On November 13, 2018, President Trump nominated Michael H. Park to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals seat previously held by Judge Gerard E. Lynch, who took senior status. The Senate did not act on Park’s nomination before the end of the Congress, and on January 3, 2019, his nomination was returned to the President. On January 23, 2019, President Trump renominated Park.
AFJ strongly opposes Park’s confirmation for a number of substantive and procedural reasons.
Park’s nomination is being advanced over the objections of both of his home-state senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Consistent with Senate practice for nearly a century, the Judiciary Committee should not proceed with a hearing without positive blue slips from both senators. The Congressional Research Service has not found any known instance in which a nominee has ever been confirmed over the objections of both home-state senators. As Senator Orrin Hatch said in 2014, “[w]eakening or eliminating the blue slip process would sweep aside the last remaining check on the president’s judicial appointment power. Anyone serious about the Senate’s constitutional ‘advice and consent’ role knows how disastrous such a move would be.”
It is clear, moreover, why Senators Schumer and Gillibrand object to Park’s nomination. Park is a movement lawyer who has dedicated his career to advocating for ultraconservative causes. There is nothing in his record to suggest he will be a fair, unbiased jurist should he be confirmed. His career, thus far, has fulfilled a checklist of conservative causes – advocating against voting rights and affirmative action, women’s reproductive rights, tribal rights, workers, health care, consumers, and clean water.