Toms Ostrom Soap Box

Former MN Secretary of State Joan Growe Criticizes Trump’s Judicial Picks

Joan Growe served as Minnesota Secretary of State from 1975 to 1999 under Democratic governors Wendell Anderson and Rudy Perpich. In a September 29 article on the MinnPost website, Growe criticized President Trump’s judicial nominees for being too conservative and partisan.

Growe commended U.S. Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar for holding up the judicial nomination of distinguished law professor and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras because Stras seems too conservative.

Growe argued that judicial appointments should be bipartisan to represent all segments of the electorate. That is an interesting argument for a Democrat to make, given that governors and presidents have traditionally appointed judges and justices who mirror their own philosophies. President Obama surely did that. As has Governor Dayton.

Then Growe argued more minorities and women should be appointed to the bench. Is that not a partisan suggestion for appointees with assumed ideologies and cultural perspectives to be applied to law and court decisions? Growe claims, “We (meaning her and her DFL followers) need to do the hard work democracy demands (because) we deserve a government that truly represents us.” We need,” Growe continues, to “feel comfortable that the judge who decides our case understands our own unique perspective and represents the best of our collective wisdom and expertise.”

Unfortunately, Growe concludes, “Despite his relative youth (given Trump’s effort to appoint him to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals), Justice Stas has already established himself as a conservative legal thinker” who would be expected to support a “far right agenda.”

Joan Growe said Republicans and the Trump administration have rushed “to pack our courts with activist conservative judges,” and threatened “the impartiality of the federal bench.” Crowe applauds “Sen. Al Franken for taking a stand against inappropriate politicization of the judiciary by opposing Justice Stras’ nomination.”

Sure. We are asked to believe that Growe and Franken oppose judicial partisanship unless of course, it would be liberal “politicization.” Liberals and conservative candidates in the last presidential election pleaded with voters to put them in office to preserve the balance of the courts in their direction.

When President Trump nominates a conservative black man or woman for a judicial position, the liberal punditry, media and political class can be expected to oppose that person because he or she, of course, would not properly represent their “community.”

Actually, President Trump is responding to the values and expectations of his supporters. As President Obama so often reminded us, “Elections have consequences.”
Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff reminds us that Trump has made several exemplary conservative judicial nominations and appointments. Besides getting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch on the bench, Trump has nominated Kurt Engelhardt, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern Court of Louisiana for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Engelhardt warms the cockles of conservative hearts. He made decisions against the Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Obama/Holder Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division for intimidating witnesses, stoking a “mob mentality” against law enforcement officers, and abusing plea bargains. Engelhart ordered mistrials and new trials in such cases. Paul Mirengoff wrote that Judge Englehardt properly criticized the operations of the Obama Justice Department in its handling of accusations against the New Orleans Police Department.

Joan Growe is correct about one thing. Judges and justices should be nominated and appointed who reflect the will of the people. President Trump is doing that.