Talking Points For Office Visit with Senator’s Staff
–Or E-mails to Senators

We are asking the Senator to vote against the nomination of Wendy Vitter for a judgeship in the federal district court (Eastern District Court of Louisiana). Ms. Vitter has a long record of activism against women’s reproductive rights. Her role as a leader in the Right to Life movement raises questions about her fitness and impartiality for a lifetime appointment to a federal judgeship. Recently Ms. Vitter also refused to support a landmark civil rights case during her Senate hearing. Her response received widespread criticism and national news attention.

— Omissions from Senate Questionnaire; Prominent Activism Against Reproductive Rights. Ms. Vitter omitted potentially embarrassing material from her Senate questionnaire, which requires completeness by nominees. The material involved her prominent activism in Right To Life groups.

  • Ms. Vitter’s omissions included her moderation of a panel called “Abortion Hurts Women’s Health” hosted by Louisiana Right to Life. At the event, Ms. Vitter praised a speaker who claimed that abortion causes breast cancer, which has been repeatedly debunked. Vitter also promoted a brochure that claims the use of birth control pills leads to extramarital affairs, resulting in a higher likelihood of violent death. This assertion is unproven and defies common sense.
  • Ms. Vitter omitted her speech at a rally before a Planned Parenthood clinic under construction. She said that Planned Parenthood “kills over 150,000 females a year.” Under questioning at her Senate hearing, Ms. Vitter was asked if she stood by that statement. Her response was, “I am pro-life.”

— Refusal to Support the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education Decision. When asked if the landmark Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, was correctly decided, Ms. Vitter refused to support the decision. The historic Brown case effectively ended segregation in the U.S. in 1954. Ms. Vitter’s ambivalent response shocked the legal community and civil rights groups. National news media, such as CNN, ABC, CBS, PBS, NPR, and Time magazine have all covered the incident.

— Opposition to Refugee Resettlement. Ms. Vitter publicly opposed a resettlement project for Syrian refugees. In contrast, her employer, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, publicly supported the project as a humanitarian effort to help war refugees.

— Work as Prosecutor for District Attorney’s Office with History of Abuses. Ms. Vitter worked as legal counsel for the New Orleans District Attorney’s Office from 1987 to 1992. She was promoted to Chief of Trials in 1990. During this period the District Attorney’s Office was repeatedly overruled by federal courts for failing to share exculpatory evidence of innocence with defendants, as required by law. It was criticized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1995. Local news media also pointed out how the District Attorney’s Office appeared to bring more severe charges against African-American defendants as compared to whites.

Ms. Vitter’s record makes her extremely unfit for a lifetime appointment as a federal judge. Her record calls into question her stance on vital constitutional rights: specifically, a woman’s right to choose, and our country’s commitment to racial equality. Ms. Vitter’s senior position in a widely criticized District Attorney’s Office indicates indifference to the rights of defendants. We doubt that Ms. Vitter can put aside her partisan and troubled history to become an impartial judge.

Ms. Vitter’s disturbing record as an attorney and activist cannot be understated. In comparison to other judicial nominees now before the Senate, her record stands out as among the worst. We are asking the Senator to vote against the nomination of Wendy Vitter for a federal judgeship.

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