During yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, some of President Joe Biden’s nominees for the bench have come under fire from Republicans for their history of releasing criminals on bond and their legal stances on the Second Amendment.
Six of Biden’s judicial nominees, out of the dozens that Democrats hoped to confirm in the lame-duck Congress before the nominations expire next year, had their hearings presided over by Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill. Republican lawmakers have been anticipating opposing a number of these nominations.
According to a Republican committee aide, Judge Jonathan James Grey, who was proposed for the Eastern District of Michigan District Court, last year approved bail for a man who was accused of embezzling $2 million and who the government had deemed a flight risk due to his history of domestic violence. Grey is also known for his past with weapon use, DUI conviction, and lying to and evading federal agents. Grey’s judgment was eventually overturned by another judge, who mandated that the criminal remains in custody while awaiting trial.
According to the assistant, Grey released “dangerous” criminals on bail in at least two previous cases.
Judge Ramon Reyes, a candidate for the Eastern District of New York, was the second one up. Republicans claim that Reyes ordered the release of convicts on bail on at least three instances, only to have a different judge overturn those orders and re-arrest the offenders while they await trial.
Republicans also anticipated attacking Julia Kobick, the Massachusetts District Court nominee and deputy solicitor general. Kobick backed the 2016 conviction of a Massachusetts woman who had used a stun gun to defend herself from a violent ex-boyfriend.
Kobick contended that Jaime Caetano should be imprisoned for breaking Massachusetts’s gun restrictions and that the Second Amendment didn’t apply because stun guns weren’t created until after the American Revolution.
The Supreme Court heard the appeal, unanimously rejected the allegation, and labeled Kobick’s defense as “frivolous.”
Justice Samuel Alito concurs that Caetano’s run-in with her violent ex-boyfriend exemplifies the connection between those fundamental rights. Caetano could defend herself from a bodily threat by arming herself because restraining orders had failed to stop it.
Alito added that Caetano used a firearm with little to no risk of causing long-term injury to her or the father of her children.
Judge Todd Edelman, the candidate for the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C., was also before the committee. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., interrogated Edelman about releasing a felon in 2020 who was later found to have participated in the murder of a 10-year-old boy in Washington and had pleaded guilty in connection with that crime.
Penultimately, Conversations need to be made about whether or not funding for law enforcement should be allocated to ‘sanctuary states’ where the second amendment is ignored.