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LGBT Organizations Respond to Confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

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“Securing a ‘Political Win’ Was More Important Than Safeguarding the Rights of Millions of Americans”

Judge Neil Gorsuch on Monday will be sworn is as Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Supreme Court. Republicans in the Senate confirmed the Colorado judge late Friday morning, after changing the 60 vote rule to a simple majority. The final vote was 54-45.

Gorsuch, given his history, is expected to be very bad for LGBT people’s civil rights, for women, and minorities, across a wide spectrum of issues.

Here’s how LGBT organizations are responding to today’s news:

GLAD Executive Director Janson Wu:

“Today, our message to Justice Gorsuch is this: you have accepted a serious responsibility. Your job is to ensure that our laws respect the rights of all Americans – rights that are guaranteed and protected by our Constitution.

“Justice Gorsuch’s confirmation doesn’t change what we do here at GLAD: we will continue to use the law to fight for the rights of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV everywhere. And we will fight any and all attempts to turn back fundamental Constitutional rights, especially for the most vulnerable.

“And we have every right to expect our Supreme Court justices, like all judges, to take their responsibility seriously, and apply the law equally and fairly.

“From protections for people with HIV to queer youth, from transgender rights to marriage equality, from family protections to employment non-discrimination -we know that when our community stands together and makes the case, we win.

“And when we are before the Supreme Court again, we will argue what we know to be true: our U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection and liberty for all.”

PFLAG Interim Executive Director Elizabeth Kohm:

“We remain concerned that Judge Gorsuch will now have a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. We thank our friend Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for his heroic efforts to elevate Judge Gorsuch’s longtime opposition to discrimination protections, which are so crucial to the wellbeing and safety of LGBTQ people and other similarly marginalized communities. PFLAGers everywhere will continue to educate about the real impact of decisions made in the judicial branch of government. Additionally, we will continue to participate in amicus briefs to the court to raise the unique and crucial family and ally voice by sharing the real stories of harm done to our LGBTQ loved ones.”

GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis: 

“Republicans in the Senate just destroyed a steadfast American tradition for the purpose of confirming a person to the U.S. Supreme Court who will most certainly vote in opposition to the safety and well-being of the LGBTQ community and many marginalized groups for his entire career on the bench. With his history of siding against transgender Americans and arguing against marriage equality, Neil Gorsuch is yet another reprehensible pawn in the Trump Administration’s goal of erasing the LGBTQ community from the fabric of America.”

National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.:

To change the rules to ram through a Supreme Court nominee too extreme to garner 60 votes undermines the Senate’s historical role as a deliberative body. And with today’s appointment, Senate Republicans have jeopardized the core constitutional rights of millions of Americans.

“As veterans of the marriage equality fight, we understand how profoundly Supreme Court rulings can affect our daily lives. Judge Gorsuch’s record on some of our most fundamental constitutional freedoms—such as the right to privacy, equality under the law, and access to reproductive health care—is dangerous, troubling, and miles behind where we are today. We must not allow these critical freedoms to be lost or undone. In the wake of this disappointment, we join with millions of other Americans in renewing our commitment to a vision of this country and of our Constitution that looks forward, not back, and that promises freedom and equality for all.”

Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur:

“The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the vote to eliminate longstanding Senate filibuster rules place the civil rights of every LGBT American at risk.

“Gorsuch’s opinion in the Hobby Lobby case embraced the use of religious exemptions, which opponents of LGBT equality across the country are attempting to use to gut hard-won LGBT civil rights protections. Gorsuch’s legal philosophy is far to the right of most Americans who believe in a woman’s right to vote or to reproductive freedom, a separation of church and state, equal protection, marriage equality for same-sex couples or civil rights protections for vulnerable communities. At a time when the LGBT community is facing a wave of laws across the country making it permissible to discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds, the stakes are higher than ever.

“In addition, with their invocation yesterday of the so-called ‘nuclear option’ to eliminate filibuster rules that have provided important limits on partisan extremism, Senate Republicans have sacrificed bipartisanship and the checks and balances on which our country was founded. Republican leaders have done away with a 200-year-old Senate institution to place a jurist on the Court who could not win sufficient votes to meet the Senate’s historic standard of 60 votes for confirmation because of his extreme views. We are especially disappointed in moderate and purple-state GOP senators who helped undermine our democracy and LGBT civil rights with their vote, in blind allegiance to Donald Trump’s agenda. These include Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and we plan to work with colleague organizations to hold them accountable to the best of our ability. This is a sad day for the LGBT community and for our country.”

