Conservative Group Launches Vile Attack on SCOTUS Nominees

Conservative Group Launches Vile Attack on SCOTUS Nominees March 16, 2016

The Judicial Crisis Network was founded as the Judicial Confirmation Network, to push for the confirmation of Bush’s appointees to the federal courts. But now that a Democrat is in office, they’ve done a total 180 and are all for obstruction rather than confirmation. And now they’re attacking even potential SCOTUS nominees.

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We do not yet know who President Obama will name to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. We do know, however, that anyone the president names will be subjected to a brutal campaign to discredit them in the eyes of the public. A conservative advocacy group called the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) reportedly hired “a team of about 10 researchers, including a number of lawyers” to conduct opposition research into potential nominees.

Viewers watching Sunday morning’s news shows got a taste of what these researchers have uncovered this past weekend. An ad funded by JCN attacked federal appellate Judge Jane Kelly, a potential Supreme Court nominee and former public defender, for representing one of her former clients…

The ad adopts a familiar strategy, last used to defeat President Obama’s nomination of Debo Adegbile to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Adegbile previously was a senior attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund — eventually rising to become its acting President and Director-Counsel. During that time, he represented a well-known death row inmate convicted of killing a police officer. Because the state of Pennsylvania used an unconstitutional process to sentence this inmate to die, a federal appeals court tossed out his death sentence.
Abegbile’s opponents later used the civil rights attorney’s involvement in this civil rights case to convince senators that he was unfit to run the Civil Rights Division.

This is really disgusting and it’s an attack on the constitutional principle that everyone has a right to counsel in a criminal trial. And it’s being done by people who claim to revere the Constitution. The fact that Jane Kelly spent a good portion of her career working as a public defender is to her enormous credit. She could have been making big money as an attorney but chose to make far less money to do one of the most thankless jobs in the entire legal world.

And that job requires that you sometimes defend bad people, in this case a guy who was convicted as a child molester. But every single person accused of a crime is entitled to a competent defense. It is a bedrock principle of due process. To attack her for doing her job is appalling, but hardly surprising.

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