Senators, Representatives and Civil Rights Leaders: Kacsmaryk Is Unfit for Lifetime Appointment as Federal Judge

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Recording of the call is available upon request.
June 18, 2019

(WASHINGTON, DC – June 18, 2019) Today, members of Congress and civil rights leaders held a telephone press briefing in opposition to President Trump’s nomination of Matthew Kacsmaryk to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The Senate is expected to vote on cloture today on Kacsmaryk’s nomination as a lifetime judge.

The call included representatives from some of the 75 LGBTQ and allied groups that sent a letter this week to the Senate urging opposition to Kacsmaryk --making him the most opposed nominee ever by LGBTQ organizations, surpassing even opposition to Brett Kavanaugh.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal:

“In case after case, Matthew Kacsmaryk has taken positions that are abhorrent to accepted American values. His nomination is a betrayal of the basic principle enshrined in our Constitution that everybody is equal before the law, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity. No matter who you are or who you love, you should have equal dignity in the eyes of the law and the government.”

Rep. Joe Kennedy III:

“As this Administration continues an all-out assault on the rights of transgender Americans, we cannot allow that hatred to gain lifetime entry into a justice system grounded in our fundamental promise of equality and liberty. Rejecting Matthew Kacsmaryk’s nomination isn’t about politics, it’s about rejecting an activist judge who will use his personal beliefs to engrain intolerance in his courtroom and our communities.”

Rep. A. Donald McEachin:

“I am deeply troubled by many of the individuals the Trump administration has nominated for appointment to the federal bench. In particular, I am alarmed by the nomination of Matthew Kacsmaryk, who has routinely taken action to oppose LGBTQ equality. Our country cannot risk confirming someone like Matthew Kacsmaryk to a lifetime of service on the federal bench.”

Sharon McGowan, Chief Strategy Officer, and Legal Director, Lambda Legal:

“As we celebrate Pride month and honor the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, it is particularly offensive that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would push for a vote on Matthew Kacsmaryk, a judicial nominee who has dedicated himself personally and professionally to turning back the clock on LGBT rights.  He has championed efforts to undermine essential protections against discrimination for the LGBT community and has disparaged LGBT people, even going so far as to call transgender people ‘delusional.’ Judicial appointments matter and so we call upon Senators from both sides of the aisle to put the Constitution and their constituents ahead of party and politics, and vote no on this nominee.”

Mara Keisling, Executive Director at the National Center for Transgender Equality:

“We’re calling on Senators to defend the core principles of fairness and equal treatment under the law by opposing the nomination of Matthew Kacsmaryk. Transgender people and their families are rightly fearful of what the future holds for their rights, their liberty, and their lives. Each one of them deserves lawmakers who stand up to President Trump and Mitch McConnell as they complicity wages war against transgender people—a war that is already staining our legal system and our country for generations.

Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People for the American Way:

“Matthew Kacsmaryk is a right-wing extremist whose public statements drip with contempt for women and LGBTQ+ people—especially transgender people. His appointment to a lifetime seat on the federal bench would make it impossible for anyone to expect a fair hearing in his courtroom.”

Kristine Lucius, Executive Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:

“Matthew Kacsmaryk is a right-wing extremist who is anti-LGBTQ, anti-women, and anti-health care. He is anti-justice for all,” said “That Senate Republicans chose to bring such a staunch anti-LGBTQ advocate up for a vote during Pride month shows their shame knows no bounds. This may be the Senate Majority’s agenda, but it is appalling and wrong. Senators must have higher standards and we urge all of them to vote no on the Kacsmaryk nomination.”

Daniel Goldberg, Legal Director, Alliance for Justice:

“Matthew Kacsmaryk has devoted his career to fighting equal rights for millions of his fellow Americans. He is one of dozens of Trump judicial nominees who oppose rights for women and LGBTQ Americans, and he has couched his opposition in demeaning and offensive language that betrays his intense hostility. It is clear that women and LGBTQ Americans would not receive equal justice in his courtroom, and he has no place on the federal bench.”

Anisha Singh, Director of Judicial Nominations, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“President Trump’s nominee to the Northern District of Texas Matthew Kacsmaryk has extreme views against reproductive health and rights as well as LGBTQ rights. The role of a federal judge is to be impartial and follow legal precedents, such as well-established precedents affirming the right to safe, legal abortion. Kacsmaryk’s record, which includes disputing the legitimacy of Roe v. Wade, leaves little doubt that he will rule fairly on the issues that would come before him as a federal judge. This nomination is particularly alarming given the state of reproductive health in Texas, where politicians have been relentless in their efforts to restrict access to abortion and block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Planned Parenthood strongly urges Senators to oppose his nomination.”

Sarah McBride, HRC National Press Secretary:

“Matthew Kacsmaryk is among the most anti-LGBTQ judicial nominees put forward by the Trump-Pence administration. He has been vociferous in his opposition to same-sex marriage, legal protections for gender identity and sexual orientation, and the basic humanity of transgender people. To be qualified for the bench, every nominee must demonstrate a commitment to equality under the law. Kacsmaryk fails a basic expectation of impartiality. The Human Rights Campaign will continue to raise the alarm about Kacsmaryk and other nominees who refuse to protect the rights of all Americans.” 

A bipartisan coalition of Senators now opposes the nomination of Kacsmaryk, who has built his career on extreme opposition to any form of legal protections for LGBTQ people, including the Equality Act recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

His professional life has been marked by toxic rhetoric about members of the LGBTQ community: he has called transgender people “problematic,” claimed being transgender is a “delusion,” suggested the LGBTQ rights movement is “typified by lawlessness,” and called for a “long war” against nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.  Given his record, no serious person could expect his courtroom to be a fair one.

Kacsmaryk’s record also includes extreme hostility to reproductive freedom, including his strong criticism of the Supreme Court’s landmark precedent in Roe v. Wade.

In December, over 300 parents and caregivers of transgender youth signed a letter opposing the nomination of Matthew Kacsmaryk, stating, “Confirming Mr. Kacsmaryk as a federal judge would send a damaging and dangerous message that the dignity of children like ours does not count in the courts, or in the U.S. Senate.”


Contact Info

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.

Alliance for Justice is a national association of 130 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society.

The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization based in Washington, DC. NCTE is devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people. Founded in 2003, NCTE facilitates a strong and clear voice for transgender equality in our nation's capital and around the country.

Media Contacts:
Samy Nemir, Lambda Legal, snemir@lambdalegal.org
Shin Inouye, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, inouye@civilrights.org
Martina McLennan, Office of Senator Jeff Merkley, Martina_McLennan@merkley.senate.gov
Maria McElwain, Office of Senator Richard Blumenthal, Maria_McElwain@blumenthal.senate.gov,
Viet Tran, Human Rights Campaign, viet.tran@hrc.org
Derrick Crowe, People For the American Way, media@pfaw.org
Laurie Kinney, Alliance for Justice, laurie@afj.org
Gillian Branstetter, National Center for Transgender Equality, Press@transequality.org

Related Issues: Fair Courts Project