May 06, 2020

Feinstein Remarks on Justin Walker Nomination for D.C. Circuit Court

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

“I want to begin by thanking the frontline workers who have spent untold hours responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From doctors, nurses and first responders to grocery store workers, bus drivers and farmworkers, these men and women have helped keep us safe and well.

I know I speak for all of us when I simply say: thank you.

Today, the committee is moving forward with a hearing to consider the nomination of Justin Walker to the D.C. Circuit.

The Senate confirmed Judge Walker to the District Court for the Western District of Kentucky in October 2019, with no Democratic votes.

After serving just six months as a district court judge, he has now been nominated to the D.C. Circuit.

After the Supreme Court, this is the most important court in the country. Its rulings have national implications, including on issues such as health care, the powers of the Executive Branch and workplace and environmental safeguards.

In his short time on the bench, Judge Walker – just 37 years old – has had virtually none of the experience one would expect of a district court judge before elevation to the circuit [court.]

He has not presided over any bench or jury trials. He has written opinions in only 12 total cases.

It is not surprising, then, that groups like the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights have opposed Judge Walker’s nomination partly because of his ‘lack of experience,’ which ‘paint[s] a vivid picture of an individual who is unworthy of a lifetime appointment to the federal judiciary.’

More than two hundred groups, including the Leadership Conference, NAACP and National Council on Jewish Women, also oppose Judge Walker because of his record against expanding access to health care and against safeguards for the environment, consumers and the workplace.

In its letter, Protect Our Care noted Judge Walker’s statement that the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act was ‘indefensible.’ That letter – signed by 53 groups – expressed concern that Judge Walker’s confirmation could ‘exacerbate the health crisis in this country.’

I will ask Judge Walker today about his record, and whether he can fulfill the judicial standard of fairness and objectivity that we should expect from the federal bench.”

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