Left-Wing Advocacy Groups Blast Biden's Judicial Pick

Sexual assault victims advocacy groups outline 'grave concerns' about Michael Delaney, who stripped minor sexual assault victim of anonymity during trial

Biden circuit court nominee Michael Delaney / Senate Judiciary Committee
March 11, 2023

Three leading left-wing advocacy groups say they have "grave concerns" about President Joe Biden’s judicial nominee Michael Delaney, who is under fire from a sexual assault victim and her family.

The National Women’s Law Center, the People for the American Way, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights called on senators in a letter to "further examine" Delaney’s record. Delaney filed a successful motion to strip a minor sexual assault victim of her anonymity when he represented the prestigious St. Paul's School in New Hampshire in 2016.

With continued efforts in the courts to narrow and overturn fundamental and civil rights, we must ensure only nominees who understand the impact of the law on and the need to protect  the rights of women, girls, people of color, LGBTQI+ people, pregnant and parenting individuals, and other communities marginalized in our society are confirmed to the federal bench," the groups write in the the letter, first reported by Politico. "At a time when survivors are shamed for exercising their civil rights to be free from sex discrimination in education, it is essential that we call out the actions of those in power who seek  to minimize the trauma, needs, and lived experiences of survivors."

While the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) signaled the Senate would move ahead with a vote on Delaney as soon as next week, the letter emphasizes the difficult circumstances Democrats, who brand themselves as advocates for sexual assault victims, face. Delaney appeared to face some opposition from Democrats on the committee, such as Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), who submitted an extensive set of written questions to the nominee.

The victim, Chessy Prout, and her family, have been outspoken opponents of Delaney’s nomination.

"Delaney used the 'totality of his career,' his accumulated knowledge of victim trauma, and weaponized that knowledge and experience to intimidate a minor victim of sexual assault into silence," Alex Prout, the father of Chessy Prout, said Saturday in a statement. "This does not qualify him to be a federal judge."

New Hampshire senators Maggie Hassan (D.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D.) have led the charge for his confirmation, praising his record on multiple occasions. But with two Democratic absences, Feinstein with a case of shingles and Sen. John Fetterman (Penn.) who is hospitalized with depression, Delaney’s nomination is far from assured.

The White House, laser-focused on confirming more judges than former president Donald Trump, has remained supportive of Delaney. In a statement to Politico, a spokesman said Biden "has the utmost respect for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors and expects senators to take Mr. Delaney’s full record into account when considering his nomination."

Another controversial Biden judicial pick, Maria Araujo Kahn, was confirmed on Thursday. Kahn previously oversaw controversial "implicit bias" seminars and once attacked the First Amendment for allowing people to "verbally" assault racial minorities. Kahn was confirmed with the help of two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.).