Judge David Hamilton of the Southern District of Indiana, who has been nominated by the Obama administration to serve on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, proposes to bring an even more activist approach to the federal judiciary.
For example, in A Woman’s Choice v. Newman, Hamilton issued an injunction against an Indiana law requiring abortion clinics to give women information about alternatives to abortion and requiring an 18-hour waiting period before obtaining an abortion, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., points out. He called Hamilton’s ruling “questionable,” while the Seventh Circuit characterized Hamilton’s ruling as “an abuse of discretion.” In Hinrichs v. Bosma, in which the Judge enjoined the Chaplain of Indiana’s House of Representatives from invoking the name of Jesus Christ during prayers offered at official proceedings but later decreed that invoking the name of Allah was nonsectarian, Sen. Inhofe added. Inhofe described this ruling as “extremely naive and dangerous.”
The Seventh Circuit declined to rule on Hamilton’s Establishment Clause analysis, instead reversing the case due to the plaintiff’s lack of standing.
According to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), “Despite an American Bar Association (ABA) rating of ‘not qualified,’ Hamilton was confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana by the Senate on October 7, 1994.” ACLJ notes that the ABA changed their rating of Hamilton to “well qualified” more recently when Hamilton was nominated to the Seventh Circuit.
Hamilton’s nomination will now be considered by the full Senate, after it was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 12 to 7 party-line vote. Inhofe says he expects “a large number of conservative Senators are expected to join the fight to block this nomination.”