Accuracy in Media

Another pro-life federal judge confirmed, another round of mainstream media mocking of her judicial views and qualifications.

In the case of Sarah Pitlyk, who was confirmed Wednesday to become a U.S. District Court judge in Missouri, the views related to abortion and reproductive policy, and the qualifications issue was that she had been declared “unqualified” by the far-left American Bar Association.

On top of that, HuffPost charged in “Republicans Confirm Lifetime Federal Judge Opposed to Fertility Treatments” – subhead: “Sarah Pitlyk has claimed that IVF and surrogacy have ‘grave effects on society’ and lead to ‘diminished respect for motherhood’” – by Jennifer Bendery that Pitlyk was rewarded for her support of Kavanaugh during his tense confirmation battle to join the Supreme Court.

“You may be wondering, why on earth would Republicans confirm a lifetime federal judge with such extreme views who was rated unqualified by a panel of senior lawyers,” Bendery wrote. “By all appearances, and in keeping with the agenda of this White House, it is because she is a young Federalist Society member who publicly defended Kavanaugh when Republicans needed it the most. A lifetime seat on a federal court is a pretty sweet thank you present.

“It isn’t the first time Republicans have confirmed an unqualified judicial nominee after they went to bat for Kavanaugh.”

In the last sentence, Bendery linked to a story from Oct. 24, when the Senate confirmed Justin Walker to the Federal District Court bench in Kentucky. The facts were similar – Like Pitlyk, Walker had served as a clerk to Kavanaugh and defended him against what Bendery called “credible accusations by Christine Blasey Ford” that Kavanaugh assaulted her 35 years earlier when both were attending private high schools in Washington D.C.’s Maryland suburbs. And Trump had rewarded him, Bendery wrote, in a similar fashion.

Blasey Ford was unable to produce a witness who had any recollection of the events she claimed occurred, nor could she state where or when the assault took place or how she knew Kavanaugh or how she got home or why she kept this a secret for more than three decades until Kavanaugh, who had held a variety of top positions in government and the judiciary, had been appointed to the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh’s clerks – as well as large groups of women who knew him from his high school days and others who knew him professionally – signed letters attesting they had never seen him engage in any conduct along the lines Blasey Ford suggested.

Bendery pointed out in both stories that the nominees had “earned a rare and embarrassing ‘not qualified’ from the American Bar Association.” In both cases, the American Bar Association, which has veered so sharply left it “could no longer be considered ‘impartial and nonpartisan,’” as David Nammo wrote in National Review in 2018, said the nominees were unqualified because they lacked trial experience – even though both clerked for a judge on the second-highest court in the land.

But Bendery made clear in her lead what her real problems were with Pitlyk.

“Senate Republicans voted Wednesday to confirm Sarah Pitlyk to a lifetime seat on a federal court, despite her extreme views on fertility treatments having ‘grave effects on society’ and her unanimous ‘not qualified’ rating from the American Bar Association,” she wrote.

Pitlyk, who was confirmed by a largely party-line vote of 49-44 – Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was the only Republican to oppose her – “fits the mold of many of President Donald Trump’s court picks: young, white and a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers’ group that has served as a pipeline for judges for this White House. Most Federal Society-backed nominees also tend to have records of opposing abortion, LGBTQ rights and voting rights,” Bendery wrote.

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