Showing posts with label Anti Gay Judge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anti Gay Judge. Show all posts

June 1, 2020

Lindsey Graham Urges Judges to Retire so that their Places can be Filled before November by GOP Judges

The Guardian

Lindsey Graham urges judges to retire so that their places can be filled before November election

Lindsey Graham, the Republican chair of the Senate judiciary committee, has publicly urged older conservative judges to retire, so their places can be filled before a November election in which the party could lose the White House and its Senate majority.

Graham said the move would help “change the judiciary for several generations”.

Donald Trump made transforming the federal judiciary a key campaign promise in 2016, aiming to appoint more judges than any other president. He has made considerable progress, clinching the confirmations of two supreme court justices and seing a broad transformation of the justice system to conservatism.


“This is an historic opportunity,” Graham told the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday. “We’ve put over 200 federal judges on the bench … If you can get four more years, I mean, it would change the judiciary for several generations.

“So if you’re a circuit judge in your mid-60s, late 60s, you can take senior status, now would be a good time to do that, if you want to make sure the judiciary is right of center.”

Graham added: “So do it now … I need some time.”

McConnell has made the confirmation of new judges a priority, even during the coronavirus pandemic.

Experts agree it would be possible for judges to be confirmed during a lame duck period, meaning the time between Trump losing the presidency to Joe Biden and Democrats retaking the Senate, in November, and the resumption of business in January.

In the supreme court, Trump has appointed Neil Gorsuch, to fill the vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia, and Brett Kavanaugh, to replace the retiring Anthony Kennedy.

The court thereby has a 5-4 conservative majority, with the health of 87-year-old liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg watched keenly from both sides of the aisle.

Hewitt asked Graham if he had any knowledge of a supreme court justice planning to retire this year. No, the senator said, but he added that if a vacancy does arise, filling it before the election “would be the goal”.

McConnell famously refused to replace Scalia with Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s nominee, a moderate, the Senate leader citing contested precedent when claiming vacancies should not be filled in an election year.

McConnell has said no such strictures would apply in what could be Trump’s last year in office.

“We changed the rules for the supreme court [to require a simple majority for confirmation],” Graham said.

“So if a vacancy did occur, and I don’t expect one to, I hope everybody has a long, healthy 2020 on the court … you would see an effort by Republicans, I’m sure, to fill the vacancy.”

January 17, 2020

Trump Newly Appointed Judge Duncan Mistreats Trans Defendant


                               Image result for judge duncan

Federal appeals courts hear cases that impact the rights of millions. They decide matters with billions of dollars at stake. They sometimes hear cases where thousands of lives hang in the balance.
United States v. Varner is not one of those cases. The main thing at stake in Varner is whether three judges will treat a woman with courtesy or with needless cruelty. 
Two of them chose the latter option.
The case involves Kathrine Nicole Jett, a trans woman who is incarcerated in federal prison. (Jett does not appear to use the name “Varner,” but for the sake of clarity, this piece will refer to her case as United States v. Varner because that is the only name the courts have assigned to it.) Jett made a couple of requests from the federal judiciary relating to her transition from male to female. She asked that her name be changed on certain court documents from “Norman Keith Varner” to “Kathrine Nicole Jett,” and that judges hearing her case refer to her as a woman and use feminine pronouns.
The name change request was denied on procedural grounds (although the judges hearing the case disagree about why this request should be denied, no judge suggested it should be granted). But the question of how individual judges should refer to a transgender person does not appear to be answered by any law. All three judges hearing the Varner case appear to agree that this decision is entirely up to their discretion.
Unfortunately for Jett, she drew a panel of judges dominated by two unusually conservative Republicans. The author of the Court’s opinion in Varner, Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan, spent part of his career as general counsel to a leading Christian right law firm and litigated multiple cases seeking to restrict LGBTQ rights.
Among several other cases, Duncan defended the state of Alabama’s failed attempt to strip a lesbian mother of parental rights over her adopted child. He filed a brief arguing against marriage equality in the Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) case. And he represented a school district seeking to bar a trans student from using the bathroom that aligns with his gender identity.
Duncan’s nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit was widely opposed by civil rights groups, who noted that anti-LGBTQ litigation made up a significant amount of Duncan’s law practice.
Judge Duncan’s opinion in Varner confirms these groups’ fears. The thrust of Duncan’s opinion is that even though he could use female pronouns and refer to Jett as a woman as a matter of courtesy, no one can make him. So he won’t.
There are no broader legal stakes here — only the question of whether Duncan and his fellow Republican colleague, Judge Jerry Smith, will afford Jett a modicum of dignity. Duncan and Smith opted for cruelty.
Moreover, while Duncan’s opinion on this issue has little legal significance, it sends a pretty clear message about whether transgender litigants can get a fair hearing in the Fifth Circuit. Few lawyers have done as much anti-LGBTQ legal work as Kyle Duncan. But Duncan is hardly an ideological outlier on a court that’s dominated by Republican appointees.
If the court’s judges are so contemptuous of trans people that they will take swipes at them when the stakes deal only with an individual, imagine what they will do when fundamental questions about the rights of transgender Americans come before their court.

