Ted Cruz grills Biden judicial nominee over ordering male rapist, child pornographer to serve time in women's prison

"And you know what you did? You said you didn't care about the women.”


During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Louisiana Senator John Kennedy questioned a Biden judicial nominee for her recommendation that a male convict be housed with female inmates in federal prison because he identified as female.

The convict in question, William McClain, who goes by July Justine Shelby, was incarcerated after being convicted of molesting a 9-year-old boy and raping a 17-year-old girl. He was also charged with distributing child pornography to sex offenders, according to Fox News.

US Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn, a Biden judicial nominee for the US District Court, recommended that Shelby be transferred to the female prison despite these previous convictions. Shelby identified as male when he committed his crimes and only later decided to transition to appear as a woman.

Senator Kennedy initiated the questioning of Netburn by highlighting the severity of Shelby's crimes and the controversial nature of the recommendation.

"Miss Shelby said 'I don't want to go to a male prison. I want to go to a female prison,'" Kennedy began. "And the Board of Prisons said 'What planet did you parachute in from? You're going to a male prison with this kind of record.' And you sent him to a female prison, did you? You said that the Board of Prisons was trying to violate Ms Shelby, former Mr. McClain's, constitutional right, didn't you?"

Judge Netburn responded, explaining her rationale.

"I issued a report and recommendation to the district judge recommending that the district judge transfer the petitioner to a women's facility," Netburn said. "My recommendation was that the petitioner's serious medical needs were being denied by keeping her in a men's facility,"

Following Netburn's recommendation, a US District Judge ordered the Bureau of Prisons to transfer Shelby to a female facility "as soon as possible."

Senator Cruz then pressed Netburn on Shelby's physical characteristics and the implications for other inmates.

"And this individual. Six-foot-two, biologically a man. A minute ago you said that when this man decided that he was a she, that you said this individual was quote, I wrote it down, ‘sober and entirely a female,’" he said. "That phrase struck me as as remarkable. Did this individual have male genitalia?"

“Sorry, what I meant to say was hormonally a female," Netbrun responded, then admitted that Shelby had male genitalia.

Cruz challenged further, focusing on the safety concerns for female inmates.

"So you took a six-foot-two serial rapist. Serial child rapist with male genitalia," Cruz continued. "And he said, you know, I'd like to be in a women's prison. And your answer was, ‘That sounds great to me.’ Let me ask you something. The other women in that prison, do they have any rights? Do they have the right not to have a six-foot-two man who is a repeat serial rapist put in as their cellmate?"

Judge Netburn defended her decision, replying, “Senator Cruz, I consider the facts presented to me, and I reached a decision.” She also said everyone incarcerated has a right “to be safe in their space.”

Following Netburn’s responses, Cruz accused her of being a political activist.

"This is not a judge's order," Cruz said. "This is a political activist, by the way.”

"What I'm saying right now, that if you put this person in a female prison, there will be a risk of sexual assault to the women. And you know what you did? You said you didn't care about the women.”

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