With the fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh behind them, Republicans on Wednesday restarted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s push to confirm lower court judges with a hearing on a pair of nominees that Democrats staunchly oppose for their legal work on health care, LGBT rights and other issues.
The hearing featured almost everything Democrats have complained about the confirmation process during President Donald Trump’s administration — including scheduling more than one circuit court nominee in a single hearing and doing so over the objections of a home state senator.
This time, nominees from Ohio to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit are opposed by home state Sen. Sherrod Brown, who spoke against them at the hearing for their previous legal work and criticized the White House for ignoring the state’s bipartisan judicial selection commission.
“I have significant concerns about the ability of Chad Readler and Eric Murphy to be fair-minded and impartial judges, and I cannot support nominees who have actively worked to strip Ohioans of their rights,” Brown said. “And that’s exactly what Mr. Murphy and Mr. Readler have done, on everything from health care to voting rights, from marriage equality to public education.”
Readler’s work as a senior Justice Department official in the past two years touched many of the Trump administration’s most contentious legal battles. Brown said that “perhaps worst of all” was Readler’s role when he filed a brief in a Texas lawsuit that challenges the 2010 health care law’s protections for pre-existing conditions.