Legislative Letters

Re: Oppose the judicial nomination of Daniel Collins to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

May 20, 2019

Dear Senator,


The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) believes our earth is worth fighting for because everyone has a right to clean air, water, lands, and a safe, healthy community. Each year, LCV publishes the National Environmental Scorecard, which details the voting records of members of Congress on environmental legislation. The Scorecard is distributed to LCV members, concerned voters nationwide, and the media.


We urge you to oppose the judicial nomination of Daniel Collins to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Collins’ extensive record shielding the fossil fuel industry from accountability for polluting our communities raises serious concerns about his ability to rule fairly on cases involving our environment.


Collins has spent years working to protect the oil and gas industry against lawsuits challenging its harmful practices. He defended Occidental Petroleum and sought to dismiss a claim brought by indigenous Peruvians after the company spent over thirty years spilling oil and dumping toxic waste on their lands and contaminating waterways. In his representation of the oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell, Collins repeatedly defended against lawsuits to hold the corporation liable for their role in contributing to climate change. This record is of particular concern given his nomination to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers nearly three-quarters of the United States’ public lands and serves a critical role in deciding some of our nation’s most important environmental cases.


LCV is committed to racial justice and equity, and Collins has taken extreme stances on criminal justice and human rights that run contrary to those principles. Collins suggested that prosecutors should be allowed to dismiss jurors based purely on their race, and defended police practices that disproportionately target communities of color. He has also frequently represented corporations in lawsuits over their involvement in extensive human rights violations, including child slavery, bombing of villages, and profiting from the holocaust.


In addition, President Trump nominated Collins without meaningfully consulting either home-state senator, California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, and Senate Republican leadership is moving forward with the nomination over the objections of both members. The decision to move forward with this nomination is damaging both to the integrity of the courts and the Senate.


Collins’ nomination is part of a disturbing pattern by the Trump Administration to nominate judicial appointments without a rigorous process to ensure we have qualified, non-ideological nominees for these lifetime appointments. The administration should work with Senators Feinstein and Harris to find a consensus candidate to serve fairly and impartially on the court.


For these reasons, LCV strongly urges you to oppose the judicial nomination of Daniel Collins to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. We will consider including this confirmation vote in the 2019 Scorecard. If you need more information, please call my office at (202) 785-8683 and ask to speak with a member of our government relations team.




Gene Karpinski