In a tumultuous confirmation hearing, Judge Sarah Netburn, Joe Biden’s nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, sparked intense scrutiny for her decision to transfer a transgender sex offender to a women’s prison.

Bypassing the recommendation of the Bureau of Prisons, Judge Netburn ordered the relocation of July Justine Shelby, previously known as William McClain, to a women’s prison. Republicans at the hearing labeled Judge Netburn as a political activist and accused her of manipulating the Constitution to endorse the transfer, putting vulnerable women at risk.

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Senator John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, vehemently criticized Judge Netburn’s decision, challenging her reasoning and questioning the safety of the women in the prison. He cited the Bureau of Prisons’ concerns that moving the transgender inmate to a women’s facility could violate the rights of female prisoners.

Judge Netburn’s path to confirmation now rests on a Senate committee vote, with no schedule announced yet. If she clears this hurdle, she will then face a Senate floor vote. However, losing the support of the entire GOP would require at least 50 Democrats, including those vulnerable swing-state Democrats up for reelection, to back her nomination.

The situation places pivotal Democrats from battleground states, such as Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana, in a difficult position. They will be held responsible by voters for supporting a nominee who advocates for the rights of a transgender inmate at the expense of ensuring the safety of women in correctional facilities.

May Mailman, director of the Independent Women’s Law Center, emphasized the need for voters to hold these politicians accountable and criticized Judge Netburn’s argument that the Constitution obligated men to be housed with women.

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As of 2023, the Federal Bureau of Prisons currently holds over 1,400 transgender women prisoners, including many convicted of serious sexual offenses and classified as “high-security” risks. The Biden regime’s policy allows the case-by-case transfer of transgender women to women’s prisons, based on considerations of health, safety, management, and security.

In this particular case, the prisoner, who had served time for rape, child molestation, and the distribution of child sexual abuse images, claimed to be in danger at a men’s prison. The Bureau of Prisons repeatedly denied the prisoner’s transfer request to a women’s facility, expressing concerns about traumatizing other inmates and compromising their safety.

However, Judge Netburn dismissed the Bureau’s concerns as unfounded, labeling them as fear-driven without sufficient evidence. She argued that the prisoner hadn’t assaulted anyone in years, had participated in a sex offender treatment program, and faced risks living as a transgender woman in a men’s prison.

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Following her ruling, the prisoner was transferred to the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, a federal correctional facility for women in Fort Worth, Texas.

At the confirmation hearing, Republicans raised questions about how Judge Netburn balanced inmate safety and rights against her support for the transgender prisoner. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas confronted Judge Netburn about her decision to allow a serial rapist with male genitalia to be housed in a women’s prison, stressing the impact on the rights of the other women incarcerated there.

Judge Netburn maintained that she carefully considered the presented facts before reaching her decision.

The Senate committee is set to deliberate on Judge Netburn’s confirmation and determine her fate as a nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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