‘Radical’: Experts Decry Nomination of SPLC Attorney for Federal Judgeship
On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will once again consider the Biden administration’s nomination of Nancy Abudu to serve as a federal judge on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Experts and lawmakers say that Abudu, who serves as strategic litigation director for the scandal-plagued Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), is unqualified for the position due to making highly disputed claims about “voter suppression,” fighting against voter ID laws, and supporting voting rights for convicted felons, among other concerns.
The first committee vote on Abudu’s nomination ended in a 11-11 deadlock in May 2022, resulting in her nomination expiring on January 3 of this year. That same day, President Biden renominated Abudu for the judgeship.
Mary Beth Waddell, director of Federal Affairs for Family and Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, expressed grave reservations about the prospect of Abudu becoming a federal judge.
“Nancy Abudu is completely unqualified to serve in any judicial position, much less one on the second-highest court in the nation,” she told The Washington Stand. “She has chosen to work for an organization known for sexism and racism. They are known to target their political opponents by maliciously labeling them as ‘hate groups.’ They have had to pay millions of dollars to individuals they have attacked and mislabeled as ‘extremists’ simply because they have different political opinions and ideas. Even more shocking is that the SPLC has been linked to domestic terrorism in federal court because of this false labeling.”
Waddell continued, “Abudu knew or should have known, all of this when she agreed to work for the SPLC. Furthermore, as director of strategic litigation, she must be aware of the unethical practices, such as forum shopping, for which the SPLC is currently under investigation. Yet, in her confirmation hearing, she refused to acknowledge or denounce any of these wrongdoings.”
Waddell went on to highlight Abudu’s contested views on election laws. “If her choice of employer wasn’t enough to disqualify her, she has supported ideas such as “preclearance” (a federal power grab of elections) which the Supreme Court of the United States has said is unconstitutional,” she noted.
“She has clearly demonstrated that she doesn’t have the experience, demeanor, or judgment to be on the federal bench,” Waddell concluded.
Phillip Jauregui, senior counsel for American Family Association Action, expressed additional concerns about Abudu.
“Nancy Abudu is easily one of the most radical nominations to the federal bench in our nation’s history,” he said. “After litigating a case in our U.S. federal courts, she filed a ‘shadow report’ with the United Nations. This shocking invitation for the U.N. to involve itself with U.S. law is an affront to our constitution and a threat to our national sovereignty.”
Jauregui continued, “Moreover, Abudu has a long record of asking judges to legislate from the bench on a laundry list of liberal political causes. She opposes common sense laws that require proof of citizenship and photo ID to vote, believes that common sense laws prohibiting criminals from voting is ‘practically the same system as during slavery,’ and has a history of ruling against the rights of Christians even while she works for a group that designates Christians as members of hate groups.”
A coalition letter signed by over 50 conservative leaders underscored further misgivings about Abudu, including her decision to join SPLC in 2019 amidst the firing of its founder, Morris Dees, for racist and sexist behavior.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also voiced strong opposition to Abudu, with a group of 11 senators led by Mike Lee (R-Utah), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sending a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asking for a halt to Abudu’s initial nomination in May 2022 over ethics concerns that she engaged in judge shopping.
During Abudu’s nomination hearing in April, Hawley was blunt in his assessment of her nomination.
“2019 was the year Charity Watch gave your organization an ‘F’ rating,” he noted. “The SPLC has been labelled by the left-wing policy journal Current Affairs as an outright fraud that uses willful deception designed to scare liberals into writing checks.”
“I can’t believe you’ve been nominated for this position,” Hawley remarked.
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.