Sunday, 21 July, 2019


Willett's Tweets Become Focus Of Senate Hearing

Senate Judiciary Cmte Votes On Neil Gorsuch Nomination For Supreme Court Chip Somodevilla Getty Images
Hannah Rogers | 16 November, 2017, 06:12

Willett has been nominated for a spot on the fifth circuit.

It was a rough session for the usually glib Willett, who is a frequent Twitter user and was named "Tweeter Laureate" by the Texas Legislature in 2015. He largely stopped tweeting after his nomination, but his Twitter use was the subject of one of the first questions he faced. Willett has been rated 'well qualified' for the position (the highest available rating) by the liberal-leaning American Bar Association, and he will be confirmed.

"Do you think it demonstrates good judgment for a man in his late 40s, sitting Supreme Court justice, to publicly demean and humiliate a 17-year-old girl on Twitter?" "I haven't thought a lot about it, but if I do, certainly the frequency and the content would change".

Willett defended both tweets as jokes.

Later, Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, asked the same question, and Willett gave a similar answer. Willett promised the senator that if he did tweet, he would "post nothing that could be remotely construed as political".

"Senator Feinstein, I tried", said Durbin, an Illinois Democrat.

Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Al Franken, D-Minn., had a Willett tweet blown up - it was about a transgender girl joining the girls' softball team with the comment, "Go away A-Rod" - and had staffers hold it up behind them during their question time.

Willett said Wednesday he never meant to "disparage anyone" with his tweets.

"I could support a constitutional right to marry bacon", he tweeted, along with a pic of some sizzlin' meats.

Asked about the tweet by Sen. Willett's response was that it was also an attempt at humor.

"It was my attempt to inject a bit of levity", Willett told the senator.

"And you think that cut back the divisiveness with a comment like that?"

"I believe every American is entitled to equal worth and dignity", Willett said. "I've never meant to disparage anyone and would never do so. That's not where my heart is".

Parenthetically in the memo, Willett called pay equity "an allegation that some studies debunk", and he questioned "the need to place kids in the care of rented strangers", as well as the idea that the government must improve working conditions for women. The memo was cited in a footnote of the now-infamous torture memo authored by Judge Jay Bybee, who was then the assistant attorney general.

The Bybee memo, as the paper that references Ho's work is known, is public, but Ho's paper itself is not.

"It's a memo subject to attorney/client privilege", said Ho, explaining that he was not the one who had made that determination. Willett also worked at the Justice Department and the Texas attorney general's office before taking a seat on the Texas Supreme Court.

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