LGBTQ advocates say Trump’s short list of Supreme Court is ‘terrible’


President Donald Trump on Wednesday added 20 additional names to the list of potential candidates for the Supreme Court, and the list – which includes sitting judges and US senators – immediately criticized LGBTQ advocacy groups.

Lambda Legal’s legal director, Sharon McCowan, said, “This list is catching up with people who have concerns about LGBTQ and anti-civil rights records, which may be ineligible for any judicial candidate.” One statement marked several potential candidates as “menacing, supernatural thoughts”.

The human rights campaign of the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group has called 20 names a “wish list” from conservative groups that hold a record of hostility to progress, tolerance and equality.

“If the past is a preamble, it can once again nominate people who would be deprived of legal protections for LGBTQ people, removing the health care provided by the Affordable Care Act, the fundamental right to vote Will reduce, abolish core rights laws, and fail. LGBTQ values ​​the life, needs and constitutional rights of the community, “Alfonso David, the group’s president, said in a statement.

Asked whether the names on the shortlist were anti-LGBTQ, the White House widely defended the president’s record on judicial appointments.

White House spokesman Jude Deere told NBC News in an email, “President Trump has an unrivaled record of judges who believe in enforcing the constitution in writing, which is not a statute off the bench.” “Once again, the President is being transparent with the American people about the qualifications he considers paramount and which he would consider for a seat in the High Court to ensure that this extraordinary nation is governed by the rule of law. Continues to be made for. “

The qualifications that were mentioned with the President’s additional list of potential High Court claimants included a commitment to “protect life,” “protect religious freedom,” “protect the Second Amendment,” and “protect our borders.” Is included.

New shortlist names

McGowan said Trump’s sheer number of people on his list of more than 40 potential Supreme Court justices “whose records suffer from LGBTQ bias are both staggering and horrific.”

Among the newly added names is Noel Francisco, who served as US Solicitor General from 2017 until earlier this year. McGowan said the Trump-appointee removed the “LGBTQ agenda” in a role that included briefly submitting to a Supreme Court saying that gay workers are not protected by federal civil rights law.

Also on the list is Lawrence van Dyke, who currently sits on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing after confirmation of his 9th Circuit last year, Van Dyke shed tears when confronted with a derogatory letter from the American Bar Association that deemed him “not worthy” and justified LGBTQ litigants Questioned his ability to cure. As the Attorney General of Montana, a role he held from 2013 to 2014, Van Dyke argued against same-sex marriage in two cases and allowed photographers to deny marriage services to each other in gay couples Granted.

Another name that has caused “deep concerns” for LGBTQ advocacy groups, including Lambda Legal, is Allison Jones Rushing, who currently serves as a judge in the 4 US US Court of Appeals. One cause for concern is a legal relationship by Alliance appointed by Trump-appointed judge for Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal nonprofit law that the Southern Poverty Law Center approved for its espionage of beliefs such as criminalization of homosexuality, prohibiting transgender people under the law Considered a “hate group”. Access to support of sex-segregated facilities and businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people.

The number of newly added names to Trump’s shortlist – many of which Trump had already appointed in lower courts – are already “living up to the worst expectations” of LGBTQ advocates, according to McGowan.

Stuart Kyle Duncan appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 29, 2017 as a nominee of the US 5th Circuit Court in Washington.C-SPAN

For example, Trump-appointed Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan, who currently sits on the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, gained national attention earlier this year when he refused to use the chosen pronoun of a transgender defendant And rejected the broader concept of gender identity.

“He even went on to say that it was inappropriate for him to refer to a transgender person [preferred] Pronoun, ”McGowan said.

Prior to his 5th Circuit confirmation, Duncan was part of the legal team that represented the Gloucester County School Board of Virginia in its case against transgender high school student Gavin Grimm, who was unable to use the restroom. Gender aligned with identity. And in 2014, he represented Louisiana to uphold the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Another 5th Circuit judge on the shortlist, James Ho, ruled in December against a transgender inmate undergoing gender reunion surgery in prison. McGowan called Ho “one of the highest LGBTQ judges in the court of appeals”.

Some of the most well-known additions to Trump’s shortlist include conservative Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, as well as former US Solicitor General Paul Clement, who argued in favor of the Defense Act . Before the Supreme Court in 2013 on behalf of congressional Republicans.

‘Damage to civil rights’

Less than four years later, Trump confirmed more than 200 judges – two Supreme Courts, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanuagh, and 53 appealed to the courts. In comparison, President Obama confirmed two judges of the Supreme Court and 55 appeals court judges during his entire eight years.

According to Lambda Legal’s 2019 report, eight of the 12 appellate courts – which sit just below the Supreme Court in the judicial hierarchy – now consist of more than 25 percent of Trump’s members.

Several of Trump’s appointments have provoked criticism from gay and civil rights advocates – one of more than 50 Circuit Court judges nominated by Trump since he took office, the report has demonstrated an “anti-LGBTQ bias history” . The report states, “The civil rights of LGBT people are threatened with permanent damage.”

The next appointment to the High Court could shape the future of LGBTQ rights for decades. In June, the Court delivered a landmark ruling for LGBTQ workers, which found that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects them from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. One of Trump’s high courts, Gorsuch, sided with the majority, while Kavanaugh voted against a broad interpretation of Title VII.

“The effect of another anti-LGBTQ nominee in the Supreme Court would be appalling,” McGow said.

The court, currently split 5-4 between conservatives and liberals, will hear a major gay rights case in the fall. In Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, the court will decide whether faith-based child welfare organizations can reject same-sex couples and others they believe violate their religious beliefs.

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