Battle Born Progress | Senate confirms unqualified DC lawyer VanDyke to fill Ninth Circuit vacancy
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Senate confirms unqualified DC lawyer VanDyke to fill Ninth Circuit vacancy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 11, 2019
Contact: Will Pregman, wpregman@battlebornprogress.org, 702.752.0656

Senate confirms unqualified DC lawyer VanDyke to fill Ninth Circuit vacancy

LAS VEGAS, NV – Today, the United States Senate voted 51-44 to confirm Lawrence VanDyke to a vacant seat from Nevada on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This action occurred in spite of VanDyke receiving a ‘Not Qualified’ rating from the American Bar Association (ABA), neither Senator Catherine Cortez Masto nor Senator Jacky Rosen approving of his nomination, and a well-publicized record of extreme anti-LGBTQ+ views.

Will Pregman, Communications Director for Battle Born Progress released the following statement: 

“Today’s confirmation of Lawrence VanDyke is one of the most brutal examples of Trump, McConnell, and Graham’s crusade to fill the federal courts with far-right, narrow-minded elitist judges. Now, VanDyke, a man who was deemed unfit to be a judge by his colleagues and possesses no ties to Nevada, will occupy a seat on the Ninth Circuit for a lifetime appointment, against the will of both our Senators, and the hundreds of Nevadans who signed petitions, made phone calls, and sent letters opposing this nominee. Today’s vote is a direct slap in the face of Nevadans by this administration and the GOP leadership in the Senate.

We can’t thank Senator Cortez Masto and Senator Rosen enough for their vocal and well-articulated opposition to VanDyke highlighting his appalling record opposing LGBTQ+ civil rights, access to abortion, gun violence prevention, and environmental protection. We intend to continue working with their offices to identify and support fair-minded, Constitutionalist judges to fill judicial vacancies in Nevada. We shall also continue fighting to support Nevada’s LGBTQ+ community in the wake of their impeded access to justice thanks to today’s confirmation.” 

ABOUT LAWRENCE VANDYKE: 

A thorough analysis of VanDyke’s record was published by the Alliance for Justice. The American Bar Association gave VanDyke a ‘Not Qualified’ rating in a letter which stated, “Mr. VanDyke’s accomplishments are offset by the assessments of interviewees that Mr. VanDyke is arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, & lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules.”

As Montana’s Solicitor General, VanDyke advocated for the overturn of Roe v. Wade in an amicus brief he co-wrote to support a 20-week abortion ban in Arizona, and recommended that his Attorney General also file a brief defending a photographer who refused business to a lesbian couple in New Mexico. He has also been a loyal foot-soldier for the gun lobby, filing multiple briefs fighting against gun violence prevention legislation across the country.  

When VanDyke ran for Montana’s State Supreme Court, his campaign benefited from sizable dark money spending from the Koch Brothers. This papered over his lack of qualifications and experience for the job, in which he benefited from a very narrow, “creative” ruling that allowed him on the ballot in the first place. Six retired Montana Supreme Court justices penned an op-ed fiercely cautioning against VanDyke’s capacity to serve on the bench. It should come as no surprise that Vandyke is a supporter of the controversial Citizens United ruling which opened the floodgates for excessive outside spending in political campaigns.

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