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.

Confirmed Cases: 97638

Reported Deaths: 2957
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7151160
DeSoto565061
Harrison388874
Jackson352770
Madison331489
Rankin331179
Lee276470
Forrest250976
Jones250479
Washington225977
Lafayette219840
Lauderdale2065125
Bolivar184966
Oktibbeha180252
Lamar172836
Lowndes158158
Neshoba1581104
Panola151031
Sunflower148046
Leflore141781
Warren140950
Pontotoc128216
Pike124251
Monroe123969
Copiah119333
Scott117627
Coahoma116329
Marshall111517
Lincoln111453
Holmes110059
Grenada109536
Yazoo106230
Simpson104846
Tate101138
Union99924
Leake96238
Adams94337
Wayne90821
Pearl River89653
Marion86935
Prentiss86517
Itawamba83521
Alcorn82711
Covington82723
George78313
Tallahatchie77621
Newton77324
Winston74219
Tishomingo69438
Chickasaw68524
Tippah67317
Attala67125
Clarke60346
Walthall60226
Clay59818
Hancock59022
Jasper57815
Noxubee55516
Smith53815
Calhoun52412
Tunica49915
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46520
Yalobusha43714
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38617
Quitman3805
Humphreys37815
Stone37612
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33510
Carroll32112
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2293
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136549

Reported Deaths: 2378
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19833350
Mobile13471292
Montgomery8865184
Tuscaloosa8744118
Madison797878
Shelby604349
Lee594560
Baldwin558850
Marshall396743
Calhoun354844
Etowah354045
Morgan332728
Houston293521
Elmore269148
DeKalb243521
St. Clair234036
Walker233084
Talladega217729
Limestone213520
Cullman191120
Dallas179326
Franklin179029
Autauga178525
Russell17653
Lauderdale174033
Colbert167526
Blount161815
Escambia161424
Chilton159330
Jackson158911
Covington140327
Dale139944
Coffee13656
Pike120510
Chambers117242
Tallapoosa116685
Clarke110416
Marion97129
Butler91439
Barbour8867
Winston74512
Marengo72620
Pickens66814
Randolph66013
Bibb65710
Lowndes65727
Hale64928
Geneva6384
Lawrence62823
Cherokee61413
Bullock60714
Clay5928
Monroe5908
Washington56113
Crenshaw54232
Perry5426
Conecuh53711
Wilcox53211
Henry5085
Macon48318
Fayette4678
Sumter43819
Cleburne3895
Lamar3772
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
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