HRC Calls on the Senate to Reject D.C. Circuit Court Nominee Justin Walker

by HRC staff

Post submitted by Viet Tran (he/him/they/them), former HRC Press Secretary

Justin Walker has argued that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional and has described the Supreme Court’s decision upholding it as “indefensible” and “catastrophic.”

Today, the Human Rights Campaign called on the U.S. Senate to oppose the nomination of Justin Walker to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

“Justin Walker is another extreme, divisive and partisan judge being forced through by the Trump-Pence administration,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Walker has devoted his brief legal career to promoting discriminatory and outrageous rhetoric and attacking the Affordable Care Act, which has been crucial to providing life-saving treatment and care. As our country continues to fight one of the most deadly public health crises in history, one that disproportionately impacts LGBTQ people and communities of color, Walker’s nomination is a tangible threat to the health of millions of Americans. Walker is unfit to rule on many cases that address some of the most critical questions regarding equality, fundamental rights and access to health care. The Senate should reject the nomination of Justin Walker.”

Justin Walker has argued that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional and has described the Supreme Court’s decision upholding it as “indefensible” and “catastrophic.” He also praised Justice Kavanaugh’s opinion in the 2011 challenge to the law in Seven-Sky v. Holder as a “thorough and principled takedown” of the ACA and as a “roadmap” for the Supreme Court justices “who said Obamacare was unconstitutional.” As the nation faces a generation-defining pandemic, the ACA has served as a lifeline for millions of LGBTQ people and has proven to be a critical tool in ending health disparities within our community.

In addition, Walker has expressed extreme views of executive power. In January 2020, he joined a meeting with Mitch McConnell and President Trump in a discussion involving the status of his nomination to the D.C. Circuit, as well as the extent of Congressional oversight authority in exercising

impeachment powers. If confirmed, Walker would be tasked with working through the D.C. Circuit docket with multiple cases challenging the President’s attacks on the rule of law and claims of “total authority” over government. Walker’s previous statements raise serious concerns regarding his commitment to enforcing the law and the Constitution regarding executive power and privilege.

HRC recently published a research brief outlining the particular health and economic risks faced by the LGBTQ community during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Many in the LGBTQ community are uniquely vulnerable, as they are more likely to work jobs in highly affected industries, often with more exposure and/or higher economic sensitivity to the COVID-19 crisis, are less likely to have health coverage and are more likely to smoke and have chronic illnesses like asthma. One in five LGBTQ adults already have not seen a doctor when needed because they could not afford it. Black LGBTQ adults (23%), Latinx LGBTQ adults (24%) and all transgender women (29%) are most likely to have avoided going to the doctor because of costs. Read the full brief here.