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Senate Republicans Just Confirmed An Extremely Young Judge To A Lifetime Appointment On A Federal Court

Senate Republicans Just Confirmed An Extremely Young Judge To A Lifetime Appointment On A Federal Court
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

The Senate has confirmed 37-year-old Allison Jones Rushing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

She is now the youngest judge serving a lifetime appointment on a federal court in the country.

Rushing was confirmed with a 53-44 vote.

Every Republican in the Senate voted for her; by contrast, every Democrat in the Senate voted against her.

Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) were absent.

Rushing's confirmation has been condemned by Democrats, civil rights advocates and LGBTQ groups who cite her internship for Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian organization that has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

As the SPLC noted:

"Founded by some 30 leaders of the Christian Right, the Alliance Defending Freedom is a legal advocacy and training group that has supported the recriminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has linked homosexuality to pedophilia and claims that a 'homosexual agenda' will destroy Christianity and society."
"ADF also works to develop 'religious liberty' legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBT people on the basis of religion. Since the election of President Donald Trump, the ADF has become one of the most influential groups informing the administration's attack on LGBT rights working with an ally in Attorney General Jeff Sessions."

Rushing also argued that there are "moral and practical reasons" for banning same-sex marriage and defended the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

She is also a member of the conservative Federalist Society, which has been instrumental in pushing many of President Donald Trump's judicial nominees forward.

Sharon McGowan, legal director of Lambda Legal, criticized Rushing's confirmation in a statement:

"Throughout her brief legal career, Allison Rushing has supported and closely associated herself with one of the most extreme anti-LGBT organizations operating in this country today, the Alliance Defending Freedom."
"Rather than disqualifying her from consideration, this aspect of her record seems to have made up for all of the other deficiencies in her record, including her inexperience and lack of any meaningful professional connection to the state in which she will sit."
"Despite her denunciation of the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision in United States v. Windsor, and her commitment to ADF's mission to recriminalize homosexuality and sterilize the transgender community, all 53 Republican Senators voted to confirm her."
"Today is a very difficult and disappointing day for the roughly 1 million LGBT people who live in the states covered by the Fourth Circuit, and for all people who care about courts that can treat all people with dignity and fairness."

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) says Rushing is too inexperienced to sit on a federal court.

In remarks on the Senate floor, he said Rushing has "the most scant, weakest legal resume imaginable for someone who's seeking a lifetime appointment to the second-highest court of the land."

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said she has no confidence Rushing will be "fair and impartial."

Others also weighed in, and none of it bodes well.

Trump has faltered on numerous aspects of his agenda, but he has quickly been reshaping federal courts.

According to one report:

"With Rushing's confirmation, he has now gotten 32 circuit judges, 53 district judges and two Supreme Court justices confirmed."
"That's so many circuit judges ― more than any other president confirmed by this point in his first term ― that 1 in 6 seats on U.S. circuit courts is now filled by a judge nominated by Trump."

That's a lot to deal with for the next few decades.

So how did Trump have so many seats to fill? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell bragged of his obstruction of President Obama's nominees, but most people only know about Merrick Garland being denied Senate hearings and a vote for the vacant SCOTUS seat of Justice Antonin Scalia.

They can thank McConnell for this as well.