If approved, Cory Wilson will be the 200th judicial nominee Trump has gotten confirmed in under four years, and he will be the 53rd circuit court judge to be placed on the bench through McConnell’s leadership.
As the U.S. grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and an overdue examination of police reform, Senate Republicans are closing in on what matters most to them: leaving no judicial vacancy behind.
Under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, GOP lawmakers are continuing to double down on crafting a judiciary slanted against hard-won civil rights protections. The latest pick, Judge Cory Wilson, was the subject of a Senate vote Monday night.
Wilson has a record of hostility toward voting rights, and dismissed concerns that a voter ID law would lead to voter suppression and discrimination as “poppycock.”
If approved on Wednesday, Wilson will be the 200th judicial nominee Trump has gotten confirmed in under four years, and he will be the 53rd circuit court judge to be placed on the bench through McConnell’s leadership. The Fifth Circuit is the only remaining vacancy among the country’s influential appeals courts. His confirmation would leave zero vacancies in the nation’s appeals courts, where most major rulings are decided.
No Democrat voted in favor of Wilson’s nomination on Monday, but because nominations only need a simple majority to be confirmed, Republicans could carry the decision without a bipartisan effort.
Wilson has garnered opposition from a wide faction that includes civil rights activists, Democratic lawmakers, and one Republican senator.
“I oppose Judge Cory Wilson’s nomination to the Fifth Circuit,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a statement. “While Judge Wilson is entitled to his personal views, his comments about the legality of the Affordable Care Act, including calling the law ‘perverse’ and ‘illegitimate,’ raise doubts about his ability to rule impartially on matters where he holds very strong personal views.”
Collins also opposed the nomination of conservative Judge Justin Walker on similar grounds. He was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia—considered the second most powerful court in the nation, one step below the Supreme Court—last week.
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Civil rights advocates and lawmakers from Mississippi have vehemently opposed Wilson’s nomination.
“We do not need another partisan conservative on the bench,” Mississippi Congressman Bennie G. Thompson said in a joint statement with the NAACP, Urban League and other civil rights organizations. “Wilson will not protect the rights of African Americans and other minorities. He has written, worked, and voted in support of laws that have the necessary effect of suppressing minorities’ right to vote – most notably by supporting voter ID laws. He also has derided federal efforts to ensure everyone, including minorities, has the right to vote. Furthermore, his opposition of the Affordable Care Act is abhorrent. Wilson’s nomination to the Fifth Circuit is unconscionable but it aptly fulfills the Trump conservative agenda of rolling back the rights of minorities.”
In the same statement, LaShawn Warren of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights added: “Historically, the Fifth Circuit has played a critical role in ensuring the implementation of key civil rights laws, and Wilson’s nomination threatens to undermine that history. Cory Wilson’s nomination is an affront to our civil rights legacy.”