The Senate confirmed Sarah E. Pitlyk, a former clerk to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh when he was on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, to a federal district judgeship in Missouri over protests from progressives who claimed she would roll back women’s reproductive rights.
Ms. Pitlyk, who has served as legal counsel for the Thomas More Society, a pro-life legal group, was confirmed 49-44 Wednesday.
Liberal advocacy groups had claimed Ms. Pitlyk was hostile toward reproductive rights, saying she had defended six-week abortion bans and fought to limit access to contraceptives.
But Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, said her “strong legal experience” makes her a perfect choice for the federal bench in the Eastern District of Missouri.
“I was proud to recommend her to President Trump, and I am confident that she will serve the people of Missouri as a principled and fair judge for decades to come,” Mr. Hawley said.
The pick lost the support of Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, who said she was worried Ms. Pitlyk would not set aside her personal views on abortion.
Conservative advocacy groups such as the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and Susan B. Anthony List had sent letters out to senators this week, pushing for her confirmation.
She’s been applauded by conservatives for representing David Daleiden, who uncovered Planned Parenthood’s alleged sales of fetal tissue through undercover videos.
“Her history of public service in defense of the First Amendment should be to Ms. Pitlyk’s credit, not used against her,” said the letter sent by Family Research Council.
Ms. Pitlyk was one of five district judges confirmed Wednesday.
Since taking office President Trump has had more than 116 district judges appointed, 48 circuit court appointments and two justices placed on the Supreme Court.
• Ryan Lovelace contributed to this story.
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