Buttigieg, Klobuchar lay out criteria for potential judicial nominees

Buttigieg, Klobuchar lay out criteria for potential judicial nominees
© Greg Nash

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Candidates weighing using private jets to get to Iowa Biden nabs endorsement from Iowa Democrat in swing district MORE and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Moore defends Sanders's reputation: 'We don't want the fake, and the phony and the fraudulent' MORE (D-Minn.) laid out their criteria for picking federal court nominees in a rare round of questions about the judiciary at Thursday's Democratic presidential debate.

The candidates were asked how they would approach nominating judges given the success that President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE has had in shifting the judiciary to the right with the help of rapid confirmations by the GOP-controlled Senate.

“I would appoint judges who are in the vein of people like Elena KaganElena KaganSupreme Court sharply divided over state aid for religious schools Buttigieg, Klobuchar lay out criteria for potential judicial nominees Welcome to third-world democracy and impeachment MORE, and Justice [Stephen] Breyer, and Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorSupreme Court sharply divided over state aid for religious schools Justice Roberts neglects his own role in tilting American democracy Turley: Testifying for Republicans should not be a sin for academics MORE, and let's not forget the Notorious RBG,” Klobuchar said, using the nickname for Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgSupreme Court sharply divided over state aid for religious schools Equal Rights Amendment will replace equality with enforced sameness SCOTUS 'TRAP law' case and the erosion of abortion rights MORE.

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Klobuchar added that the next Democratic president will need to make judicial confirmations more of a priority than previous administrations have.

“That is one thing that we all learned from when President Obama was in, and that was that he was dealing with an economic crisis and it was hard to do it right away. But we have to immediately start putting judges on the bench to fill vacancies so that we can reverse the horrific nature of these Trump judges,” she said.

Buttigieg, who has made the most explicit push of any White House hopeful to reform the courts, said he would nominate judges and justices who value civil rights.

“It is critical that we have justices who understand that American freedom includes reproductive rights and reproductive freedom, but that's not all,” he said. “I expect an understanding that voting rights are human rights. I expect an understanding that equality is required of us all.”

“And I expect a level of respect for the rule of law that prevents this body from coming to be viewed as just one more partisan battlefield, which is why I will not only appoint judges and justices who reflect this worldview, but also begin moving to reform the body itself as our country has done at least half a dozen times in its history so that it is not one more political battlefield every single time a vacancy comes up,” he added.

Buttigieg has floated the idea of packing the Supreme Court with additional seats for justices and other steps designed to make federal courts less partisan.

The court questions at Thursday's debate came a day after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a key tenet of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate, is unconstitutional. Democratic attorneys general have already vowed to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.