• Fri. Sep 22nd, 2023


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Republicans Target Progressive Advocacy Group Amid Opposition to Jackson

When Mr. Biden took office, he chose Paige Herwig, a former Demand Justice lawyer, to help screen his judicial candidates, and the group intensified its campaign to diversify the professional background of federal judges, calling for more public defenders and civil rights lawyers in the mix of nominees, rather than the prosecutors and corporate attorneys that usually dominate.

The Biden administration has embraced that approach, with nearly 30 percent of its nominees having experience as public defenders. Judge Jackson is the most prominent example. Demand Justice notes that is a stark change from even the Obama administration, which nominated three prosecutors for every criminal defense lawyer.

“Public defenders need to be treated as the champion for constitutional rights that they are,” Tamara Brummer, a senior adviser for engagement and outreach at Demand Justice, declared at the concert on Monday, calling Mr. Biden “the public defender president.”

The event, which one organizer facetiously labeled a Dark Money Dance Party, was put together by Demand Justice along with Black Lives Matter, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, MoveOn and the United State of Women. It served not only as an affirmation of public defenders but a chance to hit Republicans for their combative questioning of Judge Jackson in her hearings.

“Instead of having an adult conversation like you might expect at a hearing for the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice, they decide instead they are going to destroy her record,” said Ms. Warren, who was among the first to call for more public defenders on the federal bench in a 2013 speech. “They decide instead that they’re going to shout and scream and talk over her. They decide instead they are going to treat her with disrespect.”

“They can kick and scream,” she added, “but it is not going to change the reality that we are going to confirm this woman to the United States Supreme Court.”

Demand Justice is not stopping with Judge Jackson. The organization has been recruiting potential judicial candidates around the country, conferring with lawyers with diverse professional backgrounds, and conducting online tutorials and interview training. The group says that 18 Biden nominees have disclosed in their paperwork that they have been in contact with Demand Justice.