After a judicial panel decided that federal judges can keep their memberships with the Federalist Society, GOP Sen. Ben Sasse blasted Democrats for launching a “smear campaign” against the organization, the National Review reports.
“I’m glad the Judicial Conference decided not to participate in a vicious liberal smear campaign against the Federalist Society,” the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight and Federal Courts said in a statement Friday. “Senator Whitehouse can hyperventilate about the Illuminati all he wants, but the Federalist Society is a group of law students and lawyers with diverse opinions who formed a debate society.”
The Nebraska lawmaker led a group of 29 senators who urged the judicial panel to abandon a proposal to ban membership from the Federalist Society as well as the liberal American Constitution Society, while permitting membership in the American Bar Association.
“Because they take the Constitution and the rule of law seriously, they’ve been the target of a ruthless blitz that will ultimately erode confidence in an independent and fair Judiciary,” Sasse said.
In March, 200 judges signed a letter criticizing a draft of the proposal that was leaked in January.
“It is inconsistent to disallow Federalist Society membership and permit ABA membership because of public perception of the Federalist Society as a conservative organization,” the letter states. “To make matters worse, this double standard rests on a critically flawed factual premise, for it is simply not true that the Federalist Society takes legal or policy positions.”
On Thursday, Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts James C. Duff wrote a memo stating the Judicial Conference tabled the proposal after a comment period that yielded 300 responses from judges.
The panel will maintain existing policies on membership in outside organizations.
Sasse said the Judicial Conference made the right call in its decision.
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