Bench Memos

D.C. Circuit Nominee Cornelia Pillard—Part 5

Apart from the law-review article that I discussed in Parts 2, 3, and 4, I’ve made only a start in reviewing the extensive record of Georgetown law professor, and very recent D.C. Circuit nominee, Cornelia Pillard, whose Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Democrats are eager to cram through this Wednesday. I’m headed out of town today, so I’ll just add these two notes:

1. In response to the two sharply negative testimonials that I highlighted in my Part 2 post, I received this similar assessment from a third person who has known Pillard for over 25 years: “If confirmed, I’d guess she’d be the most left-wing judge in the history of the Republic.”

2. In a September 2011 press briefing for Georgetown’s Supreme Court Institute, Pillard discussed the then-pending (and soon-to-be-argued) case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC. Among other things, Pillard (according to her prepared text) said that the case “strikes [her] as a strong case for the employee” and that “the big news will be if the Court decides it for the Church.” She labeled the Lutheran Church’s position “a substantial threat to the American rule of law.”

As it turned out, of course, on the fundamental question of religious liberty at stake in that case, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the church entity. So that’s further confirmation that Pillard is well to the left of all nine justices.


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