Nothing prevents judges from treating transgender litigants with courtesy

All three of the judges who heard this case — Duncan, Smith, and dissenting Judge James Dennis — agree on one thing: Judges have the discretion to decide how they want to refer to transgender litigants. Duncan acknowledges that “federal courts sometimes choose to refer to gender-dysphoric parties by their preferred pronouns.” And he notes that “on this issue, our court has gone both ways.”
Duncan cites nine federal court decisions where judges agreed to requests from trans litigants like the one Jett made. As Dennis notes in his dissent, though “no law compels” a judge to refer to a trans litigant by the correct pronouns, “many courts and judges adhere to such requests out of respect for the litigant’s dignity.” 
The decision of whether to misgender a litigant appears to be entirely up to each judge.
Duncan chose not to grant Jett’s request. He justifies this decision through a combination of tactics — exaggerating the nature of the relief that Jett requested, selectively applying judicial ethics, and warning that some future judge may have to refer to a future litigant by a nontraditional gender-neutral pronoun such as “xe” or “hir.”
Much of Duncan’s opinion rests on a claim that “no authority supports the proposition that we may require litigants, judges, court personnel, or anyone else to refer to gender-dysphoric litigants with pronouns matching their subjective gender identity.” Perhaps Duncan is right about this claim. But, as Dennis points out in dissent, Jett did not seek a broad order requiring “litigants, judges, court personnel, or anyone else” to refer to her as a woman. 
Thus, as Dennis writes, Jett “is simply requesting that this court, in this proceeding, refer to [her] using her preferred gender pronouns.”
Similarly, Duncan argues that “if a court were to compel the use of particular pronouns at the invitation of litigants, it could raise delicate questions about judicial impartiality.” He notes that “federal courts today are asked to decide cases that turn on hotly-debated issues of sex and gender identity.” And he cites a provision of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges that requires judges to “act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.”
That provision does, indeed, exist. But another provision states that “a judge should be patient, dignified, respectful, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity.” Duncan offers no explanation for why the provision he relies on should trump another.
In any event, Duncan’s claim to impartiality fails on its own terms. Duncan is correct that “federal courts today are asked to decide cases that turn on hotly-debated issues of sex and gender identity.” By pointedly choosing to refer to Jett as a man, and then explaining his decision to do so in a published opinion, Duncan does not convey that he is an impartial judge with no view on trans rights. On the contrary, he rather emphatically conveys that he has chosen a side — and it’s not the side of LGBTQ rights.
If Duncan wished to avoid appearing to take sides on whether Jett is a man or a woman, he could have, as Judge Dennis suggests in dissent, simply avoided using pronouns altogether in the court’s opinion.
The silver lining for transgender litigants is that Duncan neither claims he is resolving a pressing legal dispute over trans rights nor claims that other judges cannot treat trans litigants with courtesy. His decision to misgender Jett is not binding on lower courts. Indeed, Duncan’s decision appears to serve only one goal.
The cruelty, it seems, is the point.

November 19, 2019

This is The Worse Anti- LGBT Rights Trump Has Appointed To Date, GOP Confirmed (51 Votes)

What is he against?
"Anti Women, Gays, bi and Trans, HIV'ers, to name a few. Never been a judge, never had a trial. The White House Gardner would be more fair-minded than this uncooked turkey"

