Republicans in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed Sarah Pitlyk to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge in the Eastern District of Missouri. The 49-44 vote was largely split down party-lines, with every Democrat voting against the nominee and every Republican for Pitlyk — except for Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Pitlyk, the 169th federal judicial appointee to be confirmed under President Donald Trump, is also widely regarded as his most controversial choice for the position to date, primarily due to her opposition to women’s reproductive rights.
The former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is staunchly opposed not only to abortion, but to medical fertility treatments and surrogacy as well.
In a 2017 friend of the court brief first reported by HuffPost, the Yale Law graduate argued that gestational surrogacy (in which a fertilized egg is transferred to a surrogate female who carries the baby to term) would have “grave effects” on American society, particularly to mothers and children, claiming it promoted the exploitation of females and weakened the “appropriate social mores against eugenic abortion.”
She is currently employed as special counselor to the Thomas More Society, a conservative pro-life law firm in Chicago whose website describes the organization as a “not-for-profit national public interest law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty.”
She received a rating of “not qualified” by the American Bar Association, which reasoned that Pitlyk lacked the relevant trial and litigation experience to properly perform in the role.
In a statement regarding Pitlyk’s confirmation, Sen. Collins said her lack of experience and seemingly obstinate personal views on abortion were the primary reasons she could not back the nomination.
“After a careful review of the Judiciary Committee proceedings and Ms. Pitlyk’s legal practice, I have concluded that she does not have sufficient experience to receive a federal district court appointment,” Collins said.
Similar to the ABA, Collins also took issue with Pitlyk’s lack of professional experience, noting her “lack of trial experience would make it difficult for her to transition to a district court judgeship.”
“My concern is not based on Ms. Pitlyk’s personal views on abortion or various medical decisions, which she has every right to hold. I do question, however, given her pattern of strident advocacy, whether she could put aside her personal views on these matters,” Collins concluded.
[image via YouTube screengrab]