Goodbye 2nd Circuit

There is no limit. They will do anything to cling to power.

The Senate confirmed Steven Menashi to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday by a vote of 51–41. Every Republican present except Sen. Susan Collins supported Menashi; every Democrat present opposed him. With this confirmation, Donald Trump has flipped the 2nd Circuit to a majority of Republican appointees—a momentous shift in the balance of power that could help the president shield himself from criminal liability and congressional scrutiny in a jurisdiction, New York, which he previously called home.

Unless any of the other Republican judges have any limits. Menashi certainly doesn’t.

Menashi, a 40-year-old White House attorney, is one of Trump’s most controversial judicial nominees. His past writings include inflammatory and offensive remarks about women, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and racial minorities. Menashi worked with Stephen Miller, a white supremacist White House aide, to craft Trump’s nativist immigration policies. He also helped Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos roll back protections for vulnerable students. Moreover, according to a New York Times report, he also devised an illegal program “to use private Social Security data to deny debt relief to thousands of students cheated by their for-profit colleges.”

Not to mention that Menashi is, in the words of Laurence Tribe, “spectacularly unqualified.”

During his confirmation hearing, Menashi refused to answer questions from both Republican and Democratic senators about his work in the Trump administration. His evasive performance drew criticism from Louisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy, who said he was “real doubtful” that he would vote for the nominee. A day after Kennedy appeared at Trump rally, however, he announced his support for Menashi. Other putatively independent-minded Republicans like Sen. Lisa Murkowski then jumped on board, clinching his confirmation.

Menashi will now take a seat once filled by civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall. The 2nd Circuit will have a 7–6 Republican majority, including five Trump appointees. Whenever the court hears cases en banc—that is, with every judge sitting—conservatives will have the upper hand.

We’re doomed.

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