The top law enforcement officials in 18 states sent U.S. Senate leaders a letter opposing the confirmation of Nancy Abudu, a Southern Poverty Law Center attorney whom President Joe Biden nominated to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“I believe in an independent judiciary,” Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador, a Republican and one of the letter’s signers, told The Daily Signal in an emailed statement Tuesday. “The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is one of the most important courts in the country. Ms. Abudu’s public comments and relationship with the Southern Poverty Law Center fails to display an ability to judge a case independent of her personal political opinions.”
“The SPLC is a political organization masquerading as a legal advocacy group that has doxxed and labeled conservative and religious organizations ‘hate groups’ just because they politically disagree,” Labrador added. “Having a judge serve on the court from a political organization like SPLC would corrupt the sanctity of our judiciary at a time when millions of Americans are losing trust in our judicial system.”
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, also a Republican, spearheaded the effort, sending the letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on March 22.
“On behalf of the state of Alabama and other concerned states, we write to warn you of the dishonest and divisive track record of Nancy Abudu,” the letter states, claiming that Abudu has “proven herself unfit” to serve on the federal bench, specifically citing her “willingness to demonize those with whom she disagrees.”
>>>Related: 5 Things to Know About Nancy Abudu, Leftist SPLC Lawyer Biden Tapped for 11th Circuit
“She has compared her fellow Americans to Jim Crow-era racists,” the letter notes. “She has aligned herself with self-proclaimed ‘radical movement legal activists’ who view ‘policing’ as ‘the true threat to our collective safety.’ And she has proclaimed that our criminal justice system is ‘practically the same
system as during slavery.’ These spurious and outrageous statements vividly demonstrate that she lacks the judgment, fair-mindedness, and integrity required of a federal judge.”
Abudu has served as the director of strategic litigation for the Alabama-based SPLC since 2019.
As I explain in my book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC took the program it used to bankrupt organizations associated with the Ku Klux Klan and weaponized it against conservative groups, partly to scare donors into ponying up cash and partly to silence its ideological opponents.
After the SPLC fired its co-founder amid a racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal in 2019, a former staffer claimed that the SPLC’s accusations of “hate” are a “cynical fundraising scam” aimed at “bilking northern liberals.” Critics across the political spectrum have voiced opposition and alarm at the “hate group” smears.
In 2012, a terrorist targeted the Family Research Council’s headquarters in the nation’s capital, entering the lobby with a semiautomatic pistol and then shooting and wounding a guard. The man told the FBI that he found the conservative organization on the SPLC’s “hate map” and intended to kill everyone in the building. The man later pleaded guilty to committing an act of terrorism and received a 25-year prison sentence. The SPLC condemned the attack, but has kept the Family Research Council on the “hate map” ever since.
Abudu joined the SPLC in February 2019, amid the scandal leading to the SPLC co-founder’s firing.
Along with Marshall and Labrador, 16 other Republican AGs signed the letter: Florida’s Ashley Moody, Arkansas’ Tim Griffin, Georgia’s Chris Carr, Iowa’s Brenna Bird, Indiana’s Todd Rokita, Louisiana’s Jeff Landry, Mississippi’s Lynn Fitch, Nebraska’s Mike Hilgers, Montana’s Austin Knudsen, South Carolina’s Alan Wilson, Ohio’s Dave Yost, Utah’s Sean Reyes, Texas’ Ken Paxton, and West Virginia’s Patrick Morrisey.
“Nancy Abudu is a far-left extremist who has no business sitting on any court, especially a federal appeals court,” Griffin told The Daily Signal in a statement Monday. “Her work with the Southern Poverty Law Center, a radical activist organization bent on fomenting hate against people of faith—[is] just one example of her lack of qualification for the bench.”
“The Southern Poverty Law Center falsely leads people to believe they act in good faith and with pure intentions. Nancy Abudu cannot rid her past of supporting this organization,” a spokesperson for Indiana’s Rokita told The Daily Signal in a statement Tuesday.
“Based upon her record and prior comments, it is clear that Nancy Abudu has no interest in upholding the rule of law, but is far more concerned with promoting her own extreme beliefs and agenda,” Georgia’s Carr said Tuesday. “Throughout her career, Ms. Abudu has perpetuated false claims regarding Georgia’s election-integrity law, which yielded record-high voter turnout, and vilified our law enforcement officers. Political activism of any kind does not belong on the bench, and I urge the Senate in the strongest possible terms to reject this nomination to ensure fairness and integrity on the court.”
Carr further claimed that Abudu “has consistently and baselessly disparaged Alabama, Florida, and Georgia in particular, the three states she would be called upon to judge as a member of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.”
He concluded that Abudu’s history “doesn’t show simple professional disagreement. It shows, at best, insuperable bias. It more likely shows dishonesty. And it certainly shows unfitness for judicial office.”
Neither the SPLC nor the offices of McConnell or Schumer responded to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.
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