Howard Nielson is a Trump nominee for the federal district court in Utah, and is beyond the pale in terms of his unfitness for a lifetime appointment.
His record is beyond flawed, and it is shocking that he was not only nominated, but re-nominated for the federal bench.
- Nielson was part of a "Screening Committee" involved in the DOJ's politicization under President Bush, via a hiring scandal around interns and non-political positions. An Inspector General investigation at the time found that "candidates with Democratic Party and liberal affiliations" were weeded out of the hiring process for civil servants and resulted in the Inspector General stating that the perpetrators of this scandal -- like Nielson -- "should never get a job with the Department or, in my view, any other Federal agency." He's now nominated by Trump to a LIFETIME seat on a federal court!
- In representing the proponents of Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative amending the state constitution to strip same-sex couple of the right to marry, Nielson urged a federal district judge to throw out the original district court ruling striking down Prop 8 on the basis that its author -- then-Judge Vaughn Walker -- was gay! This smacks of the same sort of obscene bigotry displayed by then-candidate Donald Trump when he insisted that Judge Gonzolo Curiel, overseeing the Trump University fraud lawsuit, was incapable of dispensing justice because of his Mexican heritage.
- Nielson worked in the Bush-era Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) where he authored a memo asserting that the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply to United States actions that occur outside of American territory or land under formal American occupation -- a conclusion that war crimes expert and former State Department official Beth Van Schaack wrote would "virtually gut" the treaty.
- At the OLC, he was part of a team that used dubious legal reasoning to provide cover for the Bush administration's use of torture and argue that the president could ignore statutes passed by Congress and treaties that banned torture.
Sign the petition and urge your senators to OPPOSE Nielson's nomination.