The National Lawyer's Guild (NLG) Local Minnesota Chapter has released the statement below opposing the appointment of current Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Federal 8th Circuit Bench.
Senator Al Franken Voices Strong Opposition
Senator Al Franken has subsequently released a statement that he will oppose the nomination. Senator Franken's opposition will be significant: First because the State Senators from the nominee's home state have a chance to withhold a "blue slip" of approval. Withholding by the Senators from a nominee's home state will substantially limit the chances a nominee will pass congressional approval. Second, Senator Franken is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and judicial nominations are heard by that committee.
Here is Senator Franken's official statement:
Senator Amy Klobuchar Officially Ambivalent
Senator Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota's Senior Senator, who also serves on the Judiciary Committee, released a more mild statement.
Here is Senator Klobuchar's official statement:
The Minnesota National Lawyer's Guild Statement on Justice Stras:
As the Executive branch of the federal government gives aid and comfort to white supremacists, and pardons law enforcement officers who violate their oath to defend the Constitution, it is imperative that our elected representatives take all possible steps to defend the independence of the judicial branch of government. Without such independence, the people will have no confidence that the judiciary will preserve the rule of law, let alone the Constitution, against foreign or domestic enemies, individual tyrants or the tyranny of the majority.
With regard to President Trump’s nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice David Stras to a seat upon the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, we, the members of the National Lawyers Guild Minnesota Chapter, urge our elected Senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, to withhold their “blue slips” of approval for Justice Stras’ nomination.
We find Justice Stras’ commitment to the pursuit of human rights, exemplified by Justice Robert Jackson and Captain Ben Ferencz of the Nuremberg war crimes trials, wanting. For example, Justice Stras calls reactionary Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas a mentor. In contrast to other Minnesota justices, Justice Stras has not shown the commitment to the Minnesota Constitution as a bulwark against changing politicized interpretation of the federal Bill of Rights.
We, as members of the National Lawyers Guild, see the judiciary as the conservative institution that it is. We see value in this conservative nature – in its preservation of the rule of law, in its existence as a forum that aspires to treat the powerful with equal rigor as the pauper, and to remedy the wrongs inflicted upon the widow, the orphan, the Samaritan, the untouchable, or the deplorable, with equal fervor as it preserves the billionaire or corporation from wrongful depredation.
Should the United States Senate confirm Justice Stras’ nomination, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, an already conservative court whose decisions affect a great number of Minnesotans, will become even more reactionary for decades to come, provide no assurance that the Constitution will be defended against private or public tyrannies, offer no refuge for those who need the judiciary’s protections the most, and will halt once again the slow progress that the courts have made, since the founding of the National Lawyers Guild in 1937, to put human rights ahead of property interests.