Judicial Nominee Katsas Has White House Record to Answer For

Press Release

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Carolyn Bobb

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2017  – Alliance for Justice today released a report on the record of Gregory Katsas, President Trump’s nominee for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, widely considered the second highest federal court in the United States. AFJ President Nan Aron released the following statement:

“Gregory Katsas has served as Deputy White House Counsel to President Trump since January, which means he was present at the birth of all the unconstitutional, illegal and unethical schemes hatched by this administration. Clearly, his nomination is rooted in President Trump’s certainty that Katsas will be a reliable vote, on a very high court, in cases with an impact on the administration’s agenda. There are literally scores of damaging administration actions that Katsas must be called upon to answer for, and the burden on him to clarify and justify his role in these acts is incredibly high.  If he can’t do that, there is no reason to confirm this ultimate Trump insider to a seat on the federal bench.”

Among other things, the AFJ report notes:

  • Katsas describes his White House role as providing advice to the President and his staff “on virtually any legal issue of interest.”  Given this fact, Katsas has a great burden to demonstrate he will be independent of the President who nominated him, and has an obligation to clarify his involvement in crafting and participating in some of the most troubling actions taken by any President in history.
  • Katsas must disclose his involvement in the investigation into President Trump’s personal and campaign ties to Russia, including the President’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.  In the President’s own words, he fired James Comey because of “this Russia thing.” Katsas must clarify whether he was involved in such blatant efforts to impede a pending investigation.
  • Katsas must disclose his involvement in the President’s innumerable conflicts of interest, including whether he had any role in the President’s original decision not to fully divest himself of his business interests.
  • Katsas must disclose his involvement with the discriminatory and unconstitutional Muslim ban.
  • He must disclose his involvement in the President’s pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whom a federal court has found in contempt of court after repeatedly violating the Constitution through discriminatory arrests.
  • He must disclose his role in repeated efforts by the Trump Administration to undermine LGBTQ rights.
  • Prior to joining the Trump Administration, Katsas showed hostility toward regulatory protections for many vulnerable groups in both his personal statements and career choices, including his work at the Department of Justice during the George W. Bush Administration. He has worked to undermine health care, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, equal pay, fair housing protections, and other critical legal rights and protections.
  • As a senior attorney at the Department of Justice under George W. Bush, Katsas played a central role in defending expansive views of executive power.  His defenses of the government’s detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay without sufficient process were repudiated by the Supreme Court. His views on the extent of presidential powers are exceptionally worrisome at a time when President Trump’s judgment and willingness to overstep constitutional limits are continually called into question.

AFJ strongly opposes the confirmation of Katsas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Read the full report online here.