Senators’ support for Trump’s judges harms constituents
Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler have prioritized packing the courts with right wing ideologues with demonstrated records opposing health care and constitutional protections. Even more egregiously, in the middle of pandemic, they have voted to confirm scores of Trump judges while supporting Senate Republican stonewalling of COVID relief legislation that would help address the dire health and economic needs of Georgians.
On December 8th, Senate Republicans voted to confirm Stephen Schwartz as a federal judge. Perdue and Loeffler didn’t bother to show up to vote for Schwartz, but he is a perfect example of the type of unfit nominee that they have consistently supported in the past, and his confirmation demonstrates why it is critical for Democrats to take back the Senate. Schwartz is a lawyer with a short but extreme legal career, during which he has attacked seniors, women, and all those who receive healthcare through Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act.
The January 5 Senate elections will shape the future of our courts: whether laws ensuring access to health care are enforced or eradicated; whether every voter’s ballot is counted or voter suppression tactics continue unchecked; and whether protections for civil rights, workers, women’s rights, clean air and water, and more are upheld or stripped away.
Schwartz is just the latest in a long line of similar nominees that Perdue and Loeffler have rubber stamped. Though they’ve skipped votes on judges in recent weeks, voters must still hold Perdue and Loeffler accountable for their past votes on dozens of Trump’s judges and for enabling a Republican Senate majority to ram ideologue after ideologue through the confirmation process and onto the federal bench, regardless of how unqualified they may be.
Schwartz’s view is that Georgians who benefit from programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are “inevitably somewhat less than fully mature adults”—an insult to the dignity of:
- Over 1.87 million Georgians who receive Social Security benefits, including retired workers, people with disabilities, and surviving spouses, the vast majority of whom have paid into the program for years;
- Over 1.72 million seniors in Georgia who receive health care through Medicare;
- Over 1.75 million Georgians who are currently enrolled in Medicaid, including hundreds of thousands of seniors and people living with disabilities; and
- 343,000 Georgians who get their health care through the Affordable Care Act’s exchange.
Schwartz’s beliefs attack specific communities, claiming that providing seniors with a “comfortable, modern standard of living and full medical coverage” is not “a worthwhile goal.” It is shameful that in the middle of a pandemic, Republicans confirmed an extreme judge that opposes health care and other support for millions of their constituents. Voters should only expect more of the same if Republicans retain control of the Senate.
Like many of other Trump judges, Schwartz’s views are radical. He believes there is no constitutional basis for the Departments of Transportation, Education, and Agriculture. Yet, eliminating these agencies would cost Georgia’s cities, farmers, college students, and school children billions of dollars in critical funding for student aid, crop supports, and transit programs. For example:
- The Department of Transportation provided $232 million in funding for Georgia’s public transit systems and state infrastructure that helped repair crumbling bridges and highways
- In 2019 alone, the Department of Agriculture provided $110 million in loans to Georgia farmers, with the vast majority going to new farmers and socially disadvantaged farmers who have historically been subject to racial, ethnic, or gender discrimination.
- The Department of Education provides over half a billion dollars annually to benefit local schools in Georgia, providing critical resources for schools to help low-income families and students with disabilities.
Rather than seeking to support and increase these benefits for Georgians, Perdue and Loeffler have spent their time in the Senate supporting judges like Schwartz who are bent on destroying these programs.
The Conclusion: Perdue and Loeffler have supported right wing ideologues and allowed Republicans to confirm unfit judges like Stephen Schwartz for years. Georgia’s voters must hold them accountable at the ballot box for confirming nominees whose views are actively harmful to their state.
On January 5, Perdue and Loeffler must answer to Georgia voters. By supporting and enabling dangerous Trump judges in the mold of Stephen Schwartz for appointment to the federal bench, they are making clear their contempt for their own constituents. Georgians deserve senators who will say no to nominees committed to taking away people’s health care and destroying critical federal programs, and who will instead support a judiciary that protects the rights of ordinary people.