Lambda Legal Director of Strategy Sharon McGowan:

“The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it does not bend itself.

“When Judge Gorsuch was nominated in January, many people predicted that he would easily secure the 60 votes necessary for confirmation. We dispelled the #AlternativeFacts being peddled about Judge Gorsuch by working with progressive allies to expose his antigay, anti-trans, anti-woman, anti-choice and anti-worker agenda.

“While it is disappointing to have lost this particular fight, there is no longer any real debate over what kind of nominee President Trump put forth. And there is no longer any doubt that, to certain folks in Washington, securing a “political win” was more important than safeguarding the rights of millions of Americans.

“So it’s okay to be angry, sad, frustrated and disappointed. I am too. But know this:

“Lambda Legal was there. The voice of our community was heard. We made a difference.

“And we won’t stop. #WeObject

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Image by Ted Eytan via Flickr and a CC license

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Nikki Haley Continues Her IVF Evolution With Yet Another Policy Position 

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Nikki Haley is now on her fourth in-vitro fertilization (IVF) policy position. In a period of less than two weeks the trailing Republican presidential candidate has gone from saying embryos are “babies,” to distancing herself from the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that claims embryos are “children,” to saying she supports IVF but it’s an issue for the states, to calling for federal protections for IVF.

After the extreme Alabama Supreme Court ruling that declared human embryos to be “children,” the former Trump UN Ambassador quickly announced she agreed that embryos are “babies.”

“When you talk about an embryo, you are talking about, to me, that’s a life. And so I do see where that’s coming from when they talk about that,” Haley had said.

But public sentiment runs strongly against the Alabama Court’s February 16 ruling and Haley’s concurrence February 21.

Haley, who is trailing Trump in the polls by strong double digits, pulled back from aligning herself with the toxic Alabama decision.

RELATED: Republicans Kill Bill to Protect IVF After Claiming They Fully Support It

“Well first off all, this is, again, I didn’t say that I agreed with the Alabama ruling. The question that I was asked is, ‘Do I believe an embryo is a baby?’” Haley told CNN, as The New Republic reported. “I do think that if you look in the definition, an embryo is considered an unborn baby. And so yes, I believe, from my stance, that that is.”

That appears to not have been sufficient, because she quickly switched her stance yet again.

“We don’t want fertility treatment to shut down, we don’t want them to stop doing IVF treatment, we don’t want them to stop doing artificial insemination,” said Haley, again to CNN, on February 22. “But I think this needs to be decided by the people in every state. Don’t take away the rights of these physicians and these parents to have these conversations.”

And now, another switch.

“We don’t need government getting involved in an issue where we don’t have a problem,” she told CNN’s Dana Bash on Friday. “We don’t have a problem with IVF facilities. If you have a certain case, let that case play out the way it’s supposed to but don’t create issues and that’s what I feel like it’s happened with this.”

READ MORE: ‘Trump’s Lawyers Got It Dead Wrong’: Espionage Act Trial Will Not Be Stalled by DOJ Rule

But there is a problem, and it was caused by Republicans. Specifically, by the Dobbs case and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Alabama Supreme Court majority opinion mentioned Dobbs over a dozen times.

“I think we want IVF to be as accessible as possible to parents who are wanting those blessings of having a baby,” she also said Friday, adding a religious element to her remarks. “I don’t know the details of any of the bills, so I can’t weigh to that. But what I can tell you is, we don’t want to take that away from parents who desperately want to have a child.”

“Michael and I got our children from fertility processes. We need to make sure that those are available, that they’re protected, that it’s personal, and that the whole situation is dealt with respect,” she added, echoing pro-choice concepts while applying them to IVF.

Asked, “should there be a federal protection” for IVF, “or do you think it should be left to the states?” Haley replied: “Well, I think there should be federal protection that we allow for IVF places to be able to function.”

She added, “I think that the people need to decide if they want to get into the details of it or not. It’s the same thing of, do they want to decide, you know, exactly how many embryos or anything like that. I hope they don’t get into that. I want to see that decision between the parents and the doctors. But I think the only thing that the federal government should do is make sure that IVF places are protected and available.”

Professor of law Joyce Vance said recently, “It’s pretty simple. If life begins at conception, IVF is off the table. If you make an exception for IVF then we’re just having a conversation about who you’re willing to make exceptions for.”

Watch the video above or at this link.

