Trump Judicial Nominee Mocks Gay Marriage, Racial Diversity, and Justice Kennedy

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Led by Lambda Legal, 40 LGBT Rights Organizations Send Letter Demanding Immediate Withdrawal of Gordon Giampietro’s Nomination
March 21, 2018

You can listen the full audio recordings here and here.

(Washington, DC, March 21, 2018) – Today, Lambda Legal led 40 national, state, and local LGBT organizations in urging the U.S. Senate to reject the nomination of Gordon Giampietro to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and asked the White House to immediately withdraw the nomination.

In a letter to the Senate, the organizations detail multiple disqualifying statements made by Mr. Giampietro where he mocks Justice Anthony Kennedy, ridicules racial diversity, and calls same-sex marriage “an assault on nature…against God’s plan.” BuzzFeed News was first to report the statements that Mr. Giampietro failed to disclose in his application to the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission. Ms. Barbara Quindel, a member of Wisconsin’s bipartisan federal nominating commission who considered his application stated that, had the commission known of these comments during the process, Mr. Giampietro’s name would not have been advanced. Thousands of people from across the country have already called on the White House to withdraw his nomination.

The organizations also explain that, “Mr. Giampietro’s appointment to the bench would cause grave harm to the LGBT community, as well as many other communities who rely on the federal judiciary to administer fair and impartial justice.  Unlike attorneys who seek to claim that they were merely advancing the views of their client, Mr. Giampietro has expended significant personal effort to promote discrimination against LGBT people.  And his false, hateful, and derogatory statements about vulnerable minorities make Mr. Giampietro demonstrably unfit for a job as a federal judge.  More than just a lack of knowledge and temperament, Mr. Giampietro’s comments reveal a level of ideological fervor that is incompatible with judicial service.”

The letter goes on to highlight two key reasons why Mr. Giampietro’s nomination must be withdrawn arguing that, “Mr. Giampietro seems to combine the worst traits of two failed nominees.  Like Jeff Mateer, whose nomination failed to move forward because of his transphobic and homophobic speeches, Mr. Giampietro has repeatedly broadcasted his hostility toward LGBT people and rights.  And like Brett Talley, who failed to disclose relevant information on his Senate questionnaire, Mr. Giampietro failed to disclose key materials on the application he filed with Wisconsin’s Federal Nominating Commission.”

“The American people want judges who are fair-minded constitutionalists and who value equality and justice for all – simple as that,” said Sharon McGowan, Director of Strategy at Lambda Legal. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Mr. Giampietro lacks the credibility and integrity to be an impartial judge and we certainly should not reward him for misleading the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission and the people of Wisconsin. When the White House, Senate Republicans, and the Heritage Foundation put forward nominees like Gordon Giampietro, it amounts to nothing more than a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Mr. Giampietro expressed multiple views about the marriage equality decision in Obergefell v. Hodges during two undisclosed interviews with host Lydia LoCoco. In the July 24th interview, the Mr. Giampietro stated that, “Justice Kennedy went off the rails years ago, in Lawrence against Texas,” and called same-sex marriage “an assault on nature…against God’s plan.” During the July 4th interview, Mr. Giampietro stated that, "This new definition of marriage actually focuses marriage on the sex act. Because if it were simply that we wanted to honor the love of two people, we would allow sons to marry their mothers, brothers to marry their sisters, for example, to get them healthcare. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? Doesn’t society think that would be a great thing, for a sister to get her brother on healthcare?"

In addition, Giampietro has made disturbing comments in blog posts about what he calls a “racial spoils system;” writing about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he claimed that “calls for diversity” are “code for relaxed standards.” He has also said in interviews that he, “grew up next to lawyers, architects and crack dealers…The common denominator [he] saw was that the children who succeeded in Washington, [DC] were in private schools, and the children who turned out to be criminals were in public schools."


The full letter, below, was sent to all members of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday. The full text can be found below and here: https://www.lambdalegal.org/sites/default/files/legal-docs/downloads/final_lgbt_groups_demand_withdrawal_of_gordon_giampietro_nomination.pdf
 
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March 21, 2018
 
To the Honorable Members of the United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
 
RE:     40 LGBT Groups Demand Withdrawal of Gordon Giampietro Nomination
 
Dear Senator:
 
We, the undersigned 40 national, state and local advocacy organizations, representing the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and everyone living with HIV, write to oppose the nomination of Gordon Giampietro to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.  Through his words and actions, Mr. Giampietro has disqualified himself from any position of public trust.  In particular, his brazen contempt for LGBT people renders him unfit for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench.  We urge you to demand that his nomination be withdrawn.
 
Mr. Giampietro seems to combine the worst traits of two previously withdrawn nominees.  Like Jeff Mateer, whose nomination failed to move forward because of his transphobic and homophobic speeches, Mr. Giampietro has repeatedly broadcasted his hostility toward LGBT people and rights.  And like Brett Talley, who failed to disclose relevant information on his Senate questionnaire, Mr. Giampietro withheld key materials on the application he filed with Wisconsin’s Federal Nominating Commission.
 
