CONFIRMATION OF JAMES C. HO; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 209
(Senate - December 21, 2017)

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[Pages S8248-S8249]
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                      CONFIRMATION OF JAMES C. HO

  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. President, I wish to voice my disappointment that 
Mr. James Ho was confirmed to serve as a judge on the Fifth Circuit.
  While at the Department of Justice, Mr. Ho wrote a memo that the 
George W. Bush administration used to greenlight the CIA's use of 
torture. Furthermore, Mr. Ho's comments on campaign finance reveal a 
common thread among Trump judicial nominees that I find particularly 
  Mr. Ho argued that some of the detainees held by the U.S. at 
Guantanamo were not protected under the Geneva Convention. The memo Mr. 
Ho wrote allowed the CIA to use interrogation techniques banned by the 
Geneva Convention that caused the death of a detainee. The 
interrogation techniques Mr. Ho claimed were legal were ineffective and 
their use hidden from lawmakers. As my colleague Senator McCain said 
when he introduced an amendment to reaffirm our government's 
prohibition on torture in 2015, ``Our enemies act without conscience. 
We must not.''
  I am also deeply concerned by Mr. Ho's radical views on money in 
politics. Mr. Ho has said, ``For truly radical but effective reform, we 
must reverse course and abolish all restrictions on campaign finance.'' 
The overwhelming majority of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, 
disagree strongly with Mr. Ho and believe that

[[Page S8249]]

unlimited, unattributable amounts in money in politics corrupts our 
political system. Our political finance systems has been flooded with 
secret, corporate money since the 5-4 ruling in Citizens United. Mr. 
Ho's opinion on campaign finance favors corporations and the wealthy 
who use money to yield influence and shape policy.
  Unfortunately, Mr. Ho is not the only Trump judicial nominee who has 
espoused such extreme views. Every single nominee has come from a 
preapproved list created by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist 
Society. This intellectual hegemony will harm Americans seeking redress 
in the courts. Recently, three judicial nominees withdrew their names 
from consideration after the American public learned how inexperienced 
and unfit they were for a lifetime appointment. I encourage the Trump 
administration to submit mainstream nominees and to stop outsourcing 
our judicial system to rightwing think tanks.