“Mississippi is as red a state as they come. It sure seems like we could do better than Judge Ozerden there,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network, an organization that has spent millions of dollars in support of Trump’s judicial nominees, wrote last August, when Ozerden’s nomination was first floated.
The leaders of other groups, including the Susan B. Anthony List and the Family Research Council, echoed her concerns, trashing Ozerden in remarks to Breitbart News. “Judge Halil Suleyman Ozerden has utterly failed to protect people of faith against Obamacare’s assault on religious liberty and conscience rights and does not deserve a promotion to the Fifth Circuit,” Susan B. Anthony president Marjorie Dannenfelser said at the time.
Since then, however, Wicker engaged in an aggressive lobbying campaign, beseeching the group’s leaders not to criticize the nomination if it went forward. Wicker was “happy to address concerns and questions as the president considered this nomination,” according to a staffer familiar with the situation.