Skip to content

What They Are Saying: Women’s Advocacy Organizations Oppose U.S. District Court Nominee Sarah Netburn

WASHINGTON – Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), Independent Women’s Voice (IWV), and the Independent Women’s Law Center are opposed to Sarah Netburn’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. They oppose the nomination because Judge Netburn recommended that a biological male convicted of rape and child molestation be transferred to a federal women’s prison.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Netburn’s nomination this week on Thursday, June 13.

IWF and IWV are leading national organizations dedicated to advancing commonsense policies of concern to women. Independent Women’s Law Center is an organization that fights for equal opportunity, individual liberty, and the continued legal relevance of biological sex.

Independent Women’s Forum President Carrie Lukas:

“We have highlighted the high costs women pay in athletic arenas and in living spaces, including sorority houses and locker rooms. Yet no women are more vulnerable than the women who are held in our prison system. Their safety and ability to live in dignity depend entirely on those who administer the correctional facility in which they are housed.

“As an American, I believe emphatically that as prisoners fulfill their debt to society, they should be treated humanely and fairly. As such, we are deeply troubled by Judge Netburn’s August 3, 2022 recommendation that William McClain, a male inmate convicted of rape and child molestation, be transferred to a women’s federal prison.”

Letter on May 29, 2024

Independent Women’s Voice:

“…We understand the danger that incarcerated women face when biological males are placed in their prisons. Sadly, Judge Netburn refuses to protect these women. Not only that, she recommended that a biological male convicted of rape and child molestation be transferred to a women's federal prison, subjecting many women who have been victims of sexual abuse and assault to risk further…

“Incarcerated women need and deserve female-only spaces. We call on the Senate Judiciary Committee to protect female inmates and reject President Biden’s nomination of Judge Netburn.”

Letter on May 30, 2024

Independent Women’s Forum Director of Storytelling Kelsey Bolar:

“Incarcerated women have already been sentenced and are simply trying to serve their time without being forced to encounter the same types of abusive men that often landed them in prison in the first place.

“Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn, with her history of twisting existing law to allow transgender-identifying male inmates access to women’s prisons, would completely derail the healing process that incarcerated women require to become productive citizens after their release.”

Letter on June 3, 2024

Independent Women’s Law Center Director May Mailman:

…the progressive Constitution Magistrate Judge Netburn invented is deeply harmful to our values as a nation. In this country, we respect and protect women. As Independent Women’s Forum’s mini-documentary series exposes, placing biological males in women's prisons puts both incarcerated women and their female prison guards at risk.

“Many incarcerated women have experienced sexual trauma and abuse, indeed many are in prison due to abusive relationships. To physically lock them in small, dark rooms with criminal males is cruel and a violation of their rights. This is obvious to the vast majority of Americans. That it is not obvious to Judge Netburn shows her judgment has been horribly manipulated by activism.”

Letter on May 30, 2024

Background on Netburn:

Sarah Netburn has served as a magistrate judge for 12 years. In 2022 she concluded that a 6’2” biological male, serial child sex abuser who began identifying as a woman at the age of 51 should be transferred to a federal women’s prison—against the recommendation of the Bureau of Prisons. The inmate was previously convicted of raping a 17-year-old girl, molesting a 9-year-old boy, and distributing child sexual abuse material.