                              Steven Menashi
                             Image result for steven menashi                        

A White House lawyer won Senate confirmation as a federal appeals court judge Thursday despite complaints by lawmakers from both parties about his record on immigration, race, women’s equality, and LGBTQ rights.
Steven Menashi, an associate White House counsel, was confirmed by a 51-41 vote for a seat on the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins was the sole Republican to oppose Menashi, a 40-year-old New Yorker who has never tried a case or argued an appeal. 
Sasha J. Buchert, senior attorney at Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ legal advocacy group, called Menashi "one of President Trump’s most dangerous and alarming judicial nominees to date."
"Mr. Menashi’s disqualifying record is not only plagued with bias against LGBT rights, but he also has actively undermined the rights of immigrants, women, students, and other vulnerable groups throughout his career," Buchert wrote. "This record clearly demonstrates that he would to be unable to administer fair and impartial justice."
Lambda Legal pointed to a letter the group signed along with 20 other LGBTQ advocacy organizations opposing Menashi's confirmation. Among the groups' concerns was how Menashi “unambiguously asserted his opposition” to same-sex marriage ahead of the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, a landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage across the U.S.
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said Menashi is "yet another extremist" appointee and said he has "used whatever platform he’s handed — from his college newspaper to legal publications, to a seat at the table at the White House — to undermine our community’s fight for equality." 
Republicans and Democrats complained that Menashi failed to answer questions at his nomination hearing, and Collins joined Democrats in criticizing Menashi’s record on a range of issues, including immigration, race, women’s equality, and LGBTQ rights.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York called Menashi a “disgrace” and ''one of the most contemptible nominees to come before the Senate” in more than 20 years.
As a lawyer for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Menashi “helped cook up an illegal scheme to use the Social Security data of students swindled by for-profit colleges in order to deny them debt relief,’’ Schumer said, noting that a federal judge ruled the plan violated federal privacy laws.
Schumer, who has railed against many judicial appointments by President Donald Trump, said Menashi stands out as extreme, unqualified and “almost craven. If there was ever anyone who was too far, it’s Menashi.’’ 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Menashi an “impressive nominee,’’ citing his degrees from Dartmouth College and Stanford Law School, clerkships for federal judges including Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, and experience teaching and practicing law.
Other Republicans were more skeptical.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Menashi “has written some really weird stuff” and is “different than I would have chosen,” but is qualified for the federal bench.
Graham was one of several senators who expressed frustration at Menashi’s refusal to answer questions about his record at the White House and the Education Department during his confirmation hearing in September.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee’s top Democrat, said Menashi’s silence made it difficult for senators to fulfill their constitutional role to provide advice and consent on presidential nominees.
She and other Democrats were especially unhappy about Menashi’s role in denying debt relief to thousands of students swindled by for-profit colleges. “Mr. Menashi should not be rewarded for providing such bad legal advice with a lifetime appointment to the federal bench,’’ Feinstein said. 
Menashi’s “troubling record of undermining critical rights and questions surrounding his involvement in Secretary DeVos’s shameful efforts to ignore the law” disqualify him from a lifetime judgeship, added Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
Collins said Menashi’s past writings, particularly about women, LGBTQ advocates, and racial diversity, raise questions about whether he has the appropriate judicial temperament.
Collins, one of the most vulnerable GOP incumbents next year, said it was inappropriate for Menashi to refuse to answer questions about his work in the Trump administration during his confirmation hearing.
“His reluctance to answer questions about the family separation policy made it difficult for me to assess his record and impeded my constitutional duty to evaluate his fitness to serve as a judge,’’ she said in a statement. “After careful consideration ... I do not believe he is well-suited to serve on the federal bench.”
Menashi is among more than 150 federal judges nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate, including at least 46 appeals court judges. About one-quarter of federal appeals court judges were nominated by Trump.
By The Associated Press and Tim Fitzsimons

November 1, 2019

Anti Gay Nominee from Trump for Judge Breaks Down Crying After Letter from AmBarAsso

Trump judicial nominee breaks down during Senate hearing

Lawrence VanDyke broke down during a hearing about his nomination to a federal court after the American Bar Association sent a fiercely-worded letter saying he was not qualified for the job.
The letter alleged that Mr. VanDyke "would not say affirmatively that he would be fair to any litigant before him, notable members of the LGBTQ community". 
Interviewees had told the committee that Mr. VanDyke “is arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules… that he lacks humility, has an ‘entitlement’ temperament, does not have an open mind, and does not always have a commitment to being candid and truthful”, the letter stated.
Questioned during the hearing about his commitment to fairness to the LGBT community, Mr. VanDyke began openly crying before then affirming his commitment to fairness to all.

June 21, 2019

Trump Picks For Life Appointment an Anti Gay Activist Judge

Matthew Kacsmaryk
Matthew Kacsmaryk (First Liberty)

The Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Matthew Kacsmaryk to the position of U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Texas, a lifetime appointment. His appointment riled Democrats and LGBTQ advocates who have opposed his nomination for almost two years.

Kacsmaryk is the latest in a series of judicial nominations to elicit alarm from LGBTQ and civil rights advocates over what they consider anti-LGBTQ track records. A 2017 report from Lambda Legal found that, of President Donald Trump’s nominees, “nearly one-in-three have records that demonstrate hostility towards the rights of LGBT people.”

Among advocates, concerns about Kacsmaryk are his opposition to LGBTQ anti-discrimination protections and same-sex marriage, along with his remarks concerning transgender children and adults.

Prior to his nomination, Kacsmaryk had been an assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Texas and is currently the deputy general counsel at First Liberty Institute, a conservative nonprofit advocating for religious liberty. He is also a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group to which many of Trump’s judicial nominees belong.

Kacsmaryk worked at the First Liberty Institute under Jeff Mateer, previously considered for a federal judgeship himself. Mateer withdrew from consideration after significant opposition to his nomination emerged. Specifically, LGBTQ and civil rights advocates cited Mateer’s anti-LGBTQ record, which included referring to transgender children as evidence of “Satan’s plan.”

Days before Wednesday’s Senate vote, Sen. Susan Collins, D-Maine, voiced her opposition to Kacsmaryk’s nomination due to his “alarming bias against LGBTQ Americans and disregard for Supreme Court precedents.” Collins’ opposition was not enough to defeat Kacsmaryk’s nomination Wednesday, with a final vote of 52-46. 


Cracker Barrel bars Tennessee pastor who called for LGBTQ executions in sermons
Kelly Shackelford, president, CEO and general counsel for First Liberty Institute, said Kacsmaryk's confirmation is "further evidence that presidential appointees who strictly adhere to the text of the Constitution and the Founders’ original intent for our most fundamental freedoms, including religious liberty, can and will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate."

"Matthew is one of the top legal minds in the country, a staunch defender of the Constitution, and has even won a national award for his work as a federal prosecutor putting away dangerous terrorists," Shackelford continued.

