The Worst Judges On

Voting Rights

In the face of America’s changing demographics, Republicans are doing all they can to entrench themselves in power. To accomplish this goal, they have engaged in racial gerrymandering and partisan redistricting. They have also made it harder for people of color, Latinos, Native Americans, young people, and low-income communities to vote. And, when they do lose elections, they are now changing the rules to limit the authority of those the voters did choose to govern. Trump has selected nominees who have spent their careers on the frontlines of this effort.
Below are 15 Trump judges who, at the time of their confirmation, had deeply troubling records when it comes to gutting voter protections:

J. Campbell Barker(Eastern District of Texas) defended Texas’s voter photo ID law that intentionally discriminated against persons of color and unconstitutionally burdened the right to vote.

Andrew Brasher (Middle District of Alabama; Eleventh Circuit) filed an amicus brief in Shelby County v. Holder that supported eroding the Voting Rights Act. He defended racial gerrymandering and measures that suppress the vote of African Americans and Latinos.

Kyle Duncan (Fifth Circuit) unsuccessfully represented North Carolina in an attempt to obtain a Supreme Court reversal of the Fourth Circuit’s ruling invalidating a restrictive voting law that the Fourth Circuit found “targeted African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

Allison Eid (Tenth Circuit) praised Bush v. Gore and criticized Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Sims. Eid was the sole dissenter when the Colorado Supreme Court upheld a court-imposed redistricting plan. She was the only judge who sided with Republicans who advocated for less competitive districts.

Britt Grant (Eleventh Circuit) helped draft an amicus brief for six states, including Georgia, in support of gutting the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder.

Brett Kavanaugh (Supreme Court), while on the D.C. Circuit, upheld a South Carolina voter ID law that the Justice Department argued disenfranchised tens of thousands of people of color. In contrast to two of his colleagues, he also declined to endorse the importance of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, before the Shelby County decision was issued.

Kenneth Lee (Ninth Circuit) believes states should be allowed to take away voting rights for millions of men and women who have paid their debts to society and served their criminal sentences.

Eric Murphy (Sixth Circuit) defended Ohio’s voter purge in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute that disproportionately disenfranchised African Americans. Murphy also helped to end early voting in the state during “Golden Week.”

John Nalbandian (Sixth Circuit) wrote an amicus brief in support of Indiana’s voter ID law. Nalbandian also defended Ohio’s legislature when it sought to undo a civil rights consent decree designed to protect voters.

Mark Norris (Western District of Tennessee) was an ardent supporter of a strict voter ID law in Tennessee, including requiring proof of citizenship to vote. The local NAACP reported that approximately 625,000 people in the state did not have the proper identification to vote.

Andy Oldham (Fifth Circuit) co-authored an amicus brief for the state of Texas in Shelby County v. Holder in support of eroding the Voting Rights Act.

Chad Readler (Sixth Circuit) served as an attorney for the Koch-funded “Buckeye Institute,” a far-right think tank that has filed numerous briefs in support of restrictive voting laws in Ohio, including voter roll purges, rolling back early voting, and limitations on allowing voters to cast absentee and provisional ballots. Later, at DOJ, Readler repeatedly defended President Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity.

Lee Rudofsky (Eastern District of Arkansas): Defended Arkansas’s voter ID law.  In an article discussing concerns about nationwide injunctions, Rudofsky also cautioned how those types of injunctions could impact cases regarding “redistricting cases, voter ID cases, and discrimination cases.”

Brantley Starr (Northern District of Texas) defended Texas’s discriminatory voter ID law in Veasey v. Abbott and Texas’s redistricting plans, which allegedly violated the Constitution and Voting Rights Act by intentionally diluting the votes of minority communities, in Abbott v. Perez.

Allen Winsor (Northern District of Florida), as solicitor general of Florida, defended several troubling laws, including repeated efforts in Florida to dilute the vote of persons of color and make it harder for Floridians to vote. Winsor also wrote approvingly how Florida Republicans “saw that through the process of creating majority-minority districts, African-Americans would be aggregated, even packed, into districts almost sure to elect their candidate of choice[.]”