The Family Research Council and other Christian public policy groups are sounding alarms before the Senate Judiciary Committee takes up the nomination of Nancy Abudu to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, likely next week.
President Biden nominated Abudu, strategic litigation director at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and a former lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), for the federal bench in January. Conservatives have expressed dismay about Abudu’s work with far-left groups such as SPLC and the ACLU and on her legal record supporting abortion on demand, homosexual marriage and LGBTQ interests.
SPLC has long included Christians and Christian groups on its “hate group” watchlist, perhaps most notably the Family Research Council, which has long contended for Biblical values inside the Beltway.
In fact, SPLC’s designation of FRC on its annual “hate map” for supporting traditional marriage in 2012 was the impetus for a northern Virginia man to enter FRC’s Washington, D.C., offices and open fire with the stated intent to kill as many people as possible. FRC’s building manager at the time subdued the shooter, but not before he was critically wounded. The shooter brought with him a gun and ammunition, a backpack and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches, presumably related to the restaurant chain’s support of biblical marriage. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges.
In 2014, SPLC also infamously named renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, then a likely presidential candidate who later served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development, to its “extremist list,” also for his support of Biblical marriage—a move they walked back after intense backlash.
On Monday (April 18), FRC Action, the organization’s lobbying arm, urged supporters to contact their U.S. senators to vote against Abudu’s confirmation.
“Ms. Abudu is the strategic litigation director for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a corrupt organization known for targeting its political opponents with its ‘hate group’ label and dangerous rhetoric,” FRC Action said. “Choosing to work for such an organization shows a lack of judgment that makes her unsuitable for the federal bench.”
Abudu, a graduate of Columbia University and Tulane Law School, is a former staff attorney on the 11th Circuit Court. Before joining SPLC in 2019, she was a lawyer for the ACLU, beginning in 2005 as a staff attorney in the group’s Voting Rights Project. She became legal director for the Florida ACLU in 2013. One case Abudu first argued in 2015, which challenged a Florida abortion waiting period on behalf of abortion providers and won a state Supreme Court injunction, is set for trial this month.
In January, FRC led a coalition of more than 50 people and organizations that sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee leaders expressing opposition to Abudu.
“Ms. Abudu works for a disreputable organization that has no business being a feeder for positions to any judicial office—not even of a traffic court—let alone the second highest court system in the United States,” the letter states. “She is a political activist, not a jurist, and is unfit to serve at the federal appellate level.”
Reporting from Decision Magazine.