READ MORE: Tuberville: Secure the Border Because Immigrants ‘Know Nothing About God’

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‘Trump’s Lawyers Got It Dead Wrong’: Espionage Act Trial Will Not Be Stalled by DOJ Rule

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Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of Donald Trump in the Espionage Act case, which will be tried in Florida, will not be stalled by the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s policy on not taking certain actions 60 days before an election. The case, often referred to as the classified documents case, includes 31 charges under the Espionage Act.

MSNBC legal analyst and contributor Katie Phang Friday afternoon reports on the “BIG news out of Ft. Pierce.”

“The DOJ advises Judge Cannon that the ’60-day rule’ does NOT apply in Trump’s case as he has already been indicted & the case is already being litigated,” Phang writes. “So, no reason to delay taking him to trial, even with elections in November.”

Phang notes professor of law and her fellow MSNBC contributor Joyce Vance has been making that point.

“Read the policy for yourself,” Vance added Friday. “it doesn’t apply after a case is indicted, when the judge, not DOJ, is in charge of the schedule. Trump’s lawyers got it dead wrong.”

Vance points to her own Substack newsletter’s commentary, where she explains: “At the start of his filing, Trump tries to invoke DOJ policy as a justification for not having a trial this year. But he gets the analysis dead wrong. Trump tries to claim the protection of a DOJ policy against interfering in elections—a huge irony in light of Trump’s efforts to corrupt DOJ after the 2020 election and get the Justice Department to legitimize his false election fraud claims.”

READ MORE: Trump Swore Under Oath He Had $400 Million in Cash – Now He’s Telling a Court a Different Story

“Trump argues that ‘Given President Trump’s status as the presumptive Republican nominee and President Biden’s chief political rival, a trial this year would also violate Justice Manual § 9-85.500, which applies to the Special Counsel’s Office, and prohibits ‘Actions that May Have an Impact on an Election.’ ‘”

“The provision Trump references reads as follows: ‘Federal prosecutors and agents may never select the timing of any action, including investigative steps, criminal charges, or statements, for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party,'” Vance notes.

She adds that the timing of a trial is controlled by a judge, not the DOJ.

READ MORE: ‘Injustice’: Experts Condemn Supreme Court’s ‘Fundamentally Corrupt’ Trump Decision

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Tuberville: Secure the Border Because Immigrants ‘Know Nothing About God’

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U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville says America must put God back into the country and the government, and right now the government isn’t honoring our “Judo” Christian values. The Alabama freshman Republican, a Christian nationalist, also says God cannot be put back into this nation currently because immigrants, who “know nothing about God,” are crossing the southern border illegally.

Sen. Tuberville is also calling for massive cuts to the federal government, saying only the “mentally unhealthy,” “elderly,” “veterans,” and “farmers” should be eligible for financial support from the government.

Tuberville told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that “the federal government is not here to take care of every person in this country. We have to take care of the mentally healthy, mentally – mentally unhealthy. We have to take care of our elderly, our veterans. Everybody else needs to go get a job. They need to get off that couch. We’re paying so many people. Maria, we have turned into so much of a socialist country headed to communism.”

He insisted there is no “free speech” in America. “They’re taking all of our rights away.”

READ MORE: Bartiromo Blasts Biden Administration for Encouraging Americans to Register to Vote

“We need to ask God for help, our country needs help,” Tuberville said in a separate interview. “We’re in a tough situation right now. I’m right here in the middle of it. I get to see it every day.”

“We live in a constitutional republic that’s trying to do things without our Judo-Christian [sic] values. And that’s how this country was built. And we got to get back to that. If we don’t, we won’t make it,” Tuberville claimed.

“The biggest thing right now I will tell you is what’s going on at our southern border. When you’ve got a country without borders, you don’t have a country. And it goes back to one thing: God is not in this building. We’ve got to get God back in this building and we’re gonna get God back in our country. We’ve got to get the God back in the nuclear family. We have to get moral values back into our country. And you can’t do that when you have a million people every couple of months come into this country that know nothing about God, that know nothing about our laws and constitution.”

Back in October, Tuberville said European countries have been “lost” to “immigration” as he praised Christian nationalist authoritarian Viktor Orbán of Hungary. Tuberville has a history of promoting white nationalism and has said he sees a white nationalist as a “Trump Republican.” The Senator also declared immigrants “don’t assimilate,” and are “globalists” who “don’t go by the laws.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Jaw Dropping’: Democratic Senator Slams Tuberville’s ‘Open’ Talk About ‘White Supremacy’

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