On behalf of Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a national association representing 130 groups committed to equal justice and civil rights, I write to oppose the confirmation of Lee Rudofsky to the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Arkansas.
Rudofsky has spent his career curtailing critical rights and protections. He has been a leader in the effort to strip millions of people of access to vital health and reproductive care: He led efforts in Arkansas to become the first state to end crucial Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood and he supported Arkansas’s efforts to implement a 12-week abortion ban, clearly unconstitutional under Supreme Court precedent. In Arkansas, Rudofsky defended the state’s attempt to undermine Obergefell v. Hodges and fought a city ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. And, at his hearing, he went so far as to disavow earlier support for same-sex marriage – making clear what was already apparent from his record, that, as a judge, he will not ensure the rights of all Americans.
His record in other areas of civil rights is also troubling. He signed an amicus brief supporting the state of Arkansas in a Title IX case, claiming that the Constitution prevents the state from being sued for money damages under Title IX. If that were true, students would no longer be able to sue their school for money damages when the school mishandles their sexual assault claims. Rudofsky also fought efforts to ensure equal educational opportunities for African Americans in Little Rock, fighting a lawsuit by African Americans parents alleging that Arkansas implemented policies that furthered racial discrimination in Little Rock, including providing better funding and resources to schools with large white student populations. He also represented the state when an Arkansas resident challenged the state’s law mandating that voters must present a valid ID to vote.
Furthermore, Rudofsky has a record of hostility to protections for clean air and clean water. He led Arkansas in challenging the Clean Power Plan, which was estimated to cut the electric sector’s carbon pollution by 32 percent nationally and prevent over 90,000 asthma attacks in children. He challenged EPA authority to regulate power plants, and he worked to roll back environmental protections aimed at curtailing pollution from mining into streams and waterways.
Rudofsky also opposed protections for immigrants, including challenging the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program.
Rudofsky even sued to prevent four million workers from becoming eligible for overtime pay.
There is little in his record to suggest he will be an independent, non-biased jurist instead of putting his partisan and ideological interests ahead of the law.
Given these concerns, and as detailed in our report on his nomination issued prior to his hearing, which can be found here, we urge the Senate to reject Lee Rudofsky’s nomination.