Mr. Giampietro has repeatedly expressed his animus towards LGBT people.  In a July 2014 radio interview, Mr. Giampietro publicly denigrated marriage equality as “an assault on nature” that would undermine the “very idea of marriage” by reducing marriage to “the sex act.”  Asked if legalizing same-sex marriage would open the door to a brother and sister being married, he replied, “Why not?”  From there, Mr. Giampietro’s remarks turned from repugnant to unhinged as he warned listeners that the federal government could force Americans to have abortions if the Hobby Lobby decision turned out differently than it did.  These comments alone are cause for demanding that his nomination be withdrawn.
 
Mr. Giampietro returned to the radio a month after the Supreme Court recognized a nationwide right to marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges to ridicule the decision and extol the superiority of heterosexual people over same-sex couples and their families.  In this interview, Mr. Giampietro declared that it was “irrefutable” that children are best raised by a heterosexual couple, and described same-sex relationships as “troubled”—despite overwhelming social science evidence and legal precedent to the contrary.  He said: “No one would disagree with the fact that children, all the social science research shows this, are best raised by a man and a woman.  This is natural, this is the truth, and it’s irrefutable.”  These words demonstrate Mr. Giampietro’s categorical disregard for the families of same-sex couples.  The Supreme Court in Obergefell was concerned that “[w]ithout the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, [same-sex couples’] children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser.”  Mr. Giampietro’s public comments are precisely the sort that contribute to the stigma to which Justice Kennedy was referring, and are unbecoming of someone who could find himself in a position of adjudicating the civil rights of the very community he has denigrated.
 
Mr. Giampietro has left no doubt that he would be willing to use the federal bench to curtail LGBT protections.  He has said that the Court’s decision in Obergefell was “worse” than Roe v. Wade “because of the damage it does to civil society,” and characterized it as “an assault on the conscience rights of all Americans.”  Mr. Giampietro also demonstrated his disrespect for judicial precedent and showed he is not a fair-minded constitutionalist when he urged people to “ignore Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion, because it’s not really legal reasoning,” and added that Justice Kennedy “went off the rails years ago” with his 2003 opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down Texas’s sodomy law.  Any suggestion that Mr. Giampietro is committed to following constitutional precedent or dispensing fair and impartial justice is belied by his own words.
 
In addition to our deep concerns over Mr. Giampietro’s vitriolic and incendiary anti-LGBT rhetoric, it is equally troubling that Mr. Giampietro failed to disclose these interviews on the application he submitted to Wisconsin’s Federal Nominating Commission.  Mr. Giampietro also failed to disclose a comment he published stating that “calls for [racial] diversity” are “code for relaxed standards (moral and intellectual).” When pressed by journalists regarding why he omitted these materials, Mr. Giampietro said that he did not include them because he did not see them as relevant or necessary. Ms. Barbara Quindel, a member of Wisconsin’s bipartisan federal nominating commission who considered his application, however, stated that, had the commission known of these comments during the process, Mr. Giampietro’s name would not have been advanced.  Ms. Quindel added that any suggestion that Mr. Giampietro was not obligated to disclose these materials to the commission during the application process seems “preposterous.”
 
Mr. Giampietro’s appointment to the bench would cause grave harm to the LGBT community, as well as many other communities who rely on the federal judiciary to administer fair and impartial justice.  Unlike attorneys who seek to claim that they were merely advancing the views of their client, Mr. Giampietro has expended significant personal effort to promote discrimination against LGBT people.  And his derogatory statements about vulnerable minorities make Mr. Giampietro demonstrably unfit for a job as a federal judge.  More than just a lack of knowledge and temperament, Mr. Giampietro’s comments reveal a level of ideological fervor that is incompatible with judicial service.  We urge you to demand that Mr. Giampietro’s nomination be withdrawn.
 
Thank you for considering our views on this important issue.  Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can provide additional information.  You can reach us through Sharon McGowan, Director of Strategy for Lambda Legal, at smcgowan@lambdalegal.org.
 
Very truly yours,
 
                                
Lambda Legal
American Atheists
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
BiNet USA
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Equality Alabama
Equality California
Equality Federation
Equality North Carolina
Equality Ohio
Equality Pennsylvania
Equality South Dakota
Equality Utah
EqualityMaine
Fair Wisconsin
Family Equality Council
FORGE, Inc.
Freedom for All Americans
FreeState Justice
Georgia Equality
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)
Immigration Equality
Los Angeles LGBT Center
Mazzoni Center
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition for LGBT Health
National Equality Action Team (NEAT)
National LGBTQ Task Force
National Partnership for Women & Families
OutServe – SLDN
People For the American Way
PFLAG National
Pride at Work
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)
Transcend Legal
Transgender Law Center
The Trevor Project
Whitman-Walker Health

 

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Contact Info

Ian Wilhite, Cell: 202-672-4877: Email: iwilhite@lambdalegal.org

Related Issues: Fair Courts Project

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