Left Menu
Development News Edition

Senate confirms White House lawyer as appeals court judge


Senate confirms White House lawyer as appeals court judge
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

A White House lawyer has won Senate confirmation as a federal appeals court judge despite complaints by lawmakers from both parties about his record on immigration, race, women's equality and LGBTQ rights. Steven Menashi, an associate White House counsel, was confirmed on Thursday by a 51-41 vote for a seat on the New York-based 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins was the sole Republican to oppose Menashi, a 40-year-old New Yorker who has never tried a case or argued an appeal. Republicans and Democrats complained that Menashi failed to answer questions at his nomination hearing, and Collins joined Democrats in criticizing Menashi's record on a range of issues, including immigration, race, women's equality and LGBTQ rights.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York called Menashi a "disgrace" and "one of the most contemptible nominees to come before the Senate" in more than 20 years. As a lawyer for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Menashi "helped cook up an illegal scheme to use the Social Security data of students swindled by for-profit colleges in order to deny them debt relief," Schumer said, noting that a federal judge ruled the plan violated federal privacy laws.

Schumer, who has railed against many judicial appointments by President Donald Trump, said Menashi stands out as extreme, unqualified and "almost craven. If there was ever anyone who was too far, it's Menashi.'' Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Menashi an "impressive nominee," citing his degrees from Dartmouth College and Stanford Law School, clerkships for federal judges including Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, and experience teaching and practicing law.

Other Republicans were more skeptical. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-SC, said Menashi "has written some really weird stuff" and is "different than I would have chosen," but is qualified for the federal bench.

Graham was one of several senators who expressed frustration at Menashi's refusal to answer questions about his record at the White House and the Education Department during his confirmation hearing in September. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee's top Democrat, said Menashi's silence made it difficult for senators to fulfill their constitutional role to provide advice and consent on presidential nominees.

She and other Democrats were especially unhappy about Menashi's role in denying debt relief to thousands of students swindled by for-profit colleges. "Mr. Menashi should not be rewarded for providing such bad legal advice with a lifetime appointment to the federal bench,'' Feinstein said. Menashi's "troubling record of undermining critical rights and questions surrounding his involvement in Secretary DeVos's shameful efforts to ignore the law" disqualify him from a lifetime judgeship, added Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Collins said Menashi's past writings, particularly about women, LGBTQ advocates and racial diversity, raise questions about whether he has the appropriate judicial temperament. Collins, one of the most vulnerable GOP incumbents next year, said it was inappropriate for Menashi to refuse to answer questions about his work in the Trump administration during his confirmation hearing.

"His reluctance to answer questions about the family separation policy made it difficult for me to assess his record and impeded my constitutional duty to evaluate his fitness to serve as a judge," she said in a statement. "After careful consideration ... I do not believe he is well-suited to serve on the federal bench."

Menashi is among more than 150 federal judges nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate, including at least 46 appeals court judges. About one-quarter of federal appeals court judges were nominated by Trump.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

JNU Administration's 100-meter challenge before JNUSU

For the first time in its history, Jawaharlal Nehru University JNU Administration is seeking permanent deployment of local police to keep protesting students at 100 meters away from the Administrative Block. It would be interesting to see h...

Sentiment Analysis of Twitter users during COP25: Governments losing trust on Climate Action

Sentiment analysis of Twitter users during COP25 in Madrid, being held from December 2-13, shows widespread fear on climate change due to global warming but almost no trust on governments in meeting the emission targets. In the analysis the...

These innovators are making humanitarian response more efficient

These alarming trends prompt a call for the world to not only address the ongoing crisis but also to adopt innovative approaches to fulfill the growing humanitarian needs in such emergencies. ...

Hyderabad Encounter: A sentiment analysis of public mood on day of encounter

Sentiment analysis of twitter users revealed that they showered salutes on Hyderabad police for eliminating alleged gang rapists of the veterinary doctor but only a few believe in cops version of successive events leading to encounter....

Videos

Latest News

CRPF officer among two dead in landslide on Jammu-Srinagar NH

Two CRPF personnel, including an officer, were killed and another injured when their vehicle was hit by a landslide on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Ramban district on Sunday, officials said.The landslide struck the CRPF personnel ...

Situation under control, some people detained, say police after Jamia violence

Hours after violence rocked south Delhi on Sunday, police said the situation was under control and they have detained some of the people who had allegedly indulged in arson and vandalism during a protest against the amended citizenship law....

Top Democrats make case for Republicans to endorse Trump impeachment

Top Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives made a last-minute pitch to Republicans on Sunday for why they should put partisanship aside and vote to impeach President Donald Trump.Trump is expected to become the third U.S. president ...

Ram Madhav justifies exclusion of Muslims from CAA

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on Sunday said that since the Constitution grants special benefits to minorities in India, there should be no problem in giving same rights to minorities in neighbouring countries. Taking to Twitter, the BJP...

Give Feedback