The conservative Judicial Crisis Network on Wednesday lambasted Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, putting into stark relief his record on the Second Amendment, abortion and suggesting that his deference toward government agencies would be to the detriment of the country.
The group also announced an immediate $2 million ad buy to oppose Garland.
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The outside group is planning a national ad campaign alongside state specific ad buys in the wake of Obama’s expected announcement on Wednesday, a source familiar with the plans said. The group also circulated talking points and America Rising research aimed at undermining the nominee to Republicans on and off Capitol Hill this week.
The major ad drop will bring the network’s total spending to nearly $4 million since Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. The group, headed by Carrie Severino, a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, has also backed the GOP Senate’s nomination blockade and attacked prospective nominee Judge Jane Kelly, a federal appeals court judge, in previous ads.
In a conference call with reporters, Severino referred to Garland’s “history of general hostility to the Second Amendment,” specifically his vote for the D.C. Circuit to review its ruling of a restrictive gun law that had been previously struck down, in a case that went to the Supreme Court as District of Columbia v. Heller.
Brian Rogers, the executive director of America Rising Squared, called Garland “probably the most anti-gun Supreme Court nomination in decades.”
In their talking points, the Judicial Crisis Network and America Rising referred to Garland’s “long record of deference to unaccountable government bureaucrats at the Department of Labor, EPA and other agencies whose regulations kill jobs and stifle economic growth.”
“The fact is, he’s got a long liberal record starting as a clerk to the court’s liberal icon, Justice Brennan,” Rogers said, adding later that the group would be looking for more cases related to abortion as those “cases do not come up often in the D.C. Circuit.”
Rogers referred at multiple points to Garland’s clerkship for Brennan, as well as the fact that he was initially appointed to the D.C. Circuit by President Bill Clinton and as chief justice by President Barack Obama.
Ed Whelan, who like Severino also clerked for Scalia, praised Garland as someone with “high intellect, a very decent fellow.”
“The only criticism I’d offer of him is he’s a liberal,” Whelan said.
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