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Republicans Just Confirmed a 37 Year Old Who Worked for an Anti-LGBT Hate Group to Become a Federal Judge for Life

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At 37-years old Allison Jones Rushing was just confirmed to become the youngest judge on the federal bench. A lifetime appointment, she will sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and based on her age she will be a federal judge for decades, as HuffPost just reported.

Rushing clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and interned for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is listed as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In case there’s any question if her personal beliefs align with the ADF’s, she has said she believes there are “moral and practical” reasons for not just opposing marriage equality, but for banning the marriages of same-sex couples.

Senate Republicans on Tuesday pushed through her confirmation, voting 53-44. Every Republican voted for her. Every Democrat voted against her, as Huffpost’s Jennifer Bendery noted.

“She has practiced law for nine years. How many cases has she tried to verdict or judgment? Four. Has she been the lead attorney on any of those cases? No,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who serves as the Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution. “That is the most scant, weakest legal resume imaginable for someone who’s seeking a lifetime appointment to the second-highest court of the land.”

Senator Durbin made his criticisms known on Monday when the Senate advanced her nomination.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wasted no time in moving her nomination forward. Rushing becomes President Trump’s 32nd circuit court nominee to be confirmed. That’s a lot of judges.

“Trump is appointing and Senate Republicans are confirming young, conservative, anti-black, anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ judicial nominees, like 37-year-old Allison Jones Rushing, who could remain on the federal bench and block new progressive laws for decades,” CNN’s Keith Boykin noted on Twitter.

The National Center for Transgender Equality’s Gillian Branstetter wrote last year that “Rushing has built her short career on promoting homophobic and transphobic prejudice, siding with dogmatic ideologues over the rights of everyday citizens.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom, Branstetter adds, “lead the fight to criminalize LGBTQ people’s existence in countries around the world. including efforts to forcibly sterilize transgender people. They defend the damaging and debunked practice of so-called conversion therapy, which is now banned in 15 states including the District of Columbia,” and “stand by the horrific claim that being transgender is ‘most often’ a result of child abuse.”

The ADF is the conservative Christian legal organization that’s behind the rash of aggrieved anti-LGBT cake bakers and florists who have filed “religious liberty” and “right to discriminate” cases, several of which are making their way through the court system. The Supreme Court in a narrow ruling last year overturned the decision in the case of Colorado cake baker Jack Phillips. ADF has represented Phillips and florist Barronelle Stutzman.

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit oversees North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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Shadowy Right Wing Group One Step Closer to Overturning Arizona City’s New LGBTQ Civil Rights Protections

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A group hiding behind a two-page website that lists no actual persons or physical address has submitted enough signatures to get a repeal of Mesa, Arizona’s new LGBTQ civil rights protections law onto the ballot for the November 2022 election.

According to news reports no one seems to know who founded United for Mesa, a Political Action Committee created days after the Mesa City Council passed the non-discrimination ordinance. The website lists an email address, phone number, and P.O. Box.

“Give the People a Voice,” the website urges, meaning they believe citizens should vote on civil rights, something studies show overwhelmingly ends with the majority voting to deprive the minority of equal rights. It also claims the “Mesa City Council just passed an ordinance WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF MESA RESIDENTS,” which is false. In a representative democracy, citizens elect leaders to make these very decisions for them.

Calling the group “below-the-radar, with no official leaders or posted public meetings,” the East Valley Tribune reported last month that “Unofficial leaders like Barbara R. Parker rallied like-minded troops via Facebook and other outlets.”

“Thank you to every petition signer and gatherer who helped save Mesa!” Parker posted Thursday night.

“Thank the Lord! I have never seen so many people working so hard to get signatures,” wrote Paula Smith in a comment to Parker’s post. “It’s been amazing! I’m so thankful everyone’s hard work paid off!”

“Thank you everyone for going the extra distance, so we may all have a voice in such an important decision,” added Charmon Puhlmann, a bus driver for Mesa Public Schools.