In anticipation of the Senate vote, 75 national, state and local advocacy organizations supporting LGBTQ rights penned a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging its members not to confirm Kacsmaryk. The letter called Kacsmaryk an “anti-LGBT activist” with a “history of targeting those who do not live according to his particular social and religious beliefs.”

In December of last year, more than 300 parents of transgender children signed a letter stating their opposition to Kacsmaryk’s nomination, calling his anti-transgender rhetoric “appalling and unacceptable.” The letter specifically called out his assertion that transgender people are “delusional,” made in a 2016 letter he signed opposing hospital regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, slammed the appointment.

“Transgender youth and their families are facing a crisis in this country, and they cannot afford an unqualified and clearly biased nominee like Matthew Kacsmaryk,” Keisling said in a statement shared with NBC News. “Our country needs fair-minded judges free of irrational prejudices against marginalized people.”


Sharon McGowan, legal director at Lambda Legal, called Kacsmaryk a “dangerous ideologue” who is “unfit for public trust,” because he has consistently voiced broad opposition to the LGBTQ movement throughout his career. 

Kacsmaryk has repeatedly expressed animosity toward transgender people. He took issue with the Obama-era guidance that mandated schools protect the civil rights of transgender students and allow them to access facilities that conform to their gender identity, and he opposed the extension of anti-discrimination protections to transgender people in the Affordable Care Act.

He has also represented businesses that refuse to serve LGBTQ clients, such as the owners of an Oregon bakery that refused to serve clients based on their sexual orientation.

In a series of tweets, Mike Davis, founder and president of the Article III Project, an organization supporting Trump’s nominees, slammed the criticism against Kacsmaryk as “left-wing fear-mongering.” Davis said the criticism is “unfounded” and “unfairly conflates legal advocacy with bigotry, and actually demonstrates religious bigotry toward Christians and other people of faith who wish to speak in the public square.”


On a phone call with reporters Tuesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said of Kacsmaryk: “In case after case at the First Liberty Institute, he has taken positions that are abhorrent to accepted values in this country.”

During his time at the First Liberty Institute, Kacsmaryk opposed the extension of anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people not only in health care, but also in legislation such as the Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act, the Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act and the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 reauthorization bill, Alliance for Justice maintains.

Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, D-Mass., said the nomination of Kacsmaryk is part of Trump’s “full scale war against transgender Americans,” citing the administration’s rollback of transgender-inclusive policies in the military, public schools and homeless shelters.

“This has nothing to do with politics and gets to the very core of what our judicial system is supposed to stand for,” Kennedy said on Tuesday’s press call. “He has no place in our judicial system.” 

Kacsmaryk has voiced opposition to the Equality Act, which would modify existing civil rights legislation to ban discrimination against LGBTQ people in employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, education, federal programs, and credit. He called it the “Inequality Act” and claimed the legislation would “weaponiz[e] same-sex marriage” to punish those who disagree with it.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., one of the sponsors of the Equality Act, took aim at Kacsmaryk on Tuesday, telling reporters he finds it “really hard to imagine anyone who is less qualified to sit on the federal bench.”

“Mitch McConnell has his own way of celebrating Pride, which is to put on the floor a horrific nominee,” he said. “Every American deserves … judges on the bench that protect their constitutional rights, not one that will try to rip them away.”

February 7, 2019

Sen.Booker Questions Kavanaugh Replacement for the Bench on Gay Rights: 'Do You Believe Their Relationships are a Sin?'

"She won't answer if a Loving relationship is a what is it she follows....The one that said he did't love gays, well it was not Jesus Christ.  May be it was one of those false prophets Christ didn't. Adam Gonzalez
                                       Image result for sen booker and Neomi rao

Sen. Cory Booker(Right) questions Neomi Rao (left), President Trump's nominee to replace Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, about her personal beliefs on gay marriage during a confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

SEN. CORY BOOKER: Are gay relationships, in your opinion, immoral? 

NEOMI RAO: Um, senator, I'm not sure the relevance of that.
BOOKER: I think it is relevant to your opinion. Do you think African American relationships are immoral? Do you think gay relationships are immoral? 

RAO: No. I do not. 

BOOKER: You do not. 

Do you believe they are a sin?

RAO: Senator, my personal views on any of these subjects are things I would put to one side, and I would faithfully follow precedent--

BOOKER: So you're not willing to say here whether you believe it is sinful for two men to be married -- you're not willing to comment on that?

RAO: I'm sorry. 

BOOKER: What, I didn't hear your response. 

RAO: My response is that these personal views are ones that I would put to one side. Whatever my personal views are on the subject, I would faithfully follow the precedent of the Supreme Court.

September 22, 2018

Gay Married Couple Forced to Live Apart Thanks A Judge in The US and Inexplicably for a UK Judge

A gay couple claims they could be forced to live in separate countries after a judge refused to recognize their marriage. Brian Page, 41, from North Carolina, United States, has failed to get an extension to his UK visa after his latest appeal to the Home Office failed. That means he will be unable to live with his husband Benjamin Page, 36, from Milton Keynes, who is unable to move to the US after receiving a ten-year ban for overstaying. 

