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Feinstein Remarks on Cory Wilson Nomination for 5th Circuit Court

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

“As I stated during the nomination hearing for the district court in January, I am interested in Judge Wilson’s views on a number of issues including health care, voting rights, women’s reproductive rights, gun safety and the rights of LGBT Americans.

His record of opposition to the Affordable Care Act is troubling, particularly because we are concerned with COVID-19. I hope he will straighten us out on that.

It has been reported that Judge Wilson has a ‘commitment to undermining the [Affordable Care Act]’ and that he has called the ACA’s passage ‘illegitimate.’ I would like him to flesh that out for us as well.

And in encouraging the Supreme Court to overturn the ACA, he said this ‘[f]or the sake of the Constitution, I hope the court strikes down the law.’ I think that, too, we need to better understand.

He also has a troubling record on voting rights. According to a letter from the NAACP, Judge Wilson opposes ‘free and full exercise of the franchise for communities of color.’ The NAACP also highlighted that Judge Wilson has been a strong supporter of voter ID laws while at the same time ‘indicating ‘his disdain for the concept of voter suppression.’

His record on voting rights is all the more relevant to his nomination for two reasons.

First, we have already seen the profound effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Americans’ ability to exercise the right to vote.  

Second, the 5th Circuit is a majority-minority circuit, with people of color comprising roughly 55 percent of the circuit’s population.

Given this demographic composition and Judge Wilson’s record, the NAACP has written that Judge Wilson is ‘singularly unsuited to hear voting rights cases filed in this circuit.’ I have never seen that written in my 26 years on this committee.

Finally, I have concerns about Judge Wilson’s judicial temperament. In op-eds in a Mississippi newspaper, he [likened] President Obama to ‘a fit-throwing teenager’ and called him ‘King Barack’ and ‘President Make-Believe.’

In tweets that he has kept public even while serving as a state court judge, Judge Wilson called Hillary Clinton ‘Crooked [Clinton]’ and said she was ‘criminal and clueless.’ He also called Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a ‘claptrap.’

I will ask Judge Wilson today about these and other aspects of his record, but I find it regrettable that the committee is proceeding on his nomination.”