May 18, 2019

Dems react to the confirmation of Trump's judicial nominee Wendy Vitter

Wendy Vitter. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed President Trump's nominee Wendy Vitter on Thursday to a U.S. District Court seat in New Orleans after a long tug of war between Republicans and Democrats over Vitter's stance against abortions, reports the Washington Post.

The big picture: Vitter is the 107th judge to be appointed since Trump took office. Her appointment sparked reactions from Democrats especially given that she would not say if she supported the court's decision in Brown v. The Board of Education, per the Washington Post.

Context: Vitter came under fire after Democrats learned she made claims against abortion that weren't included in her extensive background disclosures provided to the Senate committee — prompting Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to side with Democrats in a narrow vote.

What they're saying: Vitter claimed Planned Parenthood kills 150,000 women a year and made false claims about abortions, saying the procedure is linked to breast cancer and that birth control leads women to pursue violent relationships, reports the Business Insider. However, after she was questioned about her claims, Vitter said she would follow the precedent of Roe v. Wade, per the Washington Post.

What Democrats are saying:

  • Rep. Beto O'Rourke tweeted: "And as president, I will only nominate judges who respect, affirm, and defend Brown v. Board. Andrew Oldham doesn't get nominated. Neither does Wendy Vitter. If you don't believe in civil rights, in equity, in opportunity, you don't belong in a position of public trust."
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-N.Y.) tweeted: "Tomorrow is the anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education. 65 years later, Wendy Vitter, @realDonaldTrump’s pick for the LA District Court, won't say whether that case was correctly decided. The Senate must reject her nomination.#CourtsMatter."
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg sent a campaign email saying: "And in the decades that followed, our nation embraced a belief that every child, regardless of their skin color, deserves access to the same quality education. But in our lifetimes, that belief stands threatened, as many disparities grow worse by the year."
  • Chelsea Clinton tweeted: "One day before the 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the Senate confirms Wendy Vitter as a federal judge despite her refusal to affirm Brown decision. Also, Vitter claimed @PPFA kills over 150,000 women a year & falsely implied birth control & abortion cause cancer."
  • Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) tweeted: "Wendy Vitter promoted dangerous claims about abortion and birth control. She refused to say Brown v. Board was correctly decided. She withheld critical docs detailing her views to Senate Judiciary. There isn’t enough room on Twitter to detail why Wendy Vitter is #UnfitToJudge."
  • Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) tweeted: "Wendy Vitter failed to disclose more than 100 speeches & documents to the Judiciary Committee, including a panel she moderated in 2013 where she told the audience to urge their doctors to put a brochure entitled “The Pill Kills" in waiting rooms. #UnfitToJudge #CourtsMatter."

Go deeper: The perfectly legal inequalities in America's rigged educational system

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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

8 hours ago - World

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Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

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Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.