Brian (left) and Ben Page could be split apart (Picture: SWNS) 
Brian (left) and Ben Page. See SWNS story SWGAY; A married gay man could be forced to leave the UK and return to the States, despite the fact that he is married to a UK citizen. Brian Page from North Carolina and Benjamin Page, 36, from Milton Keynes who married in the United States in June 2014 came to the UK to spend time with Benjamin?s mother when she became terminally ill. However, Brian has had his latest appeal to the Home Office for an extension of his visa refused on September. Subsequently, he was told that he must either leave the UK within 14 days or apply for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal, the next stage of the process.

The couple got married in New York – three years after same-sex marriages became legal in the state. The Pages spent 18 months in the US but returned to the UK to spend time with Benjamin’s terminally ill mother, who has since died. His dad has now been diagnosed with lung cancer and they want to stay to look after him.  

They claim the judge refused to recognize their marriage Picture: SWNS) Brian said: ‘We feel absolutely offended by this as the judge has been extremely disrespectful as it completely changes the whole angle of our marriage which is legally recognized.

 ‘The LGBTQ community has had to fight for these rights to get married and this undermines this. ‘I never thought we would be here asking for people to help us stay together. ‘We are hard-working people who haven’t ever asked for anything from anyone until now. ‘After draining all of our savings over the last four years fighting this, we don’t have the money to fight this last bit. 

 The couple was annoyed the judge apparently referred to them as a ‘civil partners’ instead of a ‘married couple’ and argued this was the reason the application for a new visa was denied. 

Brian has been told he must either leave the UK within 14 days or apply for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal. He added: ‘The judge has been very disrespectful in refusing to recognize our legal marriage and disregard our relationship. 

‘Clearly, my husband and I are not in a position to return to the United States due to the passing of my mother in law and now the diagnosis for lung cancer for my father in law, we would like to remain together so that I may be with my husband, my father in law and offer comfort and support, both mentally and physically at this difficult time.’ 

The couple is now trying to raise £3,000 to cover the cost of a barrister and has spent more than £16,000 on the application so far. You can contribute to their crowdfunding here. has approached the Home Office for a comment.

August 14, 2018

Judge Kavanaugh Lauds Scalia as an "Apostle of Restraint, His Role Model"

By Manu Raju and Joan Biskupic CNN

 President Donald Trump has extolled the late conservative icon Antonin Scalia, and so has his new nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.

In some of his most forceful speeches in recent years, Kavanaugh has referred to the conservative justice who served from 1986-2016 as a "role model" and a "hero."

Kavanaugh, a 53-year-old appeals court judge nominated to succeed the more moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy, has extensively praised Scalia, in one speech noting there are "many" examples of the conservative jurist influencing him. He has hailed his judicial philosophy as "simple but profound," one that he hoped would leave a long-lasting legacy. 

Image result for kavanaugh anti gay

"I loved the guy," Kavanaugh said at a conference in June 2016 at George Mason Law School, which has been named after Scalia. "To me, he was and remains a hero and a role model. He thought carefully about his principles. He articulated those principles. And he stood up for those principles. As a judge, he did not buckle to political or academic pressure from the right or the left."

A year later, Kavanaugh lavished similar praise on Scalia, delivering a keynote address at Notre Dame Law School and saying: "Justice Scalia was and remains a judicial hero and role model to many throughout America."

The confirmation of Kavanaugh -- a federal appeals court judge with more than 300 opinions to his name -- would almost certainly tilt the Supreme Court further to the right. He has been nominated to replace the long-time swing vote Kennedy, a 30-year veteran of the court who has voted in favor of LGBT rights, abortion and affirmative action.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is preparing to scrutinize Kavanaugh's public remarks and rulings while on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where he has sat since 2006, at his confirmation hearings, set to begin September 4. Kavanaugh earlier worked for President George W. Bush and for independent counsel Ken Starr as he investigated President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s.

Kavanaugh lauds 'an apostle of restraint'

In his 2016 address at George Mason, Kavanaugh expressed his belief that some of Scalia's dissenting opinions would one day become the law, including his dissent in a 1988 ruling upholding the constitutionality of an independent counsel and in a 2004 case where Scalia pushed for greater protections in certain circumstances for a US citizen being held as an enemy combatant.

At one point in the speech, Kavanaugh singled out two of Scalia's most controversial dissents, in cases upholding same-sex marriage and abortion rights, to show how the late justice argued against creating rights for individuals not spelled out in the Constitution. Kavanaugh did not express his own position on those hot-button cases.

Kavanaugh, who once served as a clerk to Kennedy, has showered some of his warmest praise on Scalia. He also has said that when he was a law student in the 1980s, the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist was his "first judicial hero."

Whether Kavanaugh would rule like Scalia across the board is debatable, but Kavanaugh's 2016 remarks suggest that Scalia's three decades on the Supreme Court have had a lasting impact on him.

As you read this there shoudl be no doubt in your mind that Kavanaugh is a Homobphobe, Anti gay who would fight like Scalia and his wife did stop or restrict gay rights starting with gay marriage. ๐ŸฆŠAdam

"Justice Scalia was an apostle of restraint and an apostle of engagement," Kavanaugh said.

