Update: Looks like we spoke too soon. The March 21 meeting has been cancelled due to the weather. Kadida Kenner will be joining us on April 4. Stay tuned for more.
We’re back! The snow kept us home on March 7, but we’re making up for it this week.
Our main guest this week will be Kadida Kenner, who works with Why Courts Matter Pennsylvania. WCM-PA focuses its work on protecting the integrity and independence of the courts. This will be critical for pro-democracy and progressive activists in the coming years. See below for more information on the group.
Background about Why Courts Matter
Why Courts Matter – PA (WCM-PA) is a non-partisan, non-profit (c)(3) organization and coalition of more than 40 organizational partners, representing tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians, who work together to educate the public about the importance of filling federal court vacancies with fair, independent, qualified judges of diverse personal and professional backgrounds. No matter what issues you care about, the federal courts play a major role in shaping law and policy on these issues. The federal courts, from the district courts on up to the Supreme Court, often play an even larger role on what kind of country we live in than elected representatives or the executive branch.
Our courts must be the first line of defense against the current administration’s agenda—and a centerpiece of the resistance. From direct challenges to policies like the Muslim ban to protecting the rights of workers, women, people of color, persons with disabilities, LGBT communities and more, the future of the federal judiciary is essential. Trump already nominated one Supreme Court justice and could fill more than 140 vacancies on the lower courts.
The Why Courts Matter Presentation includes:
- The judicial nomination/confirmation process
- Current happenings on federal benches in Pennsylvania
- Lessons learned from recent fights for our federal courts and record obstruction
- Strategies/Calls to Action that make a difference online and on the ground
The Trump Administration has promised that judicial nominees would be “in the mold” of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a far-right ideologue who helped make the Roberts Court the most pro-corporate court in modern times. If Justice Kennedy or Ginsburg retires, the Trump Administration could fill two more vacancies on the Supreme Court. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, was among the dozens of individuals handpicked by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. And make no mistake; future nominees would vote to uphold Trump’s radical policies.
There is currently one vacancy on Pennsylvania’s 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals and seven on PA’s federal lower district courts that the Trump Administration can/will fill in the coming months for LIFETIME judgeships. Pittsburgh attorney David J. Porter has been rumored to be on Trump’s list to fill the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals seat. Porter was former U.S. Senator Santorum’s personal attorney and would be a devastating pick for PA.