Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted on Thursday to advance the nomination of a federal judicial nominee despite the American Bar Association (ABA) furnishing him with a rare “not qualified” rating.
The Committee’s vote means the nomination of Justin Walker, 37, a law professor at the University of Louisville who previously clerked for Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh during his time on the D.C. Circuit Court, will now be sent to the full Senate for a vote. Walker is expected to be approved for the lifetime position, despite the non-partisan ABA declaring him unqualified for the role.
“The Standing Committee believes that Mr. Walker does not presently have the requisite trial or litigation experience or its equivalent,” the chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee Paul T. Moxley wrote in July. “Mr. Walker’s experience to date has a very substantial gap, namely the absence of any significant trial experience. Mr. Walker has never tried a case as lead or co-counsel, whether civil or criminal.”
In voicing her opposition to the nomination, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that Walker’s lack of experience is not the only worrying aspect of his potential confirmation.
“He has opposed the ability of federal agencies to adopt critical health and safety protections for workers and the environment, and he has argued that the FBI should not be independent of the president,’” she said Thursday, according to the Courier Journal.
An avid Kavanaugh defender, Walker championed his former boss’ Supreme Court nomination throughout the tumultuous confirmation process despite allegations of sexual misconduct the then-nominee. Walker reportedly challenged the veracity of Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation in more than 70 media interviews.
Scott Greenfield, a criminal defense attorney and legal commentator, said Thursday that Walker was “utterly unqualified” to be a federal judge, and insinuated that the Kentucky native’s nomination was aided by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Civil Rights attorney Leslie Proll, who served as Director of the Departmental Office of Civil Rights for the U.S. Department of Transportation under President Barack Obama, had a similar reaction, saying McConnell was “selling out own constituents to serve [Donald] Trump,” with Thursday’s vote. She also claimed Walker was only nominated because “he went to bat for Kavanaugh.”
[image via YouTube screengrab]