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Conservative Leaders Oppose the Nomination of Judge Halil Ozerden

Cruz Opposes Ozerden
Conservatives have voiced grave concerns about the nomination of Judge Halil Ozerden to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Specifically, a group of prominent conservatives led by our friend Kelly J. Shackelford, Esq., President and CEO of the First Liberty Institute, have raised issue with his commitment to religious liberty, and more broadly, with his commitment to advancing the original meaning of the Constitution. 

In an open letter circulated to the conservative movement and Senate Republicans on the Judiciary Committee Shackelford noted that in 2012, Judge Ozerden dismissed lawsuits brought by two Catholic dioceses and several Catholic high schools and charities challenging the contraceptive coverage mandate issued by the Obama Administration under the Affordable Care Act. The Diocese of Biloxi and co-plaintiffs argued that the contraceptive mandate required them to provide health plans which violated their religious beliefs by including or facilitating coverage for abortion inducing drugs.

During the safe harbor period prior to enforcement, the Administration announced their intention to consider alternative means of compliance for religious organizations. 

However, despite a ruling by the Eastern District of New York which found that the “intent to consider” was insufficient to protect the religious liberty of the plaintiffs, in addition to the 79 Members of Congress who submitted an amici curiae arguing the same point, Judge Ozerden ruled that the Administration’s intention was enough to strip the plaintiffs of their ability to challenge the rule.

In his ruling, Judge Ozerden did not even acknowledge the Eastern District of New York’s reasoning, and gave only tacit acknowledgement to the arguments of 79 Members of Congress, choosing instead to entrust the plaintiffs’ religious liberty to the benevolence of the same agencies responsible for endangering that liberty in the first place.

Ozerden’s indifference to religious liberty in this case is indicative of a judicial style that is short on substance and which demonstrates a troubling indifference to the textualism we would hope to see in a Circuit Court judge.  

A demonstrated commitment to religious liberty and a deference to the Constitution as it was originally written are the hallmarks of a prudent jurist. Principled conservatives must stand against judges being elevated because of who they know, rather than a proven history of a solid conservative judicial philosophy.   

As Sen. Ted Cruz, who has argued nine cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, stated, “for a lifetime appointment on the court of appeals, I believe we should be looking for someone with a strong, demonstrated record as a constitutionalist. I have significant concerns that Judge Ozerden’s judicial record does not indicate that he meets that standard. For that reason, I do not believe he should be on the court of appeals, and I will oppose his nomination.”  Senator Cruz is correct. Hopefully, other principled Senators who care about our courts will join him.

The undersigned conservative leaders oppose Ozerden’s elevation to a higher court.  We urge ConservativeHQ readers and friends to join these principled conservatives by contacting their Senators and urging them to vote against Judge Halil Ozerden confirmation and appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. 

The toll free Capitol Switchboard (1-866-220-0044). Call your Senators today and urge them to vote NO on the confirmation of Judge Halil Ozerden to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. We also invite CHQ readers to call President Trump via the White House comment line (1-202-456-1111) and urge him to withdraw this ill-advised nomination.

Signing the original letter of opposition were:

Kelly J. Shackelford, Esq.
President and CEO First Liberty Institute  

Alfred S. Regnery
Chairman Conservative Action Project  

Morton Blackwell  

The Honorable Becky Norton Dunlop
White House Advisor President Ronald Reagan  

Dr. James Dobson
President James Dobson Family Institute  

Jenny Beth Martin
Chairman Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund  

David Bozell
President ForAmerica  

The Honorable Colin A. Hanna
President Let Freedom Ring, Inc.  

Christopher Malagisi
Executive Director of Outreach Hillsdale College

 Tom McClusky
President March for Life Action  

Cleta Mitchell, Esq.  

Tim Wildmon
President American Family Association  

Rich Bott
President Bott Radio Network  

Mathew D. Staver, Esq.
Founder and Chairman Liberty Counsel  

David Barton
Founder Wallbuilders

(Titles and organizations listed for identification purposes only)

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