News Releases

In a Senate floor speech, Senator Murray shared her opposition to Circuit Court nominee Jonathan Kobes and laid out why his volunteer work for fake women’s health centers is disqualifying 

Kobes volunteered to help defend a law that interfered in the relationship between providers and patients by requiring providers to give fake information to women seeking reproductive care

Kobes is the sixth nominee from President Trump to be rated “unqualified” by the American Bar Association

Senator Murray: “I’m going to keep standing up, speaking out, and making clear just how harmful President Trump’s ideological nominees are”

***WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR SPEECH HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) outlined her opposition to Jonathan Kobes’ nomination to serve on the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals in a speech on the Senate floor. Senator Murray made clear that not only does Mr. Kobes lack the qualifications for the position, but that his past work with fake women’s health centers—clinics that seek out women looking for information about their health care needs and reproductive rights, and then use misleading or false propaganda to scare and pressure them—is utterly disqualifying. In her speech, Senator Murray highlighted the importance of continuing to stand up for women’s health care and rights, particularly in light of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation earlier this year, and made clear she is going to keep fighting against Republican efforts to ram through President Trump’s far-right ideological judges.

Key excerpts of Senator Murray’s speech:

“Like many of President Trump’s nominees before him, Mr. Kobes lacks almost any real experience to qualify him for a seat on the Eighth Circuit Court.  He has little trial experience, little appellate experience, and no record of legal scholarship to speak of.  And I’m not the only one concerned by that—the American Bar Association has also rated him unqualified. That makes Mr. Kobes the sixth judicial nominee from President Trump opposed by his professional colleagues. But the thin record he does have is disqualifying—because it shows he will put extreme right-wing ideology ahead of women and science.”

“Hours before the final vote on Judge Kavanaugh, I came here to speak about, how angry I was when the Senate failed Anita Hill back in 1991 and confirmed Justice Thomas, how I decided to run for Senate after that so I could fight to change things, and how I hoped everyone who was angry about Judge Kavanaugh would stay angry and keep fighting for change. And then, I also promised—right here—that whatever happened, I was going to get up the next day and keep fighting too, and I meant it. I’m going to keep standing up, speaking out, and making clear just how harmful President Trump’s ideological nominees are.”

Watch video of Senator Murray’s floor speech HERE.

Full text of Senator Murray’s floor speech below:

“Thank you M. President. I come to the floor today to oppose Jonathan Kobes’ nomination to serve on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“People across the country know how important it is we fight back against extreme—and extremely unqualified—judicial nominees.

“Earlier this year, during Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, we saw just how far President Trump and Senate Republicans are willing to go to jam through extreme judges who will work to strip away women’s rights.

“But that wasn’t all we saw.

“We saw how many millions of women and men across the country were inspired to stand up and fight back against his nomination.

“We saw people speak out and share their own personal stories about what was at stake—about sexual assault and how important it is we believe survivors, about the right to safe, legal abortions and what it means for women and their families, about what kind of country we want to live in.

“And we saw without question that people across the country want us to stop President Trump from swinging our courts far-right by packing them with ideological judges. Judges like Mr. Kobes, who will continue the Trump-Pence agenda of rolling back women’s rights and access to health care.

“M. President I want to spend a few minutes today making sure families know exactly what Mr. Kobes would mean for women if he is seated: weaker rights and less access to health care.

“Like many of President Trump’s nominees before him, Mr. Kobes lacks almost any real experience to qualify him for a seat on the Eighth Circuit Court.  He has little trial experience, little appellate experience, and no record of legal scholarship to speak of. 

“And I’m not the only one concerned by that—the American Bar Association has also rated him unqualified. That makes Mr. Kobes the sixth judicial nominee from President Trump opposed by his professional colleagues.

“But the thin record he does have is disqualifying—because it shows he will put extreme right-wing ideology ahead of women and science.

“Mr. Kobes is an outspoken advocate for fake women’s health care centers—sometimes called ‘crisis pregnancy centers.’ These fake clinics seek out women looking for information about their health care needs and reproductive rights, and then use misleading—and even blatantly false—propaganda to scare and pressure women.

“Mr. Kobes even went out of his way to represent some of these fake clinics free of charge. He voluntarily defended a law requiring providers to give a lecture full of ideological propaganda and fearmongering to women seeking safe, legal abortions. The required lecture in this case actually went so far as to demand providers lie to women and claim abortion increases their risk of suicide—it does not.

“Think about that. He argued for a law that directly interfered with the relationship between patients and health care providers. A law that said women making their own decisions about their own bodies, and seeking health care that is their constitutional right should be lied to—should be frightened out of their decision with fake information—including fake information about suicide.

“That is utterly wrong and disqualifying for any judicial nominee.

“And Mr. Kobes hasn’t merely represented these fake clinics in court, he served on the board of an organization which aimed to deceive and frighten women out of getting abortions.

“It’s clear Mr. Kobes wasn’t chosen for his bona fides in the legal field—because he doesn’t have them.

“M. President, women and men across the country are paying attention, because they know how much is at stake.

“Hours before the final vote on Judge Kavanaugh, I came here to speak about, how angry I was when the Senate failed Anita Hill back in 1991 and confirmed Justice Thomas, how I decided to run for Senate after that so I could fight to change things, and how I hoped everyone who was angry about Judge Kavanaugh would stay angry and keep fighting for change.

“And then, I also promised—right here on the Senate floor—that whatever happened, I was going to get up the next day and keep fighting too, and I meant it. I’m going to keep standing up, speaking out, and making clear just how harmful President Trump’s ideological nominees are.

“I strongly oppose Mr. Kobes’ nomination, and I hope all of my colleagues will do the same.”