In his 2016 speech, Kavanaugh said that it is "my belief and hope" that the justice changed "statutory interpretation forever."

In interpreting statutes, Scalia argued that judges should focus on the text of a law and brush aside congressional floor statements and other artifacts of legislative history. He was an "originalist" on the Constitution, looking to the document's 18th Century meaning and rejecting the notion that it evolved with the times.

In one example of Scalia's influence on him, Kavanaugh highlighted the justice's 1989 vote to uphold the constitutional right to burn the American flag under the First Amendment.

"At the time, as a second year law student I despised his vote in the case," Kavanaugh said. "Today, I agree with it. That's one of my many personal examples of Justice Scalia's influence on me."

Scalia's opinions on abortion, same-sex marriage under scrutiny ๐Ÿ™€

A key point of focus at his September confirmation hearings will be how he views polarizing social issues, like abortion and gay rights. And in his George Mason speech, Kavanaugh highlighted two of Scalia's most controversial dissents on those topics, without either praising his opinions or raising concerns about them.

In 1992, Scalia dissented from a 5-4 ruling to uphold abortion rights in the case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. That decision reinforced the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion legal nationwide. In his heated dissent, Scalia declared that judges should not decide the issue, rather that it should be left to elected officials and the democratic process.

"We should get out of this area," he said in 1992, "where we have no right to be, and where we do neither ourselves nor the country any good by remaining."

In 2015, Scalia also dissented from the court's decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, declaring a right to same-sex marriage. In his dissent, Scalia called the ruling a "threat to American democracy."

Kavanaugh said in his 2016 speech that those two dissents are a sign of how Scalia believed that courts had "no legitimate role ... in creating new rights not spelled out in the Constitution."

"For Justice Scalia, it was not the court's job to improve on or update the Constitution to create new rights," Kavanaugh said. He added: "Put simply, he was deferential when the Constitution and statutes called for deference. He was not deferential when they did not."

In private meetings with senators, Kavanaugh has been careful in how he has addressed issues he may rule on, including abortion.

In an October 2017 case at the DC Circuit, Kavanaugh acknowledged that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are precedents that lower court judges like himself follow. Senators are likely to try to explore his views further, because while lower court judges are bound by Supreme Court precedent, the justices have the power to roll back and change precedent.

The White House would not comment when asked if Kavanaugh shared views similar to Scalia on abortion and same-sex marriage. But Helgi Walker, a former Kavanaugh colleague in the Bush White House who is now a partner at a Washington law firm, said Kavanaugh's comments about Scalia do not necessarily reflect Kavanaugh's own views.

"This is a speech paying tribute to the late, great Justice Scalia," Walker said. 

November 6, 2017

Warm Sands Sex Case Judge Would Not Touch An Envelope from Gay Man:U know where's been

{There is "homophobic" and there is "rabidly anti gay" This judge was the latter, surrounded by cops who belonged to the same club}
Judge  David B. Downing is an Anti gay Judge who ruled on gay defendants
An Indio judge who upheld charges in the Warm Sands sex sting case six years ago despite strong evidence that Palm Springs police discriminated against gay men is now accused of making an alarmingly homophobic statement while being secretly recorded in another case.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge David B. Downing, who is now retired, allegedly said he would not touch the motions of a gay, HIV-positive murder suspect because they came in envelopes that had been licked closed.

“Lord knows where his tongue has been,” Downing said, according to sworn declarations by convicted murderer Kaushal Niroula and his co-defendant Daniel Garcia, the latter of whom made secret recordings of Downing in 2012.

Those recordings, first reported by The Desert Sun this week, now threaten to undo Niroula’s conviction, potentially leading to new trials in the murder case. The recordings also casts a shadow over the Warm Sands prosecution, Downing’s highest-profile case, which involved more than a dozen gay defendants, three gay attorneys and allegations of systematic police discrimination against gay men. 

In the Warm Sands case, defense attorneys presented evidence that Palm Springs police officers had exclusively targeted gay men in an undercover 2009 public sex sting. Police leaders were also caught on tape using slurs and calling the suspects “filthy,” and defense attorneys eventually proved that the police department had never arrested a straight person for the same behavior. 
Regardless, Downing ruled that the case wasn’t discriminatory, allowing prosecution to continue.

“I was always perplexed, because the hearing went so well, I thought he would rule in our favor,” said attorney Bruce Nickerson, an expert on lewd conduct law who worked on the Warm Sands case. “But he didn’t. I was never sure why. Now, I think it’s clear.”

Nickerson was one of three Warm Sands attorneys who spoke to The Desert Sun over the past week, reacting to how the secret recordings from Niroula’s trial reflected on the sex sting case. Each attorney expressed mixed feelings about the judge – who they recalled as outwardly professional, fair and open-minded – but said they remained puzzled by his decision to uphold the Warm Sands charges.

“I was certainly baffled by the ruling. I still am,” said defense attorney Joe Rhea. “I thought it was just a bang-up motion, and there was never a clear reason for denying it.”

