Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The outrages keep coming

Next to ordering the breakup of hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran families, this may not seem the worst of the Trump/Republican regime's atrocities this week, but I want to note it here.

On Thursday there is supposed to be a Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Howard C. Nielson Jr. to a lifetime appointment as a judge on the United States District Court for the District of Utah.

Who is Howard C. Nielson Jr.?
  • Californians may remember him as the lawyer who picked up the defense of Prop. 8., the initiative that outlawed LGBT marriage, after the elected state government declined to represent a measure they thought unconstitutionally discriminatory. Now any of us who look to support the rule of law understand that legal representation ought to be available to any party in a courtroom. But Nielson made it part of his argument that Judge Vaughn Walker, an experienced and acerbic federal judge, who was hearing the case should have been barred because he is gay. His argument: Walker might sometime benefit from the right to get married. Much of the legal world, including the judge, found this mixing of personal identity with the law both offensive and silly. But it certainly fits with Trump's attitude to judges, as when he attacked a Chicago judge for his his Mexican ancestry.
  • Nielson also comes from the clutch of Office Legal Council lawyers in the George W. Bush administration who cooked up legally spurious and morally offensive memos of allowing torture in the War on Terror. Jay S. Bybee, the lead torture lawyer, was subsequently put on the bench by GWB; the judiciary doesn't need another of these guys.
The Alliance for Justice is organizing opposition to terrible judicial nominees like Nielson.

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