Thurs. 3/1 – The worst of us wants to judge the rest of us.

Imagine if all those horrible uncles who ruin Thanksgiving dinners by spouting racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic rants, were suddenly given the power to act on their words…

Action: Take a look at the judges the Trump administration is proposing to fill our life-time court appointments with, and try to estimate the damage they can do. Then make the calls.

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Sen. [___] to vote “NO” on the administration’s collection of far-right extremist judicial nominations, either as a member of the Judiciary Committee or from the floor if they are passed through.

Extra credit: Call them out by name.

Contact your Legislator

Is my senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee?

Senator Feinstein (Member of Judiciary Committee): DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Other Rep./Senator Contacts:

The “bad uncles” now waiting in the Judiciary Committee…

GORDON GIAMPIETRO (PN1333): The administration’s nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Gordon Giampietro has been caught on tape calling birth control pills “an assault on nature” and “against God’s plan,” calling the Court’s decision to recognize marriage rights “an assault on the conscience,” and calling diversity “code for relaxed standards.”  The now-deleted blog post to which Giampietro was responding was apparently in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Giampietro commented the author of the blog post was “exactly right to trace the intrusion into private business to the Civil Right Act,” but added he’d go back farther to “the original sin of slavery.” Without slavery, Giampietro wrote, there’d be “no racial spoils system, no calls for diversity.” Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice, said in a statement the views Giampietro expressed “are so hostile and biased that they are frankly breathtaking.” “These tapes completely undermine any confidence the public could have had that a Judge Giampietro would be an open-minded and fair arbiter of cases involving LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, and other critical legal rights and protections,” Aron said. These regressive, reactionary views have no place on the federal bench. Latest Action – 12/20/2017 – Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

RYAN BOUNDS (PN1403): Nominated to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Bounds had a history of expressing alarming views about the LGBTQ community, people of color, sexual assault and the rights of workers, both Oregon’s U.S. senators announced they will not support his nomination moving forward. Latest Action 01/08/2018 – Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

These “bad uncles” are waiting on the Senate Calendar…

HOWARD NIELSON (PN1053): Nominated to be federal judge for Utah, Nielson is an ideological extremist and political partisan. He is best known for his defense of “Prop 8,” the California ballot initiative that restricted marriage to heterosexual couples, and his unsuccessful attempt to force the presiding judge to recuse himself because he was gay. As part of the case, he argued that sexual orientation is a choice, and that it can be changed through therapy. Neilson argued to the Supreme Court that Texas should uphold restrictive regulations that would have shut down most abortion clinics, and represented the NRA’s efforts to overturn gun regulations. He also represented congressional Republicans in their opposition to EPA greenhouse gas regulations for industrial polluters. As a member of a DOJ intern screening committee, Nielson violated department rules by eliminating those identified as Democrats, leading the Inspector General to state that those involved should never again have positions in any federal agency. There is also evidence to suggest Nielson was involved in Stephen Bradbury’s “torture memos,” which John McCain described as permission to torture. Nielson has refused to disclose the nature of his involvement.

THOMAS FARR (PN749): Nominated for a district judgeship in the Eastern District of North Carolina, Farr is considered very qualified with almost 40 years of legal experience. This only makes him more concerning, however, as his legal work has not only been incredibly partisan, but has also been racially discriminatory.  He is well-connected to the Republican Party, has provided legal representation to the party, and has been a generous donor to Republicans, several of whom are still members of Congress. His legal work has opposed Democratic gerrymandering but has supported Republican, racially discriminatory gerrymandering. He defended NC’s voter identification law, which the DOJ argued disenfranchised minority voters, arguing that voter ID was a “minor inconvenience.” He defended “election reform” measures that were also criticized as disenfranchising minority voters. He helped draft NC’s voter suppression law, and he may have had involvement in a postcard campaign aimed at intimidating black voters. Furthermore, he may have lied to the judiciary committee about his involvement in the postcard campaign during his first hearing.

KYLE DUNCAN PN1062: Nominated to the already conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Duncan is a particularly dangerous nominee because of his success rate in litigating within the Supreme and lower appellate courts, and his experience promoting conservative religious causes and fighting protections for reproductive freedom and LGBTQ rights. Known most recently for representing the school board that refused transgender student Gavin Grimm’s request to use his school’s male restroom, he also defended a North Carolina House bill that essentially sanctioned government discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, and Hobby Lobby’s challenge to the ACA contraception mandate. Throughout his career, Duncan has also fought to make it more difficult for people of color to vote, for immigrant families to stay together, and for the juvenile justice system to be reformed. Duncan has indicated he will not respect precedent when he disagrees with the outcome of a case. After the Supreme Court decided in favor of same-sex marriage, Duncan said the case “raises a question about the legitimacy of the Court.”  He is likely to continue to use his position in the judicial system to further his own ultra-conservative views rather than to uphold the law.

MATTHEW KACSMARYK (PN998): Nominated to a federal judgeship for the Northern District of Texas, Matthew Kacsmaryk is known using “religious liberty” as a justification for discrimination against LGBTQ people and women. He currently works for the First Liberty Institute, a large legal organization exclusively devoted to these kinds of cases. He helped defend a Mississippi law that allows businesses and government workers to refuse service to LGBTQ individuals, and challenged the ACA’s contraception mandate. He has been a vocal opponent of Obama’s executive order prohibiting discriminating against LGBTQ individuals by government contractors, accusing it of “favoring sexual revolution fundamentalism over the sincerely-held religious beliefs of Americans,” and he has challenged Obama’s directive that schools accommodate students’ “gender identity” in gender-specific public facilities. His work and his writings make it clear that he will use his position in the federal courts to further religious justification for discrimination against LGBTQ people and women. Because of the level of Democrat opposition to his nomination, moderate republicans such as Collins will be key deciding votes.



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