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Another day, another terrible new federal judge.

Last week, the Senate confirmed eight more Trump judges to lifetime appointments, including Sarah Pitlyk, a woman whose entire legal career has been dedicated to fighting against reproductive rights.

We're not just using "reproductive rights" as a euphemism for abortion here. Pitlyk does, of course, think the government should control uteruses, but her hatred of reproductive freedom goes much, much further than that.

Fertility treatments, birth control, and surrogacy? The work of the devil.

Pitlyk has called contraception "evil," a "seriously wrongful" act, and "a grave moral wrong." And she wrote that fertility treatments and surrogacy have

grave effects on society, including diminished respect for motherhood and the unique mother-child bond; exploitation of women; commodification of gestation and of children themselves; and weakening of appropriate social mores against eugenic abortion.

When did she write that, you ask?

2017.

Pitlyk has never argued a motion or taken a deposition, much less tried a case. She was unanimously declared "Not Qualified" by the ABA. And now, she has a lifetime appointment to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Bloody hell.


Pitlyk was confirmed 49-44 by the United States Senate. Every Democrat present voted no. Every Republican except one voted yes.

The only Republican to vote no was Susan Collins. Collins is facing a tough challenge in 2020 from Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon and is desperately trying to cling to power. As the 2020 election has gotten closer, Collins has broken party ranks to oppose several Trump nominees, including Steven Menashi (now on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals), Chad Readler (now on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals), and Wendy Vitter (now on the Eastern District of Louisiana), in addition to Pitlyk (now on the Eastern District of Missouri).

Lisa Murkowski, the other Republican Senator who occasionally pretends to be pro-choice, skipped the vote to attend the first meeting of the International Energy Agency's Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency. Her spokeswoman, Karina Borger, said Murkowski "would have voted no" if she had been present.

So this Pitlyk chick is a bridge too far for women who put accused sexual predator Kegs Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court for the rest of his life.

That's ... not good.

Bye bye, reproductive rights.

As expected, this is all bad. And the more you learn, the worse it gets.

Like most of Trump's judicial nominees, Pitlyk is white, young, anti-choice, a member of the Federalist Society, and a right-wing nutjob. But that's not all! Pitlyk is also an unqualified religious fundamentalist!

You can glean most everything you need to know about Pitlyk from her glowing bio on the website of the Thomas More Society, a pro-birth law firm that works to restrict reproductive rights nationwide.

Sarah Pitlyk joined the Thomas More Society as Special Counsel after practicing for several years at a civil litigation boutique in St. Louis, MO, where she worked on an embryo custody appeal and amicus briefs in several landmark prolife and religious liberty cases in addition to contract, employment, and tax disputes. At TMS, she is part of a team defending undercover journalists against civil lawsuits and criminal charges resulting from an investigation of illegal fetal tissue trafficking. She also worked to defeat St. Louis's unconstitutional "abortion sanctuary city" ordinance.

Yeah, they're proud of these things. The American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary unanimously rated Pitlyk "Not Qualified" to be a federal judge. In its review of Pitlyk's nomination, the ABA found that she did "not have the requisite trial or litigation experience or its equivalent" to become a federal district court (trial) judge. In coming to this conclusion, the ABA noted "the absence of any trial or even real litigation experience" in Pitlyk's background.

Ms. Pitlyk has never tried a case as lead or co-counsel, whether civil or criminal. She has never examined a witness. Though Ms. Pitlyk has argued one case in a court of appeals, she has not taken a deposition. She has not argued any motion in a state or federal trial court. She has never picked a jury. She has never participated at any stage of a criminal matter.

Pitlyk is now going to be a trial court judge.

But Pitlyk hasn't let her lack of experience get in the way of her trying to force her religious beliefs upon the entire populace.

A former law clerk for Kegs Kavanaugh, Pitlyk was an early supporter of his nomination -- and credible allegations of sexual assault did nothing to quell Pitlyk's Kavanaugh fever. She celebrated a Kavanaugh confirmation as a victory for "social conservatives" and bragged about his history of "enforcing restrictions on abortion," saying "no court-of-appeals judge in the nation has a stronger, more consistent record than Judge Brett Kavanaugh." Writing for Fox News that Democrats were engaging in "direct character assassination" of Kavanaugh, Pitlyk argued for the rights of conservative white men everywhere to attempt rape at least once in their lives:

Now, on the basis of a single, unsubstantiated, anonymous allegation about an alleged incident in high school – some 35 years ago – opponents of his nomination are trying to tarnish the character of a man we and so many other people admire and respect.

Fighting against reproductive rights is Pitlyk's forte. She has fought against reproductive freedom all over the country. Pitlyk defended Iowa's unconstitutional six-week abortion ban. She has invoked racist and xenophobic stereotypes to defend abortion bans, arguing that women of color should not be trusted to make their own decisions about reproductive healthcare. As noted by Rewire, "What's most egregious is not just her use of harmful stereotypes against communities of color—it's also her reliance on them for legal reasoning, demonstrating a dangerous and clear inability to rule with competence and impartiality."

Lest you think Pitlyk's fuckery is specific to abortion, she is clear that she hates ALL reproductive rights. She opposes fertility treatments, surrogacy, and birth control. She has argued that courts should not enforce surrogacy agreements, saying:

Surrogacy is harmful to mothers and children, so it's a practice society should not be enforcing.

These are extreme views even for a Republican. This is a woman who will not rest until she has used the legal system to force the rest of the country to live her chosen Catholic fundamentalist belief system.

Reproductive rights will continue to be a hot button political issue for the foreseeable future. In 2019 alone, the US saw over 300 bills in 47 states seeking to restrict abortion. And Pitlyk's appointment to the bench in a state that is a hotbed of anti-woman legislation makes it even more likely that she will hear cases about reproductive rights. Missouri, you might remember, is the state that recently made creepy spreadsheets of women's periods to try to shut down Planned Parenthood, which operates the state's last remaining abortion clinic.

Of course, reproductive rights aren't the only area Pitlyk is terrible on. She has also fought against affirmative action, the ACA, and nondiscrimination laws.

Our federal courts are so, so fucked.

Pitlyk was just one of eight new Trump judges confirmed last week. With those additions, Trump has now appointed two Supreme Court justices, 48 federal appellate court judges, 118 district court judges, and two US Court of International Trade judges. The Senate has confirmed 90 new Trump judges in 2019 alone.

That's a total of 170 Senate-confirmed judicial appointments for Donald Trump in less than two years in office. By the end of the year, that number is expected to top 180. Trump has said his goal for the year is 183 new federal judges.

More Trump judges, including Ninth Circuit nominees Patrick Bumatay (who helped Trump kidnap immigrant children) and Lawrence VanDyke (who is a huge bigot and an ugly crier) are expected to be confirmed this week.


[ ABA / Rewire / Slate / Ballotpedia / Bloomberg Law ]

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Jamie Lynn Crofts
Jamie Lynn Crofts is sick of your bullshit. When she’s not wrangling cats, she’s probably writing about nerdy legal stuff, rocking out at karaoke, or tweeting about god knows what. Jamie would kindly like to remind everyone that it’s perfectly legal to tell Bob Murray to eat shit.
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