On February 15, 2018, President Trump nominated Andrew S. Oldham to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for the seat then held by Judge Edward Prado. In January 2018, Trump nominated Prado to be the U. S. Ambassador to Argentina; the Senate confirmed Prado on March 22, 2018. Prado was the only remaining Latino judge active on the Fifth Circuit. This is Trump’s fifth nominee to the Fifth Circuit since taking office last year.
Significantly, Oldham’s record paints a clear picture of an ideological warrior bent on curtailing critical rights and protections for everyday people. His nomination is entirely in keeping with the Trump Administration’s stated goal of appointing judges who will assist in tearing down health, safety and consumer protections and the federal agencies that create and enforce them.
At 39, Oldham is also the youngest person Trump has nominated for a seat on the circuit courts of appeals, which means that if confirmed, he could wield influence on the Fifth Circuit for three to four decades or more. This, too, is in keeping with the administration’s strategy of naming ever-younger individuals to the federal bench to cement in place a rightward tilt to our system of justice. Alliance for Justice strongly opposes Oldham’s confirmation.
The environment. Oldham repeatedly helped Texas join then-Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt in suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and undermining efforts to address climate change. Oldham even questioned the legitimacy of the EPA, saying: “One of the reasons why the administrative state is enraging, is not that you disagree with what the EPA does, although, I do disagree with a lot of what it does. That’s not the thing that makes it enraging. It’s the illegitimacy of it,” and “no one ever pauses to wonder about whether the entire edifice of both the Clean Power Plan and the agency that promulgated it is just utterly and fundamentally illegitimate.”
Workers and consumers. Oldham has questioned the legitimacy of safeguards protecting the public and consumers. Oldham was reportedly “heavily involved” in the “Texas Plan” to radically amend the U. S. Constitution and gut the enforcement of modern consumer, public health, and workplace protections: “What’s driving it from our perspective, from the Governor’s perspective and mine . . . is much deeper than that.” “It’s not that I disagree with a particular Department of Labor regulation or a particular IRS regulation. It is the entire existence of this edifice of administrative law is constitutionally suspect.”
Dreamers and their parents. Oldham was the architect of Texas’s strategy to block the expansion of DACA to additional Dreamers and parents of U.S citizens or green card holders, across the country.
Gun safety. Oldham represented Texas in its fight against a California concealed carry law. He also argued that Texas concealed carry license holders should be able to carry firearms into some government buildings.
Civil rights. Oldham helped Texas sue to block the EEOC’s efforts to “Ban the Box” in hiring. He assisted in gutting the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder while advocating for Texas’s controversial voter ID law, and also fought against fair housing protections for communities of color.
Reproductive rights. Oldham defended Texas’s extreme anti-abortion law, HB2, which the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately declared unconstitutional in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
Health care. Oldham led Texas’s effort with 19 other states to strike down the Affordable Care Act.
Antitrust. Oldham argued that the modern day Sherman Act – a foundation of antitrust law and competition policy – is unconstitutional.