Stephen Schwartz Should Not Be Confirmed to a Federal Court Seat

Press Release


Washington, D.C., July 21, 2017 – Alliance for Justice today released a report on the record of Stephen Schwartz, whom Donald Trump has nominated for a seat on the Court of Federal Claims.  AFJ President Nan Aron released the following statement:

“Stephen Schwartz certainly fits the new mold for federal judicial nominees being put forward by Donald Trump: ideologically ultraconservative; hostile to environmental protection and the rights of workers, people of color, LGBTQ Americans, and women; and unusually young – 34 – which means he is being groomed to serve on the bench for decades. His nomination is part of a clear strategy to stack the bench with rigid right-wingers for years to come. We strongly oppose the confirmation of yet another individual who cannot be trusted to fairly apply the law and uphold the rights of all Americans.”  

Among other things, the AFJ report notes: 

  • Although his professional life so far has been short, Schwartz has already carved out a career based almost entirely on attacking critical legal protections for women, immigrants, transgender youth, people of color, and the environment.  
  • In 2016, Schwartz argued on behalf of North Carolina in a failed attempt to get the Supreme Court to review the Fourth Circuit’s ruling striking down a restrictive voter law. That North Carolina law was described by the Fourth Circuit as targeting African-American voters “with almost surgical precision.”
  • Schwartz’s extreme legal views undermining transgender rights are prominent  in his 2017 representation of the Gloucester County (Virginia) School Board, where as co-counsel he drafted a merits brief arguing that Gavin Grimm, a transgender high school boy, should not be allowed to use the men’s restroom.
  • Schwartz is representing the State of Louisiana as it fights challenges to numerous bills that severely restrict access to abortion care.
  • Schwartz filed a brief on behalf of Florida Governor Jeb Bush, in support of Arizona’s decision to defend its law denying driver’s licenses to Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
  • While in private practice, Schwartz repeatedly litigated cases challenging environmental protections. Most notably, he worked extensively on behalf of BP following the devastating Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 
  • Schwartz filed an amicus brief on behalf of four publishing companies, including the Christian Booksellers Association, in the controversial Supreme Court case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. The publishing companies, like Hobby Lobby, were for-profit corporations seeking to invalidate the requirement in the Affordable Care Act that employers provide insurance coverage for contraception.
  • Schwartz served as counsel for a business owner alleged to have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. Rhea Lana ran a for-profit franchise that sold used children’s toys, clothing and furnishings.  Rather than pay its employees, Rhea Lana relied on “volunteer” mothers and grandmothers as salespersons.  The Department sent Rhea Lana a letter informing it that its failure to pay salespeople violated the law.  Schwartz represented Rhea Lana in its challenge to the Department.

Read the full report online here.