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Dem senator helps block Biden judicial nominee amid controversy over transgender inmate


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Senators successfully blocked a judicial nominee to a district court on Thursday after a recommendation from her to transfer a biological male that identifies as a transgender woman to a prison that housed biological women, despite a conviction on sexual offenses. 

Judge Sarah Netburn’s nomination was prevented from advancing after Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., voted against her with Republicans on the Senate Judiciary committee, creating a bipartisan opposition, an increasingly rare occurrence. 

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Biden suffered a defeat on Thursday when a controversial judicial nominee was blocked. (Getty Images)

In an 11-10 vote, the controversial nominee was blocked from moving to the floor for a confirmation vote. 

The vote was particularly significant because no Biden judicial nomination had ever been voted down in committee, making Netburn the first. A GOP aide told Fox News Digital, “No Democrat has ever voted against a Biden judicial nominee in committee.”

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Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn

Netburn was scrutinized for reccomending a biological male and sex offender be housed with female inmates.  (Senate Judiciary Committee)

The block is a defeat for President Biden, particularly as he seeks to fill more judicial vacancies than former President Trump. Earlier this year, Biden hit a milestone of 200 confirmations, outpacing Trump at the time. But with a recess-heavy schedule this fall, its unclear if he can outdo Trump’s record. 

“I have deep concerns about Judge Sarah Netburn’s nomination, and specifically about her radical rulings that endanger women by placing biological men in women’s prisons,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in remarks ahead of the vote. “And given the avalanche of letters this committee has received from women’s groups and female inmates, I’m not the only person with concerns.”

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Sen. Ted Cruz

Cruz read letters from former female inmates.  (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The Texas senator shared with his colleagues some of the input he’s received, including a letter from a former female inmate, in which she said, “As a former inmate in the California state prison system, I share your concern about how women’s rights are being pushed aside compared to the interest of men who are self-identifying as women and gaining entry to facilities meant for women.”

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Mitch McConnell

McConnell slammed the nominee’s record.  (AP)

In remarks on the Senate floor ahead of the committee’s vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, “Unfortunately, the red flags on Judge Netburn’s record aren’t limited to the inappropriate actions she does commit.”

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He explained that “Judge Netburn failed to rule on the unopposed motions they submitted that would have entitled them to participate in the next round of compensation for grieving families,” referring to the families of 9/11 victims. 

“As they put it, ‘We cannot understand how a Magistrate Judge could treat 9/11 family members so callously or so blithely disregard her duties,'” he continued. 

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