Talking points for office visit with senators’ staff

We are asking Senator [name] to vote against the nomination of David Stras for  judge on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. We have two major concerns:

First, we do not need another extreme right-wing judge on the already conservative Eighth Circuit Court. In his rulings as a judge and in his writings about the judiciary, Stras has shown that:

  • He is unwilling to protect the rights of sexual assault victims—he wrote a dissenting opinion rejecting a victim’s claims based on a narrow procedural issue
  • He will not protect the right to vote—he allowed a ballot measure requiring photo ID to be put before the voters even though it was misleading and deceptive
  • He will not protect the rights of disabled children—he limited benefits for a severely disabled child based upon a technical reading of state law
  • He will not protect the rights of people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, or women—he wrote that the Supreme Court should stay out of cases involving school integration, LGBTQ rights, and abortion.

Second, Stras’s nomination should not even have gotten a hearing after his home-state Senator, Al Franken, opposed the nomination. The longstanding blue slip tradition allows Senators from a nominee’s home state to object to a nomination by refusing to return a blue slip on the nominee. Only three judicial nominees in the last 100 years have been confirmed over blue slip objections.

Just two years ago, Senator Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, acknowledged the importance of the blue slip tradition, explaining that it’s “designed to encourage outstanding nominees and consensus between the White House and home-state senators.” After noting that his Democratic predecessor steadfastly honored the tradition, Grassley promised to do the same. His about-face on this issue is hypocritical and must not be allowed to go unchallenged. 

We strongly oppose Stras’s nomination for a federal judgeship, and we ask Senator [name] to vote against the Stras nomination.

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