Progressive Dems reject popular potential SCOTUS nominee over controversial 2009 drug case

As the end of February draws closer, President Joe Biden is set to announce his U.S. Supreme Court nominee in the wake of Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement announcement last month.

According to Fox News, the Biden admin has already faced intense backlash from his critics over his vow to only select from a pool of Black female judges, but now, a growing number of progressives within his own party are voicing their concerns for one of the judges who is thought to be at the top of his SCOTUS shortlist. 

Judge J. Michelle Childs, one of the most likely nominees for the high court vacancy, apparently issued a marijuana-related sentence in 2009 that was unusually harsh.

“The hits keep coming. Now we learn Judge Childs tossed some guy in the clink for over a decade for taking too many tokes,” said Tom Nelson, a progressive Democrat Senate candidate in Wisconsin.

The controversial sentence

The concerns stem from when Childs was a county circuit judge in South Carolina. A man called William Roy Goodwin was caught on an undercover camera selling roughly eight ounces of marijuana to an undercover police officer.

Given his criminal record, Goodwin had pleaded guilty to a number of related charges in the hopes of being handed a sentence of five years or less over the undercover drug bust.

Prosecutors in the case argued for a much longer sentence, and their argument was apparently enough to convince Childs, who sentenced Goodwin to 12 years in prison over the bust.

Goodwin eventually told the media that he was “distraught” over the unexpectedly long sentence, adding that he received “more time than people in there who killed somebody. It was crazy.”

There were also allegations at the time that Childs handed down the harsh sentence in her attempts to secure a federal judgeship at the time.

White House responds

As the Goodwin story recently went viral again, with a large number of progressive Democrats and pundits making clear that they reject Childs as a potential SCOTUS nominee, the White House was forced to respond, heaping praise on Childs’ past work, and essentially said that the Goodwin case was an outlier in the thousands of other drug-related cases over which she presided.

“In her 16 years being a judge, she has issued thousands of decisions. As a federal judge, Judge Childs created and continues to administer her court’s first drug court program—Columbia Bridge—which has diverted defendants charged with drug related offenses away from prison toward drug treatment and reform,” said White House spokesman Andrew Bates.

He added: “She has served honorably as a federal judge since President Obama chose her in 2010, based on her experience on the South Carolina bench as well as her ‘exceptional integrity’ and ‘unwavering commitment to justice.'”

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