New Hampshire attorney Michael Delaney’s judicial nomination has taken a major step forward, despite his treatment of a teen victim of sexual assault, and he has Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen to thank for it.
A new report from the Washington Free Beacon said Delaney’s embattled nomination has been scheduled for a markup hearing by Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Dick Durbin (D., Ill.). It credited Hassan and Shaheen for “leading the charge on Delaney’s nomination despite unified Republican opposition and outcry from victims’ rights advocates.”
Delaney was nominated by President Joe Biden to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and has the enthusiastic support of the Granite State’s two senators. He also has a problematic record from his time representing elite Concord prep school St. Paul’s Academy in an alleged sexual assault case brought by teen victim Chessy Prout.
Prout wrote about her experience for The Boston Globe: “In an attempt to intimidate me, Delaney filed a motion to strip me, then 16, of my anonymity if my supporters continued to make public statements about the case. Instead, I came forward with my name and story. Because of his actions, I lost the privilege of privacy.
“Biden’s nomination as well as the nominee’s support from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire show me and other survivors that they approve of what Delaney and St. Paul’s School put me and my family through, which is far from my initial impression of their values,” Prout wrote.
The organization End Rape on Campus is urging senators to reject the nomination. “In order to end rape culture, we must advocate for legislative and cultural change at every possible opportunity. That’s why we’re taking action and calling on our senators to oppose Michael A. Delaney’s nomination.”
Chessy’s father, Alex Prout, told the Free Beacon his family would attend the markup meeting “as a reminder that the voices of survivors need to be heard.”
Both New Hampshire Democrats are undeterred.
“Despite the Prout family’s efforts, Democrats remain committed to making Delaney a judge,” the Free Beacon reported. “Shaheen and Hassan on Monday spoke with Durbin about Delaney’s nomination and left their meeting feeling confident in his eventual confirmation. Shaheen told reporters that Delaney would be an ‘excellent judge,’ echoing words from a January letter she wrote with Hassan in which they lauded his ‘commitment to justice.’”
Victims’ rights groups don’t agree.
Monika Johnson Hostler and Terri Poore with the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence said Delaney’s efforts on behalf of St. Paul’s School promoted the culture of silence on the elite campus by attempting to silence victims.
“When Mr. Delaney represented St. Paul’s School in a lawsuit brought by a minor survivor, he made a proactive motion to make the minor survivor’s name public. We find this deeply problematic both in terms of the impact on the particular survivor as well as the message it sends to survivors in general. We are trying to create a culture where survivors feel encouraged to seek healing and justice. This type of motion does the opposite,” Johnson Hostler and Poore wrote to the committee.