On April 12, 2018, President Trump nominated David J. Porter to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Porter was nominated to replace Judge Michael Fischer, who assumed senior status on February 1, 2017. Notably, one of Pennsylvania’s U.S. senators, Sen. Bob Casey, has chosen to withhold his blue slip on Porter’s nomination. Alliance for Justice strongly opposes Porter’s confirmation on grounds related both to the process surrounding his nomination and to the merits of his record.
Porter’s career has been marked by fidelity to highly ideological and partisan missions. He is affiliated with several ultraconservative groups, including the Federalist Society. He has a close relationship and is philosophically aligned with Leonard Leo, the president of the Federalist Society, as he made clear when he thanked Leo for his comments on a book review Porter wrote on Ourselves and Our Prosperity: Essays in Constitutional Originalism. Disturbingly, Porter is a contributor to the Center for Vision & Values, a conservative think tank that has advocated against LGBTQ rights and argued that the minimum wage is unconstitutional. With former Senator Rick Santorum, he founded the Pennsylvania Judicial Network, an organization which opposed the nomination of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
In addition, Porter has vocally opposed the legality of the Affordable Care Act. In a 2012 article for the Center for Vision & Values, Porter reviewed landmark Supreme Court decisions that upheld the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and federal civil rights laws, and said that if the Supreme Court were to uphold the ACA under the Commerce Clause, it would “further stretch” and “break the Framers’ structural design[.]” In the same article, Porter praised the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Morrison, which struck down part of the Violence Against Women Act.