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LGBT, Civil Rights Groups Denounce Trump’s Choice of Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch

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Gorsuch Would Be the Most Conservative Justice on the Bench Except for Clarence Thomas

LGBT and civil rights groups are denouncing the choice of Neil Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. Their concerns are valid. Ranking each of the eight SCOTUS justices from most liberal to most conservative, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight shows Gorsuch would be the most conservative justice on the bench except for Clarence Thomas. In other words, Antonin Scalia was more liberal than Gorsuch is.

FiveThirtyEight senior writer Oliver Roeder posted this graphic to Twitter:

So, what are LGBT and civil rights groups saying?

Human Rights Campaign:

“Since the moment he stepped foot in the Oval Office, President Trump has attacked equality,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “He has signed executive orders that undermine our country’s most cherished values and appointed anti-LGBTQ cabinet nominees who have spent their careers undermining civil rights. And now, he has nominated Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, fulfilling his campaign promise to nominate a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia, one of the most vehemently anti-LGBTQ justices to ever sit on the court who once went so far as to compare gay people to murderers.”

Also via HRC:

Gorsuch has a long and troubling career opposing civil rights, including for LGBTQ people:

  • Gorsuch called marriage equality part of the liberal social agenda, saying, “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom… as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide…”

  • He joined the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, which asserted that  that some private corporations are “people” under federal law and have a right to deny basic healthcare coverage if it violates their religious belief.  This expansive ruling could allow employers to deny transgender employees access to hormone treatment, access to birth control and other crucial health care for LGBTQ people.

  • Hobby Lobby could have negative long-term consequences beyond health care for the LGBTQ community. There are those who are already trying to use the decision to support discrimination against LGBTQ workers.

  • In 2015, Gorsuch joined a ruling against a transgender woman who was denied consistent access to hormone therapy while incarcerated. The ruling dismissed the prisoner’s claims that the denial of care amounted to cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution.

  • He has advocated for eliminating Chevron deference, a critical administrative law doctrine that allows our federal system of regulations to function, which could result in the significant loss protections for LGBTQ people.

GLAAD:

“Neil Gorsuch’s harmful history of discrimination against the LGBTQ community renders him completely unfit to sit on the highest court in the land,” Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO, said in a statement. “He has record of advocating for anti-LGBTQ rhetoric or supporting candidates that are in favor of open discrimination against people and families who simply want to be treated the same as everyone else. Gorsuch’s presence on the Supreme Court will affect the law of the land for generations to come – long after Trump is out of office, and will turn back the clock on equality and acceptance.”

 

Lambda Legal:

First to take a position was Lambda Legal, which noted never before have they opposed a SCOTUS nominee before a confirmation hearing. And they very much oppose Judge Gorsuch, in a statement titled, “Neil Gorsuch Has an Unacceptable, Hostile Record Towards LGBT People.”

“Judge Gorsuch’s opinion in the 10th Circuit Hobby Lobby decision is disqualifying,” said Rachel B. Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal. “The Hobby Lobby decision set a terrible and destructive standard for bosses being allowed to meddle in our sex lives and decide whether or not birth control is covered by the employer’s insurance plan. In Judge Gorsuch’s decision, he calls the inclusion of health coverage that includes birth control – ‘complicity…in the wrongdoing of others.’  Even the Supreme Court, affirming that case, acknowledged how dangerous this line of thinking is: it creates a nation in which some religions are obliged to follow the law and others are not.  Troublingly, Judge Gorsuch does not even see this as a problem.

PFLAG:

“No good has ever come from using religion as a tool to perpetrate divisiveness and harm,” Interim Executive Director Elizabeth Kohm said in a statement on Judge Gorsuch. “PFLAGers are people of faith and cannot support a nominee who seems to pass the new test imposed by the Trump Administration: Will you use the law to provide people a license to discriminate?”

Freedom for All Americans:

“With a record of defending religious liberty at the cost of infringing on individual liberties, Gorsuch’s confirmation could mean the rollback of basic freedoms and crucial protections for vulnerable LGBT people across America,” FAA’s executive director, Matt McTighe said in a statement.

OutServe-SLDN:

“We are dismayed with the actions of the Trump Administration today, in the selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch, of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, to join the United States Supreme Court,” OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Matt Thorn said in a statement. “His record and opinions on the expansion of religious exceptions can be utilized in the marginalization and discrimination towards the LGBT and women’s communities. These opinions should be uniquely disqualifying for an appointment to our nation’s highest court. His judicial record is hostile towards members of the LGBT community, including those that have and continue to selflessly serve this great nation.”

