Anti-Abortion, Right-Wing Hack Wendy Vitter Ready To Judge You PROFESSIONALLY
There's no real suspense over whether the Senate will confirm Louisiana district court nominee Wendy Vitter. Republicans have the votes and the federal courts will soon have another partisan hack. Vitter's kinda light on actual federal law experience -- serving as co-counsel on a single case 25 years ago. No biggie, she'll have the rest of her life to get up to speed. She can also fall back on her private sector experience, where she focused on maritime law (no, really).
Vitter has the full support of Louisiana's two Republican senators, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy. Cassidy swept into office during the 2014 red wave of terrible. He defeated Mary Landrieu, who had a 100 percent rating from the NARAL. Here's Cassidy's LinkedIn recommendation:
CASSIDY: Wendy Vitter is extremely qualified and I look forward to voting for her. It's a shame the liberal left is using fabricated political smears to suppress the voice of a strong conservative woman.
These "fabricated political smears" are Vitter's actual words and deeds. Let's refresh our memories and then clean our brains with turpentine. Vitter has accused Planned Parenthood of killing "over 150,000 females a year." It does not. During her hearings last month, Vitter refused to say whether she was just stupid or willfully lying. She led a panel at a 2013 anti-abortion conference, during which she seemed to endorse the junk science of Angela Lanfranchi, arguing that abortions cause breast cancer. There is no such link. Vitter also pushed Lanfranchi's brochure "The Pill Kills," which contained all the intellectual rigor of the old movie Reefer Madness. Vitter thought it'd be swell if doctors littered their waiting rooms with that garbage.
Vitter failed to disclose at least "three speeches, one interview, a letter to the editor, and a campaign ad" to the Senate committee. That's normally a big no-no and Republicans blocked an Obama nominee for a less egregious omission. Vitter insists she just plumb forgot. She really only bothered to submit speaking appearances that were noted in "brief calendar entries" or "were discovered through an online search." That's not really the kind of attention to detail you want from a federal judge.
We get that Vitter is an anti-abortion extremist who'll help roll back reproductive rights. That's why she was nominated in the first place. But if she's not a fan of women's rights, she's equally shaky on civil rights. She tap danced without rhythm to a question about the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. That's usually a softball -- just agree that segregation is bad. No one'll make you actually send your kids to schools with black people.
Vitter's response to Sen. Richard Blumenthal is incredibly awkward. There's that long pause you never want to hear -- like when you ask your spouse if they still love you. We're from the South so we don't normally mock southern accents, but Vitter sounds eerily like an antagonist from The Color Purple here.
VITTER: I don't mean to be coy, but I think I get into a difficult area when I start commenting on Supreme Court decisions, which are correctly decided and which I may disagree with.
Say what now? You may disagree with Brown v. Board of Education?
VITTER: My personal, political or religious views I would set aside.
Can we please have judges whose actual "personal, political or religious views" include a firm opposition to segregation? The days when you're deciding Jim Crow cases should be your easiest judge days.
VITTER: This is Supreme Court precedent. It is binding... I would be bound by it and of course I would uphold it.
"Well, I guess. There's no going back now. The water fountains are already ruined."
Brown v. Board of Education turns 65 on May 17. Vitter's likely confirmation is not a great birthday present. Democrats aren't "coy" about their belief that Vitter is a nightmare. Sen. Mazie Hirono pretty much said Vitter lacked the "common sense" to be a judge. But Mitch McConnell doesn't care about Democrats in the Senate. It's a miracle he still gives them keys that work. He just needs 50 Republicans to vote "yes." That leaves a "Pretend You Have a Conscience" card for Susan Collins.
Vitter is married to diaper-wearing former Sen. David Vitter, and we're sorry. Vitter is not responsible for her husband's predilection for prostitutes. Lousy choice in husbands is not why Vitter is unfit to sit on the federal bench. Literally everything else about her is, though
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.