The “good, solid” court nominations she’s recently voted for
Yesterday’s New York Times had a long article on how Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has placed his emphasis on getting conservative judges approved while mostly ignoring the Senate’s legislative agenda. The article quotes West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito as going along with McConnell’s actions:
“I agree with him,” she said of Mr. McConnell, “that setting our court system in the right direction with good, solid nominations is an important thing to be doing.”
Here are two of the “good, solid nominations” that Capito has recently supported:
According to Business Insider:
Wendy Vitter, a Trump judicial nominee with anti-abortion views, was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday for a lifetime seat on the federal bench. . . .
Vitter once accused Planned Parenthood of "killing over 150,000 females a year," and at a 2013 conference referred to a brochure that touted false claims about abortion being linked to breast cancer, and birth control causing women to pursue violent relationships.
And then there is Vitter’s unwillingness to say that Brown v. Board of Education was correctly decided by the Court. As CNN reported:
Last year, during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Vitter was asked by Sen. Richard Blumenthal if she thought Brown v. Board of Education -- the landmark opinion from 1954 that struck down school segregation and the "separate but equal" doctrine -- was correctly decided.
Vitter, in that exchange, would not answer the senator's question.
"I don't mean to be coy," she said, "but I think I can get into a difficult, difficult area when I start commenting on Supreme Court decisions -- which are correctly decided and which I may disagree with. Again my personal, political or religious views I would set aside -- that is Supreme Court precedent. It is binding. If I were honored to be confirmed, I would be bound by it and of course, I would uphold it."
Asked again by Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, if she thought Brown was "correctly decided," Vitter again declined to answer him, saying she didn't think she should comment on which cases she agreed with for fear of starting down a slippery slope.
As the Huffington Post described:
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Kenneth Lee to a lifetime federal judgeship over the objections of both of his home-state senators and despite his past controversial writings on sexism, AIDS, LGBTQ rights, slavery and Native Americans.
As the Hill explained:
Feinstein said the vote on Lee marked the first time that the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee's blue slip has been ignored.
"Lee repeatedly failed to turn over more than 75 controversial writings and submitted many only after we identified them. Lee took controversial positions in these writings on race, civil rights and voting rights. His lack of candor with the committee should concern all senators," Feinstein wrote in a tweet.
It apparently didn’t concern Capito.
Of course, Capito’s votes to confirm are easy to explain: Capito does not defy Republican leadership. For example, here is Capito back in January explaining her vote to confirm Attorney General Barr:
It’s clear to me that Mr. Barr is unfazed by political pressure and believes profoundly in an independent Justice Department dedicated to upholding the laws of our country.
Sorry, but for anyone who actually looked at Barr’s past or how he got the job, an “independent” department would certainly not be what one would expect. He has not disappointed; we now have an attorney general who functions as the president’s personal attorney.
Along those same lines, “independent” would not be a word I would use to characterize any of Capito’s votes since she was first elected 6 years ago. Her voting record currently places her tied for 3rd among all active U.S. senators in her support for Trump’s policies* and her only vote against Republican leadership that I am aware of came on an Obamacare vote that had been decided by the time she voted. The words "independent" and "Capito" should not be in the same sentence.
*She differed with Trump twice by voting to impose sanctions on Russia.