More via Lambda Legal:

A few excerpts from Lambda Legal’s review of Gorsuch’s record:

“Judge Gorsuch has supported religious exemptions from laws based on “complicity”—the belief that adhering to the law makes the objector complicit in the allegedly sinful conduct of others.”

Lambda Legal points to Gorsuch’s opinion in the Hobby Lobby case:

“All of us face the problem of complicity.  All of us must answer for ourselves whether and to what degree we are willing to be involved in the wrongdoing of others.  For some, religion provides an essential source of guidance both about what constitutes wrongful conduct and the degree to which those who assist others in committing wrongful conduct themselves bear moral culpability. . . . Understanding that is the key to understanding this case.”

And they explain why his decision was wrong and dangerous:

Whereas the Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby made concerns about the impact on real people central, Judge Gorsuch did not address the harmful effects of denying access to reproductive healthcare on female employees and dependents. Instead, his sole concern was for the religious objectors who alleged that “ordering their companies to provide insurance coverage for drugs or devices whose use is inconsistent with their faith itself violates their faith, representing a degree of complicity their religion disallows.”

This is a vision of a society where religion prevails over law, and where the concerns of religious parties override the concerns of other citizens. In supporting this vision, Judge Gorsuch’s opinions open the door to all manner of assaults on the civil rights of ordinary citizens – including lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people and everybody living with HIV.

 

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THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS

‘None Whatsoever’: US Diplomat Burns to the Ground Trump Lie That Joe Biden’s Actions Are ‘Corrupt’

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President Donald Trump’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, George Kent, in bombshell testimony Wednesday destroyed the president’s lie that Joe Biden’s actions, especially toward Ukraine, are “corrupt.”

Asked if there any factual basis to support Trump’s allegations, Kent replied: “None whatsoever.”

Watch:

 

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THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS

Taylor Staffer Overheard Trump Impatiently Asking Sondland About ‘The Investigations’ Day After Infamous July 25 Call

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The acting ambassador to Ukraine said he has learned since his closed-door testimony that President Donald Trump appeared keenly interested in the status of an investigation into Joe Biden by Ukraine.

Bill Taylor, the president’s top diplomat in Ukraine, testified Wednesday that he learned last week from a staffer, after he was deposed in a closed-door hearing, about an incident that took place a day after Trump’s call to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Last Friday, a member of my staff told me of events that occurred on July 26,” Taylor testified.

Taylor was visiting the front of Ukraine’s war with Russia at the time with Kurt Volker, then a special envoy to the country, and a member of the ambassador’s staff accompanied EU ambassador Gordon Sondland to a meeting with Andrey Yermak, an aide to Zelensky.

“Following that meeting, in the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv,” Taylor testified. “The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations.’”

“Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward,” Taylor added.

Taylor’s staff member asked Sondland what the president thought about Ukraine, and the acting ambassador was troubled by his State Department colleague’s response.

“Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for,” Taylor testified. “At the time I gave my deposition on October 22, I was not aware of this information. I am including it here for completeness.”

Taylor said he first reported that new information through the State Department’s legal adviser, and then through attorneys for both House Republicans and Democrats.

 

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TIN FOIL HAT CLUB

Nunes Promotes Debunked Conspiracy Theories: Democrats Colluded With Russia and Are ‘Culpable’ of ‘Malfeasance’ in Ukraine

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Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) in his opening remarks on the first day of public witness testimony in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, charged House Democrats with wholly debunked conspiracy theories. Among them, that Democrats – not Donald Trump – colluded with Russia, and Ukraine, not Russia, attacked the 2016 U.S. elections. Also, that Democrats, not President Trump, committed wrongdoing against Ukraine.

So, Nunes is claiming (falsely) that Democrats both colluded with Ukraine and attacked Ukraine (video below.)

“Democrats have a long habit of accusing Republicans of offenses they, themselves, are committing,” Nunes claimed. “For years they accused the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia when they themselves were colluding with Russia by funding and spreading the Steele Dossier that relied on Russian sources. And now they accuse President Trump of malfeasance in Ukraine, when they, themselves, are culpable. The Democrats cooperated in Ukrainian election meddling,” Nunes charged.

Literally every word is a lie.

Remember that the U.S. Intelligence Community unanimously decreed that Russia attacked the 2016 U.S  elections. That fact was once again proven during the Mueller investigation, and in the Mueller Report. There is literally zero proof of Nunes’ claims.

Nunes, who may be best remembered for his dramatic dark of night visit to the White House in 2017, where he was given information by the Trump administration only to claim it was from a secret source. That information was falsely framed to suggest (wrongly) the Obama administration had illegally investigated the Trump campaign.

Watch:

 

 

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