Opinion

DANNENFELSER: Democrats Smear Another Qualified Judicial Nominee Because Of Roe V Wade

Marjorie Dannenfelser President, Susan B. Anthony List

The abortion lobby has a bone to pick with Sarah Pitlyk, President Trump’s district court nominee for Eastern Missouri. In a recent email blast, Planned Parenthood attacked the nominee as “one of Trump’s worst picks yet.”

In September, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on five nominees to the federal judiciary in two separate panels. The second panel hosted three nominees, but from watching the video or reading the transcript, one would think Pitlyk was the only one that really mattered.

Why was Pitlyk the focus of so much attention? She is passionately pro-life, with a record of litigating — and winning — cases involving life and conscience rights.

No one on the committee, Democrat or Republican, seemed interested in asking probing questions of anyone other than Pitlyk, and these questions centered around her personal views on Roe v. Wade, her ability to be impartial, and her perceived inexperience.

Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s only comment to another panelist was to joke about being a small-town lawyer. Turning to Pitlyk, he hesitated noticeably before accusing her of “anti-choice agenda” — as though the term “pro-life” might swell in his throat and choke him — and of advocating “conspiracy theories,” repeating the old canard that the Center for Medical Progress “falsely manufactured” undercover footage of abortion industry insiders describing the brutal harvest and sale of aborted baby body parts. He then asked why she wants this job — indeed, he seemed to imply, why any pro-life advocate would want a federal court job since, in his mind, they particularly struggle to be fair.

Democratic Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono zeroed in on Pitlyk’s defense of Missouri law that states life begins at conception, calling her work “troubling.” She referred to President Trump’s Protect Life Rule, which stops taxpayer funding of the abortion industry through Title X, by its opponents’ label “gag rule” and added snidely after quoting from one of Pitlyk’s briefs, “whatever that means.”

In the face of Democrats’ unprofessionalism, Pitlyk emphasized that she strove to represent her clients honorably, and that a judge’s job is not to apply one’s personal views to the law, but to apply the law to the facts at hand.

Republican senators also expressed amazement at the American Bar Association’s determination that Pitlyk is unqualified due to lack of experience.

Pitlyk is a graduate of Boston College, summa cum laude. She earned two master’s degrees — one from Georgetown University, and another from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, where she studied under a prestigious Fulbright scholarship and graduated magna cum laude — before proceeding to Yale Law School. Once out of law school, she clerked for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his tenure on the D.C. Circuit and worked for two separate law firms before joining Thomas More Society as special counsel. (All of this can be found on her Senate Questionnaire, to which her interrogators presumably had access before the hearing.) The idea Pitlyk is some callow amateur is ludicrous.

Pitlyk explained how fortunate she has been that her “preference in how to run my family life have been given some deference” by supportive employers and colleagues who were flexible about hours and travel. Democrats who advocate paid family leave ought to appreciate such a progressive arrangement. Instead, Democratic Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin and his colleagues lambasted Pitlyk for prioritizing her family.

If the situation were reversed, Democrats would deplore such sexist attacks on a female candidate for the judiciary. As Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn pointed out, a non-traditional résumé is common for working moms. But with Roe v. Wade on the table, they’ve clearly decided anything goes.

This month marked the anniversary of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. A year later, pro-abortion Democrats and their media allies are still trying to delegitimize him — to brand him with an “asterisk,” as activist lawyer Debra Katz put it, in case Roe v. Wade should fall. They have followed a similar playbook in attacking Pitlyk, most of President Trump’s high-profile nominees, and the President himself as he steadily erodes their grip on power and returns it where it belongs: to the people and their elected representatives.

They did it to Amy Coney Barrett. They did it to Brian Buescher, painting the Knights of Columbus — which donated more than $185 million to charity last year — as a sinister, fringe group. They did it to Eugene Scalia, whose family name surely raised liberal hackles, interrogating him about the Trump administration’s laudable efforts to protect conscience rights and religious freedom. Expect the clamor for pro-lifers to be driven out of all aspects of the public square to grow even louder.

This is a small foretaste of life under a presidency and a Congress take by Democrats in 2020. We cannot let this happen, we cannot forget, we cannot disengage. Abortion activists must be stopped at the ballot box, by electing strong pro-life leaders in both houses and reelecting President Trump.

Marjorie Dannenfelser (@MarjorieSBA) is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.