Analysis of Trump’s judicial appointments finds nearly 40% of confirmed appellate judges have shown anti-LGBTQ bias
President Donald Trump’s four-year appointments have shown alarming radicalization in federal courts and potentially devastating consequences for LGBTQ people, according to a report released Tuesday.
Since Trump took office in January 2017, Lambda Legal, an organization campaigning for the civil rights of LGBTQ and HIV / AIDS communities, has tracked, documented and analyzed how Trump’s reform of the courts would affect the lives of these groups .
The Trump / Pence administration – ideologically backed by the ultra-conservative organization The Federalist Society and backed by a Senate with a Republican majority – was able to approve and nominate a shocking number of appellate judges who have historically been anti-LGBTQ prejudiced a staggering number of white male judges – all at a rate of judicial endorsement that, according to Lambda Legal, was “faster than any other president in recent history”.
“While Donald Trump’s presidency may come to an end, it will be decades before its devastating effects on our federal courts are reversed,” Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings said in a statement to the Daily News.
“With the basic human rights of LGBTQ + Americans being challenged so often in court, we cannot accept a judiciary made up of judges who disenfranchise these vulnerable groups,” he added.
The report, titled “Courts, Acknowledgments, and Consequences: How Trump Restructured the Federal Judiciary and Ushered in a Climate of Unprecedented Hostility Against LGBTQ + People and Civil Rights,” found that the Trump administration was able to court the courts with ideologically motivated judges pile who will use their lifelong terms to “promote their ultra-conservative political goals through federal court”.
The current administration, backed and encouraged by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, has been able to dramatically change the composition of the courts in the face of public outcry against some of the nominations.
The story goes on
Nearly 40% of Trump-appointed federal appeals judges have “demonstrated hostility towards the LGBTQ + community,” according to the report.
In the past four years, Lambda Legal has vehemently turned down 22 of the 57 circuit court candidates for their anti-LGBTQ record.
One of them, Andrew Brasher, has argued that LGBTQ + parents are not as ideal as “birth parents” for raising children.
“(His) confirmation in the 11th Court of Appeals is the latest blow to LGBT people across the country and a violation of civil rights,” Lambda Legal said in a February 11 statement. “This confirmation in particular threatens civil rights.” For all LGBT people living in the deep south, as Alabama, Florida and Georgia do not have explicit state-level non-discrimination protection. “
Cory Wilson, who was nominated by Trump on May 4th to the 5th Court of Appeals (Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas), supported a law that allows companies to refuse service to LGBTQ and unmarried individuals if they ” sincere “are held religious beliefs” when he served in the Mississippi legislature.
Another example of a Trump officer with a strong anti-LGBTQ bias highlighted in the report is Kyle Duncan.
The Trump-nominated judge with a lifelong appointment to the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit “wrote a statement rejecting allegations made by a transgender litigator, repeatedly and deliberately abusing them.”
According to Lambda Legal, decisions made by circuit court judges have a profound impact on everyday life for Americans.
The US Supreme Court – which has also leaned dramatically and hastily to the right during the current administration – receives around a hundred cases annually. Circuit Courts, on the other hand, receive tens of thousands of appeals each year “which effectively makes them the courts of last resort for the vast majority of litigants”.
About 85% of Trump’s Circuit Court candidates are or have been members of the Federalist Society, which Lambda Legal spoke of as “an activist organization advocating a deeply conservative reading of the Constitution and providing a platform for many anti-LGBTQ + activists opposed marriage equality, fought non-discrimination protection for LGBTQ + workers, and tried to undermine the parental rights of same-sex parents. “
The report also found that nearly 85% of all Circuit Court candidates were white and 80% were men, while none of its Circuit Court candidates were black and only two were Latinx.
Lambda Legal also drew attention to the speed with which judges were confirmed during the Trump administration: in four years there have been 54 confirmations from judges in court, one less than confirmed by the Obama administration in eight years.
That’s almost twice the number of judges sustained during the first term of Presidents Barack Obama, 30 and Bill Clinton, 30, and more than 50% more than the number of appeals court confirmations during their first term President Ronald Reagan, 33, and George W. Bush, 35, according to the analysis.
The report should be viewed as a “call to action” for the upcoming administration, according to Jennings.
“To undo the damage done by the outgoing administration, President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris must pledge to ensure that future candidates respect the dignity of all Americans, including those in the LGBTQ + community “, he added.