Published in The Colorado Independent
Democrats intend to highlight Gardner’s record on the lower-level judicial appointments to district and appellate courts as part of their overall strategy to tie him to Trump, whose disapproval rating in Colorado is around 55%. “It’s part of how we’re showing he’s with Trump and not with us,” Colorado Democratic Party spokeswoman Alyssa Roberts said.
In addition to spotlighting Gardner’s votes for Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch – a Coloradan whom Gardner championed – Roberts pointed to the senator’s votes for judges who have opposed reproductive rights and health care for people with pre-existing conditions, such as Wendy Vitter, Michael Truncale, and Chad Readler – all confirmed this spring on near-party line votes.
Vitter, who now sits on the Eastern District Court of Louisiana, has a long history of advocating against abortion rights, according to The Advocate, a Baton Rouge newspaper. Truncale, confirmed to the Eastern District Court of Texas, drew opposition from progressives for his calls to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and defund Planned Parenthood. And Readler, now on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, filed a brief last year in support of GOP efforts to strike down the ACA, including its protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Gardner’s votes for Trump’s judges put him in a tough political spot, said Dan Goldberg, legal director at the Alliance for Justice, a progressive advocacy coalition. “He cannot stand before the people of Colorado and say that he supports protecting people with pre-existing conditions and then vote for Chad Readler. He can’t have it both ways.”