by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Steven Menashi’s nomination for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest touchstone in the judicial confirmation wars.
Liberal commentators and activist groups are accusing Menashi of advancing extremist positions in the Trump administration and as an academic, while his conservative supporters say Democrats are warping his views. The 2nd Circuit is the federal appeals court that covers Connecticut, New York, and Vermont.
“These are the same types of smears the Democrats have thrown at several highly qualified people nominated by the president to serve as federal judges including Amy Coney Barrett, Neomi Rao, Brian Buescher, Ken Lee and, of course, with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — all of whom were confirmed,” said Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) chief counsel Carrie Severino. …
… The Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a liberal advocacy group, connected that rhetoric to Menashi’s recent work as a top lawyer at the Department of Education (DOE), where he helped craft new rules for adjudicating campus sexual assault allegations. Those guidelines guarantee a presumption of innocence for the accused, and require that both parties have full access to the evidence. DOE’s reforms were invariably applauded for strengthening due process or derided as patriarchal. …
… Menashi’s conservative supporters say those criticisms rest on unfair distortions. Writing in National Review, JCN’s Severino said the contested columns are generally thoughtful and measured.
“The left will look for material wherever they can find it to twist and misrepresent: law review articles, college newspaper columns — even high school yearbooks,” Severino wrote.