Mitch McConnell is About to Give Lifetime Appointments to Three More of Trump's Extreme Nominees

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December 12, 2017
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Photo by: Gage Skidmore

This week, the United States Senate will potentially put three of Donald Trump’s extreme anti-LGBT nominees on the federal bench.

Today, the full chamber will vote on whether to confirm Leonard Steven Grasz to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, who has supported conversion therapy, is opposed to legal protections for LGBT Americans, and views marriage equality as a “threat.”

Ahead of this vote, Lambda Legal organized a letter with 28 other national, state, and local LGBT groups, concluding that “that his views on civil rights issues are fundamentally at odds with the principles of equality, liberty, justice and dignity under the law, particularly with regard to LGBT Americans, and that he will not be able to overcome his personal beliefs when asked to administer fair and impartial justice.”

Later in the week, the full Senate will vote on the nominations of Don Willett and James Ho, both nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Lambda Legal has opposed the nominations of Steven Grasz and Don Willett, and expressed serious concerns regarding the nomination of James Ho.

Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal’s Director of Strategy, issued the following statement:

“This should be an easy decision for any Senator who cares about a fair and impartial judicial system, which is essential to safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable in our country. They must vote no on Steven Grasz. Of the hundreds of judicial nominees rated by the American Bar Association, he is one of the only four to receive a unanimous not qualified rating from the nonpartisan organization because of the concerns about his inability to be impartial in court. Steven Grasz poses a grave threat to the rights of LGBT Americans.

"His record demonstrates that he cannot be trusted with the grave responsibility of a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. We are depending on our Senators to vote no today and stop this dangerous nominee from from infiltrating our judicial system.

“Steven Grasz is not the only dangerous nominee moving forward this week, as Donald Trump and Mike Pence look to reshape the federal bench in their image for generations to come. The Senate is also expected to vote on the nominations of Don Willett and James Ho, both of whom have demonstrated hostility towards the LGBT community while showing a disregard for our rights, our marriages, our weddings, and our very existence.

"Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee is continuing to try to jam through even more of Trump’s dangerous nominees, including Matthew Kacsmaryk, who is expected to appear before the committee on Wednesday. Kacsmaryk has no judicial experience and is an anti-LGBT activist who has a long history of targeting those who do not live according to his personal social and religious beliefs. He also is a colleague of another one of Trump’s anti-LGBT judicial nominees, Jeff Mateer, who has called transgender children a part of ‘Satan’s plan.’

"Enough is enough. Each Senator has a responsibility to all of us to take a stand and not allow our courts to be decimated for years to come.”

Judicial Nominations Schedule for Week of December 11

Tuesday, December 12

  • Following a cloture vote on Monday evening, the full Senate is expected to vote on the nomination of L. Steven Grasz Tuesday morning.
  • There is an anticipated cloture vote on the nomination of Don Willett on Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 13

  • Following an anticipated cloture vote on Tuesday, the full Senate is expected to vote on the nomination of Don Willett on Wednesday.
  • There is an anticipated cloture vote on the nomination of James Ho on Wednesday.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Matthew Kacsmaryk on Wednesday morning.

Thursday, December 14

  • Following an anticipated cloture vote on Wednesday, the full Senate is expected to vote on the nomination of James Ho on Thursday.