Trump Packed Courts With Anti-LGBTQ Judges, New Report Finds

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday January 6, 2021

Trump Packed Courts With Anti-LGBTQ Judges, New Report Finds
  (Source:EDGE Media Library)

A new report by Lambda Legal shows that the Trump administration has packed the courts with anti-LGBTQ judges over the last four years, according to NBC News.

According to the report "Courts, Confirmations & Consequences," approximately 40 percent of Trump appointees have opposed same-sex marriage, protecting business owners' right to deny service on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and non-conformity, supported the implementation of a transgender ban in the military, and other acts of anti-LGBTQ bias.

Kevin Jennings, CEO of Lambda Legal, said in a statement:

"While Donald Trump's presidency may be coming to end, his devastating impact on our federal courts will take decades to reverse. When the basic human rights of LGBTQ+ Americans are so often challenged in court, we cannot accept a judiciary stacked with judges who would disenfranchise these vulnerable groups."

The report also addresses the fact that the current President seated has quickly seated 54 in his four year term, whereas only 55 were confirmed during President Obama's eight years in the White House.

Of Trump's 57 federal appellate nominees, 22 hold anti-LGBTQ records and were opposed by Lambda Legal; three received lifetime appointments last year. Among those judges are Andrew Brasher, Cory Wilson, and Justin Walker.

Brasher, appointed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, once said same-sex marriage is "harmful to children." He also claimed a New Mexico photographer was within her right to deny service to a gay couple getting married, saying her involvement would signal "approval, validation, and celebration of the ceremony."

Sasha Buchert, senior attorney with Lambda Legal, said "Judge Brasher's record to undermine the rights of LGBTQ people and years of advocacy to suppress voting rights should not have been rewarded with the lifetime promotion that he just received from Republicans in the U.S. Senate."

Wilson, appointed to the 5th circuit court, holds equally as discriminatory views on same-sex marriage and refusal of service by businesses, reducing marriage equality to "[pandering] to liberal interest groups" and saying state employees and — more startlingly — healthcare providers should be able to refuse serving LGBTQ people because of "deeply held religious beliefs or moral objections."

Walker, appointed to the D.C. circuit court, ruled in favor of a Christian wedding photographer in Louisville, Kentucky who advertised she only works heterosexual weddings — despite the city's Fairness Ordinance, which prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In a 27-page opinion, Walker said "America is wide enough for those who applaud same-sex marriage and those who refuse to. The Constitution does not require a choice between gay rights and freedom of speech. It demands both."

These judges, and others appointed by Trump, point to the odd lip service the President has paid to, while actively working against, the LGBTQ community. Trump appointees make up approximately a third of the 179 circuit court judges, while 174 of the 664 — nearly a third — are federal district court judges.

As the report explains, "Circuit court judges exert tremendous influence in shaping our nation's laws and have a profound impact on the everyday lives of Americans."

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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