June 11, 2020

Feinstein Remarks on Cory Wilson Nomination for 5th Circuit Court

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) delivered the following remarks on Judge Cory Wilson, President Trump’s nominee to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Video of the remarks is available here.

“Judge Wilson has a record that, if you look at it, is really far outside of the mainstream on a number of critically important issues.

He has expressed opposition to the rights of LGBTQ Americans. He has expressed opposition to women’s reproductive rights, to workers’ rights and to commonsense gun safety measures.

He has also made clear his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, whose passage he called ‘perverse’ and ‘illegitimate.’ If Judge Wilson were to have his way, the ACA would have been struck down by the Supreme Court.

This would be disastrous for the 20 million Americans who gained coverage thanks to the ACA and for the estimated 129 million non-elderly Americans with a preexisting condition who [could] be denied coverage if the law were to be repealed.

It is hard, at least for me, to see how Judge Wilson could rule objectively on any case raising an issue of coverage under the Affordable Care Act. And this is particularly troubling right now when more than 112,000 Americans – it just has gone up from 110,000 – 112,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and minority communities have been hit particularly hard.

He also opposes voting rights and has been a strong proponent of voter ID laws, claiming – without any evidence – that ‘voter fraud happens’ and that ‘voter ID can work to help.’

And he has made demeaning statements about former [President] Obama, calling him ‘King Barack,’ ‘petty and small’ and ‘a fit-throwing teenager.’

As of Tuesday, the committee had received 19 letters or statements of opposition to Judge Wilson’s nomination from groups that include the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, NARAL and the Congressional Black Caucus.

I would like, Mr. Chairman, to enter these letters into the record and read from just a few.

The Congressional Black Caucus writes, Judge Wilson has ‘expressed more support for ultra-right-wing ideology than support for equal protection of the law, equal access to the ballot box and established precedent in the area of civil rights.’

This led the Congressional Black Caucus to conclude the following: ‘It should be clear that if Wilson is confirmed, he would not support and uphold laws that support inclusion, diversity, equal rights and protection, and other long upheld civil rights protections so important to all Americans, but especially to African Americans.’ That is from a letter of opposition dated May 18 of this year.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law notes the following in its letter: ‘Mr. Wilson’s record advocating against voting rights and access to health care, as well as his expressions of racial hostility towards President Barack Obama, lead us to doubt his ability to serve as an impartial federal judge with an open mind on any civil rights issues impacting communities of color.’ That is from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law [letter] May 5 of this year.

I will vote against Judge Wilson’s nomination and urge my colleagues to do the same.”

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