Washington, D.C., July 24, 2017 – Alliance for Justice today released a report on Judge Ralph Erickson, a North Dakota federal district court judge who has been nominated by Donald Trump for a seat on the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. AFJ President Nan Aron released the following statement:
“We request that Senators carefully scrutinize the record of Ralph Erickson, who has made notable anti-LGBTQ, anti-reproductive rights, and anti-environment rulings. Erickson is yet another Trump nominee who is benefiting from Republicans’ obstruction of a raft of Obama judicial picks: President Obama’s choice for this seat was never acted upon by the full Senate although she was unanimously approved by the Judiciary Committee. The Trump Administration now wants to pack the courts with right-wing judges whose rulings will affect our lives for decades to come, and the burden is on Judge Erickson to demonstrate that he will be able to dispense even-handed justice to all if he is elevated to a circuit court seat.”
Among other things, the AFJ report notes:
- Erickson granted an injunction to halt a Department of Health and Human Services rule that would have prohibited healthcare providers from discriminating against patients on the basis of a patient’s gender identity or “termination of pregnancy.” In an unusual action, Erickson had his order in the case sealed. The content of the order should be made public, given its relevance to Erickson’s ability to protect civil rights for all Americans.
- In another case, Erickson granted an injunction to halt the Obama Administration’s Clean Water Rule, which would have helped ensure access to clean water for Americans around the country.
- In a case involving the separation of church and state, Erickson held that a Ten Commandments monument,donated by a private organization but maintained by the City and placed on city-owned land in close proximity to the Fargo City Hall, did not violate the Constitution. The ruling was overturned by the Eighth Circuit.
- Erickson has made it clear that he believes there is no right to health care. He has said, “Many Americans believe that they have a ‘Right to Medical Care.’ This right is not enumerated in the Constitution—nor can it be divined from the language of the Constitution.”
AFJ believes that Erickson must clarify some of his more troubling rulings and statements, before he is elevated to a higher federal court.
Read the full report online here.