Imagine your typical conservative troll. You know the type: anti-Obamacare, anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ — someone whose Twitter profile is full of bogus swipes at liberals that he just read on Breitbart or heard on Fox News. Now imagine entering a courtroom and seeing that he’s the guy in the black robe who gets to decide whether the law protects you.
That’s what Mississipians face from Cory Wilson, President Trump’s pick for a lifetime appointment as a federal judge in the Southern District of Mississippi. Though the Senate Judiciary Committee had paused its work during the impeachment trial, Wilson will likely be one of the first nominees it considers when it resumes. Like with so many nominees before, Senate Republicans appear ready and eager to rubber-stamp Wilson’s nomination despite — or because of — his extremist record.
Wilson wants us to believe he can be fair and unbiased, but this is somebody who has literally said that it’s a “rare sighting” to see an “intellectually honest Democrat.” He complained about the amount of time President Obama spent golfing — without a peep about how much more Trump has — and called Obama “shrill, dishonest, and intellectually bankrupt.”
But Wilson doesn’t have the intellectual integrity to back up such a smear. He’ll take a swing at whatever made-up villain conservative media concocts on any given day. The fake “War on Christmas”? Wilson was on the case. The Obama administration losing money on failed solar company Solyndra? Perfect ammunition for Wilson’s partisan attacks. And you can bet he was upset about “#CrookedHillary” and the fake Clinton email scandal, a tall tale that pales in comparison to the Trump administration’s actual (and impeachable) abuses of power.
— Cory Wilson (@CoryWilsonMS) August 23, 2016
— Cory Wilson (@CoryWilsonMS) September 7, 2016
Many of these partisan attacks can still easily be found in Wilson’s Twitter history. During his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this month, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) even asked him if he was at least going to delete his old tweets so they don’t undermine his integrity on the bench. Wilson’s response? No, but he might consider disabling his account if he’s confirmed. Besides, he’s already serving on a Mississippi state court — from which he’ll bring a whopping one year of judicial experience.
Before being appointed as a judge, Wilson was a state lawmaker in Mississippi, and his record is abysmal. He was a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act, which he called “illegitimate” and “perverse,” bizarrely claiming it could not be a valid law because it passed along partisan lines — an argument that would undermine plenty of Republican legislation (and judicial confirmations). Wilson’s opposition has had dire, if not deadly, consequences specifically for Mississippi. Because he opposed the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid, roughly 100,000 Mississippians were deprived of health care coverage.
As a state lawmaker, Wilson was a vocal supporter for HB 1523, one of the most egregious anti-LGBTQ laws ever passed in any state. It provides a blanket license to discriminate for Mississippians to reject LGBTQ people, so if an employer wants to refuse to hire someone in a same-sex marriage or a lunch counter wants to refuse to serve a transgender customer, the law greenlights that mistreatment. They can even discriminate against anyone who has sex outside of marriage — however narrowly they define “marriage.”
During Wilson’s hearing, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) asked him why he supported discrimination against people exercising their constitutional rights. Wilson claimed his driving factor was “religious liberty,” calling it “an attempt to balance those rights that are enshrined in the First Amendment with the rights delineated in Obergefell.” In other words, Wilson believes the proper balance is for religious conservatives to have free reign to carry on as if marriage equality was not the law of the land, a clear religious bias that would likely impact his rulings from the bench. That’s not surprising considering he’d previously characterized marriage equality as “a pander to liberal interest groups and an attempt to cast Republicans as intolerant, uncaring, and even bigoted.”
— Alliance for Justice (@AFJustice) January 8, 2020
On plenty of other issues, Wilson likewise checks the boxes for being quite willing to do conservatives’ dirty work:
- On abortion, he voted for a “heartbeat bill” that would prohibit abortion before many people even know they’re pregnant, he voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and he supports evangelizing to individuals about fetal pain before they’re allowed to get abortions.
- On voting rights, he supports voter ID laws and voter purges while feigning concerns about “voter fraud,” an imagined concern, all of which are used to suppress many people’s access to the polls.
- On gun safety, Wilson opposes any state law regulating firearms, and he has supported concealed carry on public property and voted to allow firearms in churches and places of worship.
Wilson might make for a good Trump spokesperson or Fox News pundit, but he is not fit to be a federal judge. Any Senate Republican voting for him must anticipate that Wilson’s rulings will turn back the clock on the law as we know it. In recent months, we’ve seen Trump judges in the Fifth Circuit, where Wilson’s prospective district is based, agree to overturn the Affordable Care Act — including its protections for people with preexisting conditions — and refuse to offer basic respect to a transgender plaintiff.
The last thing the Fifth Circuit needs is an unqualified, bigoted jurist like Cory Wilson. Call your Senator and let them know our justice system deserves better, and that if they’re not willing to provide it, you’ll vote for someone who can.