Political consultant George Khalaf’s firm, The Arizona Republic reports, “is leading the referendum effort against the ordinance,” but it does not mention what, if any, relationship he has with United for Mesa.

Last year the Arizona Capitol Times reported Khalaf was a political consultant to Republican state Representative Nancy Barto, in an article discussing an anti-transgender bill.

An email to United for Mesa did not receive a response by press time.

 

 

 

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Florida One Step Closer to Banning Trans Girls From Sports With Bill Providing for ‘Reproductive Anatomy’ Examination

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Florida House Republicans have passed legislation that bans transgender girls from participating in girl’s sports, and allows anyone to dispute a student’s gender, which would legally result in an examination of “student’s reproductive anatomy.”

HB 1475, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” passed along party lines in a 70-44 vote, Law & Crime reports.

“Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls may not be open to students of the male sex,” the legislation reads. The intent is to ban transgender girls or women on the “basis of students’ biological sex.”

The bill also says that if there is any “dispute” about a student athletes’ “biological sex,” it “shall be resolved by the student’s school or institution by requesting that the student provide a health examination and consent form or other statement signed by the student’s personal health care provider which must verify the student’s biological sex.”

“The health care provider may verify the student’s biological sex as part of a routine sports physical examination by relying only on one or more of the following: The student’s reproductive anatomy; The student’s genetic makeup; or The student’s normal endogenously produced testosterone levels.”

The legislation does not define “dispute,” who gets to file a dispute, or by what method a dispute should be filed or with what entity, or who has to pay for the exam. It leaves all that up to the State Board of Education.

In theory, a student who didn’t make the team and were to blame anyone who did could file a dispute and force that student athlete to have a genital examination.

House Republicans killed 18 proposed amendments, including one that would have removed the section providing for examination of a student’s reproductive anatomy.

The legislation, sponsored by Republican Rep.. Kaylee Tuck (photo) must now go to the Senate, which also has a 24-16 GOP majority. If it passes, 2024 Republican presidential hopeful, Governor Ron DeSantis, would have to sign it into law.

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AZ Lawmakers Ban Teaching About ‘Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression’ Without Parental Consent

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Lawmakers in the Arizona House and Senate have passed legislation that bans teaching students anything about “sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression” without first getting signed permission from a parent.

That means teaching about, for example, artist and Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci, astronaut Sally Ride, the founder of computer science, Alan Turing, or the late First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt – all of whom were LGBTQ – requires signed consent from a student’s parent.

In addition, sex education, should Republican Governor Doug Ducey sign SB 1456 into law, will also be banned until students reach fifth grade. After that, any teaching about “sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression,” requires “written consent from a student’s parent or guardian.”

The bill is so poorly written that a plain reading of it means that any teaching or discussion of sexual orientation requires advanced consent from the parent. Sexual orientation includes heterosexuality, which means that any teaching about, for example, heterosexual marriages.

The bill updates current law to read: “A public educational institution shall obtain signed, written consent from a student’s parent or guardian before…PROVIDING SEX EDUCATION INSTRUCTION OR INSTRUCTION REGARDING SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY, OR GENDER EXPRESSION TO THE STUDENT. WHEN THE PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION SEEKS CONSENT, IT SHALL AT THE SAME TIME INFORM THE STUDENT’S PARENT OR GUARDIAN OF THE PARENT OR GUARDIAN’S RIGHT TO REVIEW THE INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS AND ACTIVITIES.”

Also requiring written consent: any teaching about HIV/AIDS.

The ACLU says the legislation stigmatizes LGBTQ students:

The bill may be unconstitutional, and likely violates Biden administration policy, meaning the Dept. of Education could sue the state and withhold education funding.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

Image: Eleanor Roosevelt holding poster of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in English), Lake Success, New York. November 1949. Photo by FDR Presidential Library & Museum via Flickr and a CC license

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