A left-wing activist with ties to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) nominated by President Joe Biden to be a federal judge has argued photo ID and proof of citizenship constitute “voter suppression.”
Nancy Gbana Abudu, the deputy legal director at SPLC, was picked by Biden in December to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The 11th Circuit covers parts of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. The vacancy came about upon the retirement of Judge Beverly B. Martin — a President Barack Obama appointee.
Abudu worked for the ACLU from 2005 to 2019 and was an 11th Circuit staff attorney from 2002 to 2004. Along with U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs, she was part of Biden’s twelfth round of judicial nominees, according to a White House memo.
Biden put forth 75 judges in 2021. The memo states that his nominees “reflect the diversity” Biden “promise[d]” in courts and that Abudu “would be the first African-American woman judge ever to sit on the Eleventh Circuit.”
‘Voter Suppression’ Remarks
In a 2011 interview dug up by The Daily Wire, Abudu asserted that “95 percent” of her work with the ACLU at the time involved “voting rights.” She notably said “photo ID” and “proof of citizenship,” two long-established requirements to vote, are indicative of “voter suppression:”
Obviously, we do a lot when it comes to voter suppression, which includes five priority areas: photo ID, proof of citizenship, restrictions we see when it comes to registration … early voting as well as absentee voting and the restrictions we see when it comes to criminal convictions. We also do a lot with student voting.
Abudu said her “biggest concern” as an ACLU attorney “regarding voter suppression” was states “passing laws requiring voters to have photo IDs.” She slammed South Carolina for not permitting students to show campus IDs to vote, calling it “restrictive.”
The Biden nominee has continued to argue that various voting requirements are discriminatory. In August, Abudu called on the Senate to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — H.R. 4 — in order “to protect the future of American democracy.”
“As HR 4 moves to the Senate, some senators have already committed to doing everything in their power to oppose the bill – up to and including leveraging a legislative tool popular with pro-Jim Crow senators of the past – to prevent its passage and to further erode the fundamental right to vote,” Abudu wrote, likening Republicans today to Democrats who upheld laws that discriminated against minorities in the past.
In a thematically-similar March 2021 writing, Abudu likened efforts by lawmakers to protect election security to efforts to suppress black voters in the 1960s. She slammed Georgia for its “Election Integrity Act of 2021,” which mandates voter ID for mail-in ballots, halts absentee ballot acceptance within 11 days of an election, and restricts third parties from handing out gifts to voters at polling places, among other provisions.
‘Separate and Unequal Society’
Biden’s judicial pick for the 11th Circuit aligns with the administration’s opposition to election security measures. Upon the signing of the Georgia bill by GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, for instance, the president called it “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”
In a statement to The Daily Wire, the Republican National Committee (RNC) said voter turnout actually went up in Georgia following the bill, revealing it is not restrictive.
“Turnout in Atlanta’s 2021 municipal elections rose by 17 percent compared to 2017 following the passage of Georgia’s recent election integrity legislation — clear proof that Democrats are lying about election integrity for political gain,” spokesman Gates McGavick said.
Abudu echoed the administration’s “Jim Crow” sentiment in a June 2020 article. She claimed America is a “separate and unequal society” and that the criminal justice system “ruin[s] people’s lives forever.” She also said laws barring convicted felons from voting are similar to slavery. See below:
When you add laws that prohibit people with a criminal conviction from voting, it’s practically the same system as during slavery – Black people who have lost their freedom and cannot vote. And without access to the ballot, a victim of the system cannot elect the very officials pulling the levers to hire the police, determine which cases are prosecuted and what sentences are imposed.
The contentious background of a federal nominee comes as no surprise. Biden has put forth activists many have argued operate in the progressive fringes of their fields, such as Vanita Gupta, Xavier Becerra, David Chipman, Rachel Levine, and others.
The ACLU and SPLC are not the only left-wing groups Abudu seems to have interaction with. According to her LinkedIn page, she recently liked a post from Rutgers Law School “social justice scholar” Sahar Aziz, who was announcing her selection by progressive billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations to be an “equality fellow.” The group has donated millions of dollars to groups like the Black Voters Matter Fund, a spin-off of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Abudu could not be reached for comment in time for publication.
Ilya Shapiro, vice president of the Cato Institute and director of the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, told The Daily Wire he thinks Biden has been focused on harnessing the power of the executive branch for “non-traditional” progressive ends, including for judgeships.
“Biden has focused not only on checking demographic boxes, however, but on nominating public defenders, activists, and others with backgrounds considered ‘non-traditional’ for federal judges,” said Shapiro. “It’s good to add different perspectives to the bench, but it also means that many of these nominees are more progressive and ideological than previous Democratic picks.”
The White House did not respond to a Daily Wire request for comment.