Senate approves 200th federal judge nominated by Trump

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (June 24, 2020) — 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 Democrat claims 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 and they accuse him of making false claims  about the prevalence of voter fraud.

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.

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 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.

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