June 23, 2020

Feinstein Statement on 5th Circuit Nominee Cory Wilson

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

“Judge Wilson has a troubling record on a number of critically important issues. That record makes clear Judge Wilson is far outside of the judicial mainstream. And I believe that record is and should be disqualifying.

First, Judge Wilson has a long record of working to undermine voting rights.

He has been a longtime proponent of voter ID laws – which disproportionately harm communities of color, students, voters with disabilities and the elderly – and has made false claims about the prevalence of voter fraud.

He has likewise expressed opposition to enforcement of the Voting Rights Act and has made unsubstantiated claims that voter suppression is non-existent.

As I have noted before, Judge Wilson’s troubling record on voting rights is highly relevant to his nomination. The 5th Circuit is a majority-minority circuit – 55 percent of those who live in the circuit are people of color.

The Senate should not confirm a nominee who would work to further restrict the right to vote from the bench.

Second, Judge Wilson has been a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act.

He referred to the ACA’s passage as ‘perverse’ and ‘illegitimate.’ And he called upon the Supreme Court to strike down the law, writing: ‘For the sake of the Constitution, I hope the Court strikes down the law and reinvigorates some semblance of the limited government the Founders intended.’

As of June 22, more than 120,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and nearly 2.3 million have been infected.

Now is not the time to advance a judicial nominee whose opposition to the ACA would strip tens of millions of Americans of health care, including those with preexisting conditions.

Third, Judge Wilson has made extreme partisan comments that call into question his ability to rule fairly and impartially.

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.’

The Senate should not confirm a nominee who cannot be trusted to put aside extreme partisanship to rule in an unbiased and impartial manner.

Fourth, Judge Wilson has sought to undermine the rights of LGBT Americans.

In 2016, while serving in the Mississippi legislature, Judge Wilson supported HB 1523, a bill providing legal cover for businesses to deny services to individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation.

And in a 2012 op-ed, Judge Wilson argued that ‘gay marriage is a pander to liberal interest groups and an attempt to cast Republicans as intolerant, uncaring and even bigoted.’

Judge Wilson’s past support for anti-LGBT legislation – and his comments demeaning the fight for marriage equality – raise questions about his ability to rule objectively on any case implicating LGBT rights.

Finally, Judge Wilson has been an ardent opponent of women’s reproductive rights, making it abundantly clear that he supports ‘the complete and immediate reversal of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions.’

Judge Wilson will be the 200th Article III judge appointed by this president and confirmed by this Senate.

Unfortunately, Judge Wilson’s record of hostility to voting rights, the ACA, the rights of LGBT Americans and women’s reproductive rights is not unique to him.

In fact, it is clear that so many of this administration’s judicial nominees have been selected precisely because of those viewpoints.

This is not something to celebrate. After all, those who have gained health care because of the ACA deserve the security of knowing their coverage is not at risk from the federal judiciary.

And those who seek to vindicate their rights – to vote, to make their own reproductive health care decisions, and to be free from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity – deserve a judiciary that will rule fairly and impartially.

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