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Senate GOP Primed to Push Through Another ‘Dangerously Unqualified’ Judicial Nominee

Jessica Mason Pieklo

Wendy Vitter has endorsed anti-choice junk science and won't say if she supports Brown v. Board of Education. And she is probably going to become a federal judge.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday appeared ready to advance the nomination of Trump judicial nominee Wendy Vitter, who did not disclose her involvement in the anti-choice movement.

Vitter is the general counsel for the Roman Archdiocese of New Orleans and wife of former GOP Louisiana Sen. David Vitter. Trump nominated her to fill a vacancy in the Eastern District of Louisiana, the federal judicial district that includes New Orleans.

Reproductive rights groups and other civil rights advocacy organizations vigorously oppose Vitter’s nomination. In the days leading up to Wednesday’s hearing, NARAL Pro-Choice America led a coalition of reproductive rights advocates in urging lawmakers to protect the federal judiciary from extremist judges. 

“Like many of Trump’s nominees, Wendy Vitter is dangerously biased and unqualified to serve on the bench,” NARAL Pro-Choice America Vice President Adrienne Kimmell said in a statement.

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“She has a long record of extreme comments targeting women and our access to healthcare, and has spent her career peddling the myth that abortion is dangerous. Her beliefs are rooted in junk science, far from the standards of evidence we rely on judges to uphold.”

In November 2013 Vitter led a panel called “Abortion Hurts Women,” where she appeared to endorse a pamphlet featuring debunked claims linking birth control pills to breast and cervical cancers. That panel included Dr. Angela E. Lanfranchi, a breast cancer surgeon featured as one of Rewire.News‘ “False Witnesses” for her dubious talking points on abortion care and breast cancer.

Vitter failed to disclose that appearance to the Judiciary Committee. 

Senators on Wednesday questioned Vitter about her anti-choice advocacy, including that 2013 appearance, but it was a separate exchange with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) that revealed just how extreme a judicial nominee Vitter is. 

“Do you believe that Brown v Board of Education was correctly decided?” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) asked Vitter.

“Senator, I don’t mean to be coy, but I think I get into a difficult area when I start commenting on Supreme Court decisions, which are correctly decided and which I may disagree with,” Vitter responded.

Despite failing to disclose anti-choice advocacy work and her unwillingness during Wednesday’s hearing to say she believed Brown v. Board of Education was rightly decided, Vitter appears headed for a confirmation.

Democrats don’t have the votes to block her. And with the filibuster abolished for all judicial nominees, Vitter only needs 51 votes to be confirmed. She is all but guaranteed a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. 

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