If Mitch McConnell And Brett Kavanaugh Had A Weird Christianist Baby They Were Grooming For The Supreme Court
Because this timeline only gets worse and worse, Donald Trump has nominated Justin Reed Walker to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. And Walker has given us a great (not great!) demonstration of why he's a darling of the Right.
Right now, Justin Walker is a judge in the Western District of Kentucky — a position he was confirmed to just six months ago after being recommended by Mitch McConnell. His main claim to fame is taking to the press to help Brett Kavanaugh get confirmed to the Supreme Court (both before and after Kegs was credibly accused of sexual assault).
Just after Trump announced Walker's promotion, Walker wrote his most noteworthy opinion to date: a partisan screed that quotes the Old Testament. Meanwhile, McConnell has announced that he will not let something like a global pandemic stop him from rubber-stamping Trump's judicial picks.
Who with the what now?
Justin Reed Walker, now a Trump judicial nominee for the second time, isn't just a favorite of Trump — both Mitch McConnell and Kegs Kavanaugh also sing his praises. And he sure fits the bill for a Trump judge. Like two-thirds of Trump's judicial nominees, Walker is a white man. Also like most of the judges placed on the bench by Trump, Walker is young, conservative, and a member of the Federalist Society.
Walker, 38, is one of the youngest ever nominees to the DC Circuit, one of the most influential courts in the country. Because it has jurisdiction over Congress and most federal agencies, the DC Circuit is known for having a docket heavy in administrative and constitutional law. The DC Circuit is also seen as a breeding ground for future Supreme Court justices. Four of the nine current SCOTUS justices (RBG, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, and Kegs Kavanaugh) all sat on the DC Circuit before ascending to SCOTUS. (Merrick Garland, of course, is still there.)
Sounds like a great place for someone less than a decade out of law school, am I right?!
Walker, who was still in law school during Obama's presidency, clerked for both retired Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy and current justice Kegs Kavanaugh, when Kavanaugh was on the DC Circuit. Walker made a name for himself defending Kavanaugh after Christine Blasey Ford came forward with her account of being assaulted by Kavanaugh in high school.
Walker made some 162 media appearances to defend his former boss, saying things like Dr. Ford must have been "mistaken" about what happened. As summarized by Slate,
He condemned Senate Democrats' desire for an FBI investigation as a "farce" and lobbed personal attacks at Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He mocked Sen. Richard Blumenthal for "claim[ing] to be a Vietnam War veteran, falsely," a favored Trump line, and suggested that the FBI should investigate Sen. Dianne Feinstein instead. He announced that Ford must be "mistaken" about her account of the experience. And when Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt asked him what Democrats' next "line of attack" might be, he responded: "Oh my goodness. You know, Ainsley, there are limits to my imagination."
Walker also praised Kavanaugh's record "on conservative issues like Second Amendment, executive power, and EPA regulations," gleefully predicting a Kavanaugh confirmation would lead to
an end to affirmative action, an end to successful litigation about religious displays and prayers, an end to bans on semi-automatic rifles, and an end to almost all judicial [decisions allowing abortion]."
One person's dystopian nightmare is another person's utopia, I guess.
Walker is a GOP darling. Mitch McConnell adores Walker, his former intern. McConnell is buddies with Walker's grandpa and has known him since he was in high school. When he recommended Walker for the federal judiciary, McConnell called him "unquestionably the most outstanding nomination that I've ever recommended to Presidents to serve on the bench in Kentucky."
Last month, in the midst of a global pandemic, Kavanaugh, McConnell, and former White House counsel Don McGahn all traveled to Kentucky to attend Walker's swearing-in ceremony.
And the United States senator, federal judge, and Supreme Court justice bumped fists. Because we live in a hellscape, governed by evil gremlins who act like frat bros.
Let's get Old Testament up in here
To add a little extra flair to the Easter proceedings in Kentucky — and signal to Trump and McConnell that he's ready for his close-up — Judge Walker apparently decided to have a little fun with a case that came his way earlier this month.
And have fun, he did. The opinion in On Fire Christian Center v. Fischer reads like Walker's official audition for Gilead.
Among other things, Walker's opinion invokes both Biblical pilgrims and Puritan Pilgrims, quotes Alexis de Tocqueville, and, of course, notes the evils of birth control and abortion.
Walker also seems weirdly obsessed with the fact that drive-thru liquor stores are open, bringing it up repeatedly throughout the bizarre order.
It starts strong:
On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter.
And gets even more colorful from there:
According to St. Paul, the first pilgrim was Abel. With Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sara, they "died in faith, not having received the promises" of God's promised kingdom. But they saw "them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."
Yeah. Those are words written in a real opinion by a federal judge. In 2020. That's a real thing that happened.
And Walker wrote the opinion without allowing the Louisville mayor to respond to the suit. The city's calls to the judge's chambers went unanswered.
Moscow Mitch, for his part, took to Twitter to celebrate the rant from one of his favorite sons.
Grateful for this strong, eloquent ruling defending Kentuckians’ religious liberty from Judge Justin Walker, @POTUS… https://t.co/undDt9QLKL— Leader McConnell (@Leader McConnell) 1586633748.0
The federal courts are fucked
To quote Elie Mystal, "Trump's decision to tap an ACA denier while the nation is preoccupied with a public health crisis is the kind of sick joke that only Mitch McConnell and the Federalist Society find funny." But unqualified rightwinger though he may be, Justin Walker is just one dangerous appointment of many. The destruction of our federal judiciary is a legacy that will still be here decades after Trump and McConnell are dead.
Trump and McConnell have put new judges on the bench at a record-setting pace. Although the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice gets far more attention than lower court appointments, the vast majority of cases are decided by lower courts. And Donald fucking Trump has already appointed nearly one-quarter of the federal judiciary.
Despite previous pleas about how it's bad to confirm judges in a presidential election year, Moscow Mitch has made it clear that he has no intention of slowing down with these judicial appointments, saying his "motto for the rest of the year is 'Leave no vacancy behind.'"
And should there not be enough open seats for them to fill, McConnell and his buddies in the Senate have also been reaching out to Republican-appointed federal judges who are eligible for retirement, in an effort to create new vacancies to fill in case Trump loses reelection.
Trump is putting a stooge who graduated law school in 2009 on one of the most important courts in the country.
Justin Walker's nomination to the DC Circuit is an important reminder that DEMOCRATS HAVE TO WIN THE PRESIDENCY AND THE SENATE IN NOVEMBER.
Here's that crazy opinion that quotes the Bible and stuff:
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