Civil and Human Rights Coalition Criticizes Senate Judiciary Committee Approval of Ideological, Inexperienced Nominees

Courts News 11.9.17

WASHINGTON – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee today voted, on a party-line basis, to advance the nominations of Gregory Katsas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Brett Talley to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama:

“Despite rising opposition to President Trump’s agenda across the country, Senate Republicans are continuing their rush to pack the courts with his extreme judicial nominees. Recognizing that they cannot deliver legislative victories, the Republican-led Senate is seeking to advance Trump’s radical agenda by altering the makeup of the federal judiciary.

As one of Trump’s top lawyers, Gregory Katsas has worked to restrict voting rights, LGBTQ rights, and access to women’s health, and he has sought to expand executive power at the expense of civil liberties. He has not demonstrated the necessary independence and fair-mindedness needed to serve as a federal judge.

Brett Talley is entirely unqualified for a federal judgeship because he lacks the breadth and depth of experience necessary for the job, and he has demonstrated ideologically extreme views that call into question his temperament and judgment. The independent, nonpartisan American Bar Association (ABA) has given Talley its lowest possible rating: unanimous Not Qualified, a rating that has been given to only four judicial nominees over the past three decades It was highly irresponsible to have given Talley a hearing before his ABA rating was completed, and it is shocking that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley has allowed him a committee vote in light of his disastrous rating.

Another U.S. District Judge nominee approved today in committee, Holly Lou Teeter of Kansas, has also been rated Not Qualified by the ABA based on her lack of experience and should not have been given a committee vote. These three nominees – Katsas, Talley, and Teeter – are either too ideologically extreme, too inexperienced, or both, and should not be given lifetime appointments on the federal bench.”

Earlier this week, The Leadership Conference sent a letter to the Senate urging opposition to Katsas. That letter is available here. The Leadership Conference also sent a letter to the Senate urging opposition to Talley. That letter is available here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit