Senate Republicans, with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, put a judge that the American Bar Association rated as “not qualified” on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. The Senate voted on Tuesday to confirm Jonathon Kobes, who the ABA says “has neither the requisite experience nor evidence of his ability to fulfill the scholarly writing required of a United States Circuit Court Judge.”
Kobes’ nomination came up at the same time as that of Thomas Farr, who was withdrawn when Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) decided he couldn’t put a open racist on the bench. Kobes got some of the negative attention from advocacy groups, but benefitted from being paired up with the really deplorable Farr. That allowed him to more or less skate through under the radar. And Republicans who might have a problem with an avowed racist have no problem putting someone who is clearly unqualified. Helping him with the GOP are some of his anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion public statements.
Democrats raised the alarm, and voted unanimously against him, along with Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) who is holding to his commitment to refuse to support a Trump nominee until legislation protecting the special counsel Russia investigation is held. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) pointed out how radical on women’s health Kobes is. “He voluntarily defended a law requiring providers to give a lecture full of ideological propaganda and fear-mongering to women seeking safe, legal abortions,” she said ahead of the vote. “The required lecture in this case actually went so far as to demand providers lie to women and claim abortion increases their risk of suicide. It does not.[…] That is utterly wrong and disqualifying for any judicial nominee.” Kobes is the fourth of six nominees from Trump that have been rated “not qualified” to be confirmed by Mitch McConnell’s Senate. As of Tuesday, he’d gotten through 2 Supreme Court Justices, 30 circuit judges, and 53 district court judges. All of whom should be considered eminently impeachable, once Trump’s been proven an illegitimate nominator.
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