27 National LGBT Groups Urge Senate to Oppose Confirmations of Hateful Judicial Nominees

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July 17, 2017

Today, Lambda Legal and 26 other national LGBT groups urged the Senate to oppose the confirmations of John K. Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and Damien Schiff to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

The groups cite public statements and writings from both nominees and their repeated demonstration of “contempt for the rights of LGBT Americans, people living with HIV, women, and other vulnerable populations.”

In a letter sent to the full Senate – just days after Bush and Schiff were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on party-line votes – LGBT groups opposed to the confirmations cite not only homophobic epithets and other anti-LGBT and misogynistic remarks made by nominees in their public speeches and writings, but also records that clearly illustrate their “views on civil rights issues are fundamentally at odds with the notion that LGBT people are entitled to equality, liberty, justice and dignity under the law.”

Today’s urging of opposition by the full Senate builds upon a similar letter organized by Lambda Legal on behalf of 16 LGBT groups addressed to Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which also reinforced the LGBT community’s opposition to Bush and Schiff just before they testified before the Committee.

“Their evasive responses to straightforward questions from your colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee only confirmed our assessment that they should never have been nominated — and should not be confirmed — for a lifetime appointment on the federal bench,” the letter sent to the full Senate today stated, referring to the testimony of the nominees before the [Senate Judiciary] Committee. “We wish to call to your attention aspects of their records that illustrate why these nominees are unfit for the bench, and pose a grave threat to the communities that our organizations serve.”  

The letter documents troubling records on behalf of both nominees and explains how these nominees’ particular brand of “originalism” essentially writes LGBT people out of the Constitution in a way that denies them full personhood.