A little more than a year after the Warm Sands decision, Downing allegedly made his “tongue” comment behind closed doors. The statement was captured by a laptop that one of the murder suspects had left recording in the courtroom even when the case was on a break. Official court transcripts show that the murder suspects later confronted Downing with the recordings, at which point he defended the statements and never denied them. When reached by The Desert Sun earlier this month, Downing said he could not remember if he made the “tongue” comment or not.

If he did say it, the comments are undoubtedly offensive, said Mark Foster, a retired defense attorney who also worked the Warm Sands case. Even more worrisome was the idea that any judge would not read a defendant’s motion, regardless of reason, Foster said.

The comment was so wholly terrible, Foster said, he had to believe Downing just made “a bad joke.”

“I was openly gay in the courtroom, and he treated me fairly,” Foster said. “But I don’t know what darkness lurks in men’s hearts… He might be a raging homophobe, he might not have a homophobic bone in his body. I just don’t know.”

The sex sting occurred in June of 2009, when the Palm Springs Police Department decided to crack down on public sex in the Warm Sands neighborhood, a well-known gay hookup scene. For four nights, on a city block surrounded by gay resorts, undercover cops approached men on the street and encouraged them to expose their genitals. If they did, the men were arrested.

When the sting was over, 14 men – all gay – were charged with misdemeanor crimes. Prosecutors sought to add each of them to a sex offender registry

But the case quickly became a massive embarrassment for local law enforcement, drawing widespread criticism for what appeared to be blatant discrimination. Condemnation of the case grew in 2011, when defense attorneys revealed that Palm Springs police had never arrested any heterosexual couples for the same crimes, despite prior complaints of straight people having sex in public places.  

Video footage of the sting also exposed that one of the leaders of the operation, Sgt. Bryan Anderson, had used a gay slur while watching the sting from inside a police vehicle. Additionally, Police Chief David Dominguez resigned after it was revealed he referred to the gay men as “some filthy (expletives)” during the sting.

All of this was presented to Downing during an eight-day court hearing in February 2011. Defense attorneys never denied what their clients had done, but insisted they had been entrapped by a police department that had exclusively targeted homosexuals. Judge Downing ruled otherwise.

"These … men were not arrested for being gay,” he said from the bench, before upholding the charges and allowing prosecutions to continue. “These men were arrested for having sex in public.”

Four defendants later appealed this ruling, but the decision was upheld. To this day, defense attorneys insist that Downing missed the entire point of the discrimination argument – If the suspects had been straight, but done the same thing, they would have never been arrested in the first place.

“They were only punished because they were having gay sex,” Foster said. “That was the whole point. If they were males having sex with females, no one would have launched a sting operation. We established that in court.” 

Although Downing’s ruling kept the Warm Sands case alive, the hearing had been embarrassing enough that law enforcement lost their lust for harsh punishment. Prosecutors decided to offer lighter plea deals – without registry as a sex offender – and most of the defendants accepted. A majority pleaded guilty to misdemeanors and were sentenced to probation. A few have since returned to court and had their convictions reversed. One defendant is still arguing in court to have his whole case sealed.

“The Warms Sands case has changed Palm Springs,” Rhea said. “Law enforcement has acted very differently after this. I haven’t seen a coordinated sting like this since Warm Sands.” 'd die.

To date, only one Warm Sands defendant has had their case completely erased.

That defendant was represented by Nickerson, the lewd conduct law expert, who expressed both the strongest criticism and highest praise of Judge Downing. Two years after the Warm Sands decision, Nickerson came back to the judge’s courtroom seeking one of the most coveted rulings in criminal law.

Nickerson asked for his client to be issued a “finding of factual innocence,” which is a court document that says a defendant is actually innocent instead of just not guilty. Downing appeared as if he was going to deny the request, Nickerson said, but then the judge surprised him again.

The defendant’s innocence was confirmed, allowing him to get a job as a teacher.

If Downing was homophobic, he must have looked past his prejudice on that day, Nickerson said.

“It was heartwarming for me,” Nickerson said. “Whatever Downing may have thought of my client, he put it aside and ruled strictly on the law on that motion."

, The Desert Sun
Public Safety Reporter Brett Kelman can be reached at 760 778 4642 or at You can follow him on Twitter @TDSbrettkelman. 

October 28, 2017

Kentucky Judge Who Refused to Hear Gay Adoptions Issues Resigns

A Kentucky judge who stirred controversy earlier this year by refusing to hear adoption cases involving gay parents says he plans to resign in hopes of quashing an ethics inquiry by a state judicial panel.

Judge W. Mitchell Nance told the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission in a memo made public Wednesday that he would resign effective Dec. 16 rather than fight the commission’s charges that he violated ethical rules. He also sent a resignation letter to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R), the Associated Press reported.

Nance was facing sanctions that included possible removal from the bench.

“Judge Nance must have seen the writing on the wall,” said LGBT advocate Chris Hartman, whose organization, the Fairness Campaign, helped bring a complaint against the judge. “I hope this sends a message to judges across the country that if their conscience conflicts with their duty, they must leave the bench.”

Kentucky law permits same-sex couples to adopt children.

Nance, who handles family cases in Barren and Metcalfe counties, made national headlines in the spring after he issued an order saying that permitting a “practicing homosexual” to adopt would “under no circumstance” promote the child’s best interests.

