Lambda Legal Brings Together 27 National, State and Local LGBT Organizations to Oppose Anti-LGBT Circuit Court Nominees Eric Murphy & Chad Readler

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October 10, 2018

Lambda Legal brought together 27 national, state and local LGBT civil rights organizations to urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose the confirmations of Eric Murphy and Chad Readler to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a letter delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, the 27 organizations wrote in opposition to these nominees to defend the interests of the approximately 1 million LGBT people living in the states within the Sixth Circuit’s jurisdiction (KY, MI, OH, TN). The letter warns that both Mr. Murphy and Mr. Readler have demonstrated a long-standing hostility toward the equal dignity and civil rights of LGBT people, and cannot be trusted to administer fair and impartial justice. 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has once again insisted on noticing a hearing for another pair of aspiring circuit court judges, despite the objection of home-state Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who has refused to return a ‘blue slip’ for either of these dangerous nominees.  Rather than opting for individuals who could have easily garnered bipartisan support, Senate Republicans are continuing to endorse and enable the divisive tactics of this White House.

As a result, just days after the conclusion of the deeply flawed confirmation process for Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, we are called again to raise our voices in defense of the federal judiciary against the threat posed by Trump nominees.

Eric Murphy, as Solicitor General of Ohio, defended the State of Ohio’s ban on marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges before the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition, his long record of undermining voting rights, including his championing of an Ohio voter suppression scheme, should concern anyone who cares about civil rights and the health of our democracy.

Chad Readler has proven to be at the forefront of almost every anti-civil rights initiative that has emerged out of the Trump administration, including co-signing an amicus brief in support of allowing a Colorado baker to discriminate against a same-sex couple in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission; defending the Trump-Pence administration’s discriminatory ban on military service by transgender people; and spearheading the Department of Justice intervention in Zarda v. Altitude Express in order to argue that the federal ban on sex discrimination in employment in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect workers from sexual orientation discrimination.  Mr. Readler also spearheaded efforts to eliminate the Affordable Care Act's protections for people with preexisting conditions by using his authority to force the DOJ to intervene in support of a legal challenge to those protections, apparently over the objections of at least 3 career DOJ attorneys.  If successful, the lawsuit would strip health care protections from more than 50 million people. Click here to read more.

We urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject these nominations to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, as their confirmation would cause grave harm to LGBT people, as well as to all members of communities who rely on the federal judiciary of the United States to administer fair and impartial justice.