A religious liberty law firm and a Republican senator are joining a list of other names opposed to a judicial nominee poised to sit on a federal appeals court.
The GOP-led U.S. Senate has been confirming Trump-nominated judges at a lightning-fast pace, marking the 150th appointee in recent days and moving the nation’s federal court system farther from the Obama era with each confirmation.
Yet the nomination of Halil Suleman Ozerden is being opposed by groups such as the Judicial Crisis Network, the American Family Association, and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
First Liberty Institute general counsel Hiram Sasser tells OneNewsNow his law firm can be added to the list, since it is aware Ozerden ruled against the Catholic Church and in favor of the Obama administration.
“The problem that we have with Judge Ozerden being elevated to such a high-profile appeals court,” Sasser tells OneNewsNow, “is that he has no demonstrated track record of being pro-religious liberty."
Ozerben, based out of Mississippi, was presented with a legal challenge by the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi that challenged the controversial Affordable Care Act requirement that health insurance policies cover contraception.
The requirement was viewed by religious conservatives as a radical, anti-religious demand from the Obama administration, and the most famous successful challenge came from the D.C.-based Little Sisters of the Poor, which faced millions of dollars in fines for non-compliance but won at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016.
According to Politico’s story about the Biloxi diocese ruling:
Ozerden granted the Obama administration’s motion to dismiss the case in December 2012, noting that the lawsuit was not ripe for a formal decision because the regulation was in the process of getting amended.
President Trump made a promise to put constitutionalist judges on our federal courts, Berry points out, from the district courts all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"So far he's demonstrated a fantastic track record of doing so, particularly with Justice Gorsuch, Justice Kavanaugh and many others,” Sasser says. “But in the case of Judge Ozerden, he does not fit that mold.”
Ozerden has sat through a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing but a committee vote has not taken place yet, Politico reported.
Mississippi’s two U.S. senators, Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, support the confirmation of Judge Ozerden, and Politico reports other prominent GOP senators including Mike Lee and Lindsey Graham have also stated publicly they support him. Yet Cruz has said he will vote against him.
"For a lifetime appointment on the court of appeals, I believe we should be looking for someone with a strong, demonstrated record as a constitutionalist," Cruz told Politico last week.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.
9/20/2019 - Comments originally attributed to attorney Mike Berry were actually from attorney Hiram Sasser.