Confirmation likely for Trump pick for U.S. appellate court in Atlanta

File photo

File photo

Despite opposition from a coalition of civil rights groups, U.S. District Judge Andrew Brasher is expected to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate for an appointment to the federal appellate court for three Southern states, including Georgia.

The NAACP, American Civil Liberties Union and AFL-CIO are among the groups that have spoken against President Donald Trump’s decision to appoint Brasher to the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They say his record while serving as Alabama’s solicitor general demonstrated hostility toward minorities, particularly when it comes to voting rights.

“This is an unacceptable threat to our democracy as we know it,” said Lisa Rovinsky, who serves as advocacy chairwoman for the Atlanta branch of the National Council of Jewish Women.

The American Bar Association, however, has categorized Brasher as “well qualified” for the job.

The groups opposing Brasher point to a brief he wrote as part of a lawsuit that ultimately led to a rollback of the Voting Rights Act, and they say that in another case he defended an Arizona law that required people to submit proof of citizenship before registering to vote.

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, sits on the Judiciary Committee and has led the opposition to Brasher’s nomination. Coons said Brasher was evasive during his confirmation hearing and did not provide an answer when asked about examples of discriminatory voting laws.

“He is someone by his age, by his ideology, by his confirmation has made it clear he is unfit to serve on the 11th Circuit,” Coons said.

The coalition of groups, known jointly as the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, also opposed Brasher’s nomination to a federal court in Alabama last year. He was confirmed then after a party-line vote, and less than a year later Trump lined him up for a promotion to the 11th Circuit Court that handles appeals for federal cases in Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Democratic senators are again expected to oppose Brasher’s nomination, but, so far, no Republicans have said they will not support him. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina has joined with Democrats in the past to block judicial nominees that raised concerns, but he said Monday that he will vote for Brasher.

The Senate took a procedure step Monday evening that resulted in another party-line split and set up a final confirmation vote Tuesday. Georgia U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler voted with their fellow Republicans to advance Brasher’s nomination.

Representatives of the civil rights groups said they will keep trying to persuade Republicans to take another look at Brasher’s background before the final vote.

“It’s is our responsibility, it’s our duty to make sure that everyone understands his records,” said Benard Simelton, the president of the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP. “And maybe senators will take a second look and realize he should not be confirmed.”