Hearing Shows Liberal Dark Money Influence on Democrat Judicial Nominees

Earlier today, the Senate Judiciary Committee hosted its first set of judicial confirmation hearings since Joe Biden took office. The first panel featured the nominations of Ketanji Brown Jackson to be United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit and Candace Jackson-Akiwumi to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit.

The most high-profile nomination considered during the first panel was that of Ketanji Brown Jackson. As RNLA previously noted, Judge Jackson has appeared on liberal dark money group Demand Justice's Supreme Court short list. The group is also supporting her nomination to the D.C. Circuit.

While Judge Jackson stated on several occasions during the hearing that she does not inject her personal opinions into court decisions, her position on the Demand Justice list is telling. As National Review reported at the time of Judge Jackson's nomination:

Jackson has been on the Supreme Court short list of Demand Justice, to which prospects do not make the cut unless they are far to the left. Demand Justice is part of the Arabella Advisors network.

This point was brought up repeatedly by several Republican members of the Committee. Specifically, several Senators asked Judge Jackson whether she supported adding Justices to the Supreme Court, the court-packing scheme advocated for by Demand Justice. She declined to take a position, stating that it would be inappropriate for her to comment on the topic.

The second panel featured the nominations of Julien Xavier Nealsvto be United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey, Zahid N. Quraishi to be United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey, and Regina M. Rodriguez to be United States District Judge for the District of Colorado. Rodriguez is particularly of note because her nomination is being opposed by Demand Justice. The problem? She's not liberal enough. 

Currently, there are 102 current and known future vacancies and 9 pending nominations:

Current and known future vacancies: 102

Supreme Court: 0

Courts of Appeals:  12

District/Specialty Courts*: 90 

Pending nominees for current and known future vacancies: 9

Courts of Appeals: 3

District/Specialty Courts*: 6

Overall, today's hearing went relatively smooth. This is how we expect most judicial confirmation hearings to go. Unfortunately for Trump judicial nominees, they were not afforded the same curtesy. As Senator Chuck Grassley noted, Democrats owe nominees like Justice Amy Coney Barrett an apology.