WASHINGTON, D.C., November 10 – Alliance for Justice today released its comprehensive report on the record of Don Willett, President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. AFJ President Nan Aron released the following statement:
“Don Willett’s record on the Texas Supreme Court shows that he is a champion of undermining environmental, health and safety regulations wherever possible, regardless of the harm to workers, consumers, and the public. It’s worth noting that at a time when the issue of sexual harassment is finally getting serious attention nationwide, Willett has done real harm by ruling to limit the recourse available to victims of harassment and discrimination. His writings have expressed views of women in the workplace that belong to another century. Willett should not be given a lifetime seat on the federal bench, where his rulings would threaten the wellbeing of millions.”
Among other things, the AFJ report notes:
- Willett has advanced an agenda that would return the country to what legal scholars call the Lochner era, favoring corporations and special interests at the expense of consumers and workers.
- As a state official working in the administration of then-Gov. George W. Bush in Texas, Willett objected to a gubernatorial proclamation honoring the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women. He wrote: “I resist the proclamation’s talk of ‘glass ceilings,’ pay equity (an allegation that some studies debunk), the need to place kids in the care of rented strangers, sexual discrimination/harassment and the need generally for better ‘working conditions’ for women (read: more government).”
- Willett has ruled to limit monetary remedies for victims of sexual assault in Texas.
- Willett has ruled to make it more difficult for victims of employment discrimination to even have their case heard by a jury.
- Willett disparaged the right of LGBTQ people to marriage equality, when he joked about wanting the “right to marry bacon” in a tweet.
- Willett has consistently ruled against same-sex marriage rights. Most recently, in June 2017,
- Willett joined the majority in Pidgeon v. Turner, which held that same-sex spouses of city workers in Houston have no inherent right to benefits under the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.