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Senate approves 200th federal judge nominated by Trump

Judge Cory Wilson

The Senate has approved the nomination of a Mississippi judge to a federal appeals court.

Posted: Jun 24, 2020 1:45 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has approved the nomination of a Mississippi judge to a federal appeals court, the 200th federal judge named by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Republican-controlled chamber. It's the highest number of judicial nominees confirmed at this stage of a presidency in four decades.

Cory Wilson was elevated to a seat on the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal despite Democratic objections that he has a record of working to undermine voting rights of African Americans and other minorities.

Approval came on a nearly party-line, 52-48 vote Wednesday. Maine Sen. Susan Collins was the only Republican to vote against Wilson.

Wilson, a former Republican state legislator, has been on the state appeals court for 16 months and will join the 5th Circuit, which hears cases from Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The court is considered one of the most conservative appeals courts in the nation.

Democrats and civil rights groups said Wilson has been a longtime proponent of voter ID laws that disproportionately harm communities of color, students, voters with disabilities and the elderly. Democrats also said he has made false claims about the prevalence of voter fraud in the United States and expressed opposition to enforcement of the federal Voting Rights Act.

"Judge Wilson’s troubling record on voting rights is highly relevant to his nomination,'' said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The 5th Circuit is a majority-minority circuit, she noted. About 55 percent of those who live in the region are minorities.

"The Senate should not confirm a nominee who would work to further restrict the right to vote from the bench,'' Feinstein said.

Feinstein and other Democrats said Wilson has demonstrated hostility to voting rights in Mississippi. In 2011, he dismissed concerns from the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP that a voter ID law would suppress the vote as “poppycock, unless you count the dead vote.″ In 2013, he wrote that then-Attorney General Eric Holder had “whined” that voter ID laws were part of an illegitimate orchestrated effort by Republicans to suppress poor and minority voting.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., called Wilson’s record “extremely problematic at this moment in time" as the nation faces a reckoning over racism in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and other African Americans.

Harris, one of three Black senators, said it would be “a particular affront to the people of Mississippi, a population that has 38% African Americans, to have Judge Wilson preside over voting rights cases in that state.″

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Wilson “an outstanding nominee,” and noted that he has served as a lawyer in private practice, a state lawmaker, adviser to top state officials and a judge. The American Bar Association rates Wilson as “well-qualified.”

McConnell, who has made confirmation of judicial nominees a priority, said that with Wilson's confirmation, there will be no appeals court vacancies in the nation for the first time in at least 40 years.

“As I’ve said many times, our work with the administration to renew our federal courts is not a partisan or political victory. It is a victory for the rule of law and for the Constitution itself,'' McConnell said.

Democrats said McConnell and Trump were focused on far-right judicial nominees at the expense of legislation to address the COVID-19 pandemic, gun violence, voting rights and other issues.

"Over the last three years, instead of focusing on legislation to help the American people, Leader McConnell and President Trump have dedicated almost every ounce of their energy and focus to packing the courts with right-wing ideologues who they know will do their bidding from the bench,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

Democrats also blasted Wilson's longtime opposition to the Affordable Care Act, the health law passed under President Barack Obama.

Before becoming a judge last year, Wilson frequently criticized Obama and other Democrats and called passage of that law “perverse” and “illegitimate.″ Wilson also wrote that he hopes the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the law, which Obama signed in 2010.

Wilson, 49, said during his confirmation hearing last month that he expressed opinions about Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats when he was a GOP lawmaker and adviser to top state officials. He pledged to follow the precedent of a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that upheld the health care law.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 266598

Reported Deaths: 5852
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17807191
Hinds16967332
Harrison14298204
Rankin11280221
Jackson10976190
Lee9088145
Madison8619169
Jones6782118
Forrest6236124
Lauderdale6128192
Lowndes5564120
Lafayette5229101
Lamar507465
Washington4951125
Bolivar4149109
Oktibbeha409482
Panola388281
Pontotoc378560
Warren3698103
Monroe3693110
Marshall358570
Union357764
Pearl River3508106
Neshoba3499154
Leflore3122109
Lincoln307688
Hancock296362
Sunflower293075
Tate281162
Alcorn273554
Pike271081
Itawamba270063
Scott260849
Yazoo257156
Prentiss254554
Coahoma251555
Copiah250749
Tippah250150
Simpson243872
Leake238467
Marion225973
Grenada224272
Covington222473
Adams215371
Wayne215034
Winston207771
George204839
Newton200046
Attala197464
Tishomingo195661
Chickasaw189644
Jasper182538
Holmes172268
Clay167537
Tallahatchie157535
Stone152925
Clarke148662
Calhoun141822
Smith130726
Yalobusha123835
Walthall115037
Greene114529
Noxubee114126
Montgomery112736
Lawrence107617
Carroll106922
Perry105331
Amite102426
Webster97424
Claiborne89725
Tunica89321
Jefferson Davis88930
Benton86523
Humphreys84824
Kemper81020
Quitman7149
Franklin70717
Choctaw63813
Wilkinson59925
Jefferson57121
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 443009

Reported Deaths: 6662
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson649101007
Mobile31746574
Madison28413217
Tuscaloosa21566275
Montgomery20088332
Shelby19452132
Baldwin17333189
Lee13261107
Morgan12678142
Etowah12141181
Calhoun11555206
Marshall10487123
Houston9031164
Limestone838181
Cullman8296124
Elmore8243110
Lauderdale7946107
DeKalb7900107
St. Clair7876130
Talladega6523112
Walker6050183
Jackson603245
Colbert558194
Blount548586
Autauga540762
Coffee466964
Dale412785
Franklin377550
Russell358415
Chilton346873
Covington340880
Escambia339244
Tallapoosa3163109
Dallas313696
Chambers305470
Clarke303336
Pike265231
Lawrence255855
Marion254661
Winston234742
Bibb222948
Geneva213047
Marengo210531
Pickens200431
Hale186144
Barbour183438
Fayette178829
Butler174860
Cherokee166031
Henry160025
Monroe152621
Randolph146636
Washington142727
Clay130746
Crenshaw124845
Macon122837
Cleburne122125
Lamar120622
Lowndes116836
Wilcox108322
Bullock104628
Perry100518
Conecuh98022
Sumter90627
Greene77923
Coosa64018
Choctaw52124
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