everything he's done or hasn't done in office, including bizarre tweets. But long-term, the country will experience the effect of the work these conservative judges accomplish in our judicial branch.
You know the adage, "If you're not catching flak, you're not over the target." From the looks of Democrats' bluster, target acquired.
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