December 20, 2017
BY LYDIA WHEELER
Nearly a third of President Trump’s judicial nominees have records that demonstrate hostility towards the rights of LGBT people, according to a new analysis released Wednesday by Lambda Legal.
The LGBT advocacy group said one-in-three, or 16 of the 59 nominees that Trump has put forth since taking office, have anti-LGBT records, including Leonard Steven Grasz who was recently confirmed to 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Grasz was rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association out of concern that he would be unable to be an impartial judge.
Lambda Legal said Grasz served as the board director of Nebraska Family Alliance, which opposed marriage equality, bans on conversion therapy and anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people.
“We are in the midst of a judicial crisis for LGBT Americans, spurred by Donald Trump’s full-on assault on our rights, our families, and our children,” Sharon McGowan, the group’s director of strategy, said in a statement.
“For decades, the federal courts have arguably been the most important backstop in protecting the rights of those most vulnerable in our country, and each federal judge, each case, and each decision has an impact on an unquantifiable number of Americans. Many of the basic protections that the LGBT community now enjoys — including the freedom to marry and the right to have those marriages respected by even hostile state governments — have been won through litigation in the federal courts.”
Lambda Legal also pointed to Matthew Kacsmaryk, who has been tapped to serve as a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
As deputy general counsel at the First Liberty Institute, Lambda Legal said Kacsmaryk has fought for retailers to have the right to refuse service to same-sex couples and has opposed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) position that sexual orientation and gender identity are covered under workplace anti-discrimination laws.
McGowan slammed the Trump administration and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee for pushing nominees through at a breakneck speed.
“Until recently, the Senate Judiciary has been a total rubber stamp for every one of his nominees, regardless of how horrible their record has been proven, and the Senate has confirmed more of Trump’s nominees to circuit courts than the total number of circuit court judges of all three of his predecessors combined at the same time in their presidency,” she said in a statement.
“This is a terrifying fact because each of these confirmed judges will outlast this administration and have the potential to decimate civil rights in Trump’s vision for generations to come.”