During President Obama’s terms, the Senate Republicans rejected his nominees for the federal courts at all levels. Their most egregious action was to ignore Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the U.S. Supreme Court. Senate Republicans refused to even hold hearings to consider Garland’s nomination.

As a result of this program of obstruction, there are now many vacancies throughout the federal court system, and Trump and the Senate Republicans are ready to pack the court with very conservative, right-wing judges. We believe this situation is cause for alarm.

In particular we are focusing on appointments to the federal appeals courts, or circuit courts. Because the U.S. Supreme Court takes relatively few cases, the federal appeals courts are often the last word in federal law. So far Trump and his Senate allies have selected nominees who occupy the far right wing in politics. They are not centrist, nor part of the legal mainstream.

Trump’s nominees have shown indifference, even hostility, towards voting rights, women’s rights, same-sex marriage, consumer protection, disability rights, workers’ rights, and environmental protection. Although the nominees may sport adequate legal credentials, they are undesirable by their legal views. These nominees have the potential to tilt our federal courts sharply towards the radical right, to the harm of the majority of Americans.

At Indivisible East Bay we are monitoring Trump’s nominees for the federal courts. We aim to raise awareness about Trump’s right-wing nominees, and to fight against these extremist nominations. We will work to encourage the appointment of well-respected, mainstream judges who will safeguard our rights.

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