He tried to disqualify himself from all adoption cases involving gay parents by citing judicial codes that allow judges to recuse themselves from cases over “personal bias or prejudice.” His order stated that attorneys should tell court officials of such cases ahead of time so another judge could hear them. He referred to his stance as “conscientious objection” and “a matter of conscience.”

The move was condemned by an array of legal experts and advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, which said his actions made him unfit for office. Several conservative organizations, however, rallied behind him. Among them was the Lexington-based Family Foundation, which argued judges should be given leeway on issues of marriage and sexuality.

The state’s judicial conduct commission later charged Nance with violating rules requiring judges to maintain public confidence and perform their duties impartially.

In a written response this week, Nance and his attorneys waived a hearing before the commission and asked to have the charges dismissed, saying his offer to resign rendered the case moot. But Nance stood by his original recusal plan, arguing that same-sex adoption cases presented him with a “unique crisis of conscience,” as the Glasgow Daily Times reported.

Nance declined to discuss the case with the newspaper but said he would miss being a judge. “It’s a very demanding job,” he said.

When he first drew attention in April, Nance gave no indication that he was considering resignation. He told The Washington Post in a brief interview that his order was “based on the law, based on my conscience,” and designed to “minimize any disruption in the litigation.” 

The 66-year-old was elected to the bench in 2000 and moved to the 43rd Judicial Circuit’s Family Court in 2004, according to the Glasgow Daily Times.

His attempt to recuse himself drew comparisons to Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who was jailed for contempt of court in 2015 after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Judges had penned multiple orders compelling Davis to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that year establishing same-sex marriage as a fundamental right. Davis objected, saying it violated her religious beliefs.

June 30, 2017

Trump's New Papi Gorsuch is Against Having Gay Parents on Their Kids Birth Certificates

(LifeSiteNews) — Newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch issued a blistering dissent to the Court’s decision to allow “spouses” of the same gender to appear on children’s birth certificates. 
The court’s decision was predicated on the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case that legalized same-sex “marriage” across the country.  
Because same-sex “marriage” is now the law of the land, the court reasoned that states must “provide same-sex couples 'the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage.'" In particular, since the Obergefell ruling specifically identified birth and death certificates as two of those rights, states can no longer deny same-sex couples any rights related to birth certificates that are granted to opposite-sex couples.
Obergefell v. Hodges laid the groundwork for rulings such as this, going beyond establishing a legal right to gay “marriage,” to asserting all rights normally associated with marriage.  

The constitutional basis of Justice Gorsuch’s dissent

Justice Gorsuch said, “[N]othing in Obergefell indicates that a birth registration regime based on biology, one no doubt with many analogues across the country and throughout history, offends the Constitution. To the contrary, to the extent they speak to the question at all, this Court’s precedents suggest just the opposite conclusion.”  
“Neither does anything in today’s opinion purport to identify any constitutional problem with a biology-based birth registration regime.”
Gorsuch asked, “What, then, is at work here?”  
“Given all this, it seems far from clear what here warrants the strong medicine of summary reversal. Indeed, it is not even clear what the Court expects to happen on remand that hasn’t happened already. The Court does not offer any remedial suggestion, and none leaps to mind.”

Gorsuch sets off LGBT alarm bells

At ThinkProgress in a piece subtitled Donald Trump’s judge is doling out Mike Pence’s justice, Ian Millhiser said, “The Supreme Court took two actions Monday morning that provide a fairly clear window into how Gorsuch will handle claims alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
“First, the Court announced that it will hear Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case brought by a baker who claims that religion gives anti-LGBTQ business owners the right to ignore civil rights laws.  
“Second, the Court reversed an Arkansas Supreme Court decision permitting the state to engage in a subtle form of discrimination against same-sex couples. ... Taken together, these two cases suggest Gorsuch will join the Court’s right-most faction in matters relating to LGBTQ rights.”
And over at Slate, Mark Joseph Stern, who covers law and LGBTQ issues, said Gorsuch’s “dissent should be deeply alarming to LGBTQ advocates; it indicates an eagerness to read Obergefell with implausible narrowness, and a hostility to the extension of civil rights to same-sex couples.”

The true significance of the Court’s decision — for children

Children’s rights activist Katy Faust, writing at ThemBeforeUs, reacted to the court’s decision: “(I)n the name of ‘equality’ for adults, today’s Supreme Court ruling denies children both the right to their mother and father and the right to their biological identity. ‘Equality’ for same-sex couples comes by way of children’s inequality.”
Faust continued, “Children raised by gay couples will always be missing a biological parent as well as the dual-gender influence that children crave. Studies tells us thatchildren with same-sex parents will suffer as a result. Many of those children will also struggle with identity issues as a result of being donor-conceived. But those challenging the ban were not concerned about actual outcomes for these kids and instead argued, ‘When it comes to same-sex spouses, the state’s refusal to list both of them on the birth certificate “causes those children to suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser …’”
Justice Gorsuch, who joined the Supreme Court in April, has clearly aligned himself with the court’s conservatives.
Gorsuch was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy in the majority.  

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