President Joe Biden announced an eighth round of judicial nominees on Thursday, including the far-left Dale Ho, the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) top “voting rights” lawyer.
If the Senate confirms Ho, he would become a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Federal judges hold lifetime appointments. Historically and by location alone, the District Court for the Southern District of New York is a very powerful court which presides over eight counties in New York State including parts of New York City (Manhattan and the Bronx). Any appeals go directly to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a court long characterized by its more liberal judgments, though it was flipped to a Republican-appointed majority in late 2019.
Ho worked at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund from 2009 to 2013, where he was an assistant counsel working on “voting rights litigation and other civil rights matters,” according to the White House. Since 2013, he has served as the director of the ACLU’s Rights Project. Ho’s extensive commentary on “voter suppression” can be found on his ACLU page.
Choosing Ho as a nominee could also be seen as a political statement against Republicans. For months, Democrats and the Biden administration have accused Republicans of attempting to suppress voters with voter integrity legislation and have labeled provisions like requiring voter ID as “racist.” Democrats have also largely been pushing the “For the People Act,” also known as H.R. 1, which would radically change American democracy, nationalize elections, and make permanent changes to voting rules that would virtually ensure Democrats never lose another election.
The ACLU, including Ho, set itself up as an adversary of former President Donald Trump during his time in the Oval Office.
“Ho argued against the Trump administration twice at the U.S. Supreme Court, including a successful challenge involving citizenship on the 2020 Census,” Bloomberg Law reported.
The ACLU particularly opposed Trump’s immigration policies and called his border wall executive order a sign he would further “enact unlawful, draconian immigration policies.” It also supports the Dream Act and DACA and actively litigates for the release of certain prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. More recently, the ACLU asserted that mandates for Chinese coronavirus vaccines “actually further civil liberties,” deeming vaccines a “justifiable intrusion on autonomy and bodily integrity.”
With a slim majority in the Senate, Biden has been able to confirm judges at a faster pace than all of the presidents before him since Richard Nixon.
Biden has nominated 53 federal judges, many of whom appear to be a bid to fill diversity quotas. Besides Ho, who would be the only active Asian American judge in his district, several of the other district court nominees would satisfy the dogma of identity politics.
Three of the district court nominees — Charles Fleming for the Northern District of Ohio, Linda Lopez for the Southern District of California and Victoria Calvert for the Northern District of Georgia — are current or former public defenders.
Fleming would be the second Black judge on his court. Lopez, today a federal magistrate judge, was nominated to her court alongside Superior Court Judge Jinsook Ohta, who would be the first Asian American woman district court judge on that court.
Washington Court of Appeals Judge John Chun was nominated to become the first Asian American judge in the Western District of Washington. U.S. Magistrate Judge David Ruiz was nominated to a seat in the Northern District of Ohio and would be the state’s first Hispanic district court judge.
By gender, 32 of Biden’s 53 judicial nominees have been women, including six on Thursday, according to the report.
So far, the Senate has approved 14 of the nominees “amid a rush by Democrats to shape the judiciary and counter the influence of Trump’s near-record 234 appointments while they maintain their narrow control of the chamber,” Reuters reported.