Planned Parenthood Federation of America is “noncommittal.”
The National Women’s Law Center has “grave concerns.”
And the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence finds his behavior toward victims of sexual assault “problematic.”
Yet despite opposition from civil rights groups and new questions about his record on abortion rights, New Hampshire Democrat Michael Delaney can count on two unshakable supporters of his nomination to the federal bench: Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan.
Even as the Associated Press reported on concerns over Delaney’s record on abortion rights and women’s groups expressed their opposition, Hassan and Shaheen continued to defend his nomination. It is more evidence supporting the long-standing critique that the two senators’ most profound loyalty is to the Democratic Party, critics say.
That loyalty is being tested yet again by the AP’s new report on questions senators have over Delaney’s signature on a 2005 brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court from the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office defending the state’s parental notification law. The issue has become so fraught Delaney was asked to submit extensive written testimony about his involvement. He claimed he had “extremely limited involvement” and was just doing his job as deputy attorney general.
University of New Hampshire law professor Buzz Scherr told WMUR he doesn’t support Delaney’s nomination. However, he said if someone signs a brief, they should take responsibility for it.
“You’re part of the office. You’re signing on,” Scherr said. “And this is your brief as much as anyone else’s brief. If he disagreed with it, then he shouldn’t have signed it, or he should have left the office.”
Delaney’s answers haven’t resolved the issue. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) has flipped from a “yes” to a “maybe.” And Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is also on the fence.
“For me personally, reproductive rights is a fundamental, core issue,” Blumenthal told the Associated Press. “And I think I’d want to know why he put his name on the brief and what it reflects in his personal view.”
Now, the National Council of Jewish Women says it opposes Delaney’s nomination. The national Planned Parenthood organization has yet to take a position.
The Planned Parenthood state organization did not respond to requests for comment, nor did the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire.
Meanwhile, one-time presidential candidate Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said he is still troubled by Delaney’s treatment of Chessy Prout, the victim of a sexual assault while a student at the political-connected St. Paul’s School in Concord. As the school’s attorney, Delaney wanted the 15-year-old victim stripped of her anonymity if she took her lawsuit against the school to court.
In 2016, Shaheen called Prout “a remarkable, brave young woman. Thank you for sharing your story to change the stigma of sexual assault.” Today, Shaheen is trying to get the attorney who tried to stigmatize Prout on the federal bench. Asked about criticism from women’s organizations, Shaheen barked, “They didn’t do their homework very well” and claimed their statements about Delaney had “factual inaccuracies.”
Asked to name those inaccuracies, Shaheen declined to comment. Instead, she continues to push for her political ally’s nomination.
“I think Mike Delaney will be an excellent judge,” Shaheen told radio host Jack Heath on Friday. “There has been a lot of support for him.”