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Democratic Candidates Talk Courts at Presidential Forum

Our Rights Our Courts presidential forum
News & Analysis

On February 8, eight former and current Democratic presidential candidates gathered in New Hampshire to participate in the Our Rights, Our Courts presidential forum hosted by Demand Justice, Center for Reproductive Rights, NARAL, and All Above All Action Fund.

The forum was moderated by Stephanie Ruhle (NBC, MSNBC) and Jen Bendery (HuffPost) and included former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as well as former candidates Sen. Michael Bennet, former Governor Deval Patrick, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Candidates enthusiastically talked about their visions for federal courts and the Supreme Court.

  • Buttigieg spoke on the Trump administration’s approach to the judiciary as determined to lock in ultra-conservative ideology for generations and said that instead we need a diverse judiciary that better reflects the country in terms of gender, race, and diverse background experiences.
  • Similarly, Klobuchar pointed out that we need judges from all walks of life and different backgrounds, contrary to the types of judges that Trump is appointing. Klobuchar also said she would make it easier for all people to vote by introducing legislation to automatically register everyone to vote when they turn 18, ending gerrymandering, and passing H.R.1.
  • Sanders stated that he would only appoint judges who understand our concerns about choice and reproductive rights, climate change, and the impact of big money interests on political and economic life. Sanders said his nominees would be grounded in the real world and would stand up for women, communities of color and working people.
  • Warren emphasized that the Right has figured out how to manipulate the courts to advance their agenda when they couldn’t do so legislatively or through the president. Warren also stated that the courts are tilting toward favoring corporations and the wealthy and shrinking our individual rights, and reiterated that instead we need a court system that is truly independent.

View the candidate responses below, or watch the entirety of the forum here.