Action: Tell your senators that Steven Menashi is not welcome on our highest courts.
President Trump announced his intent to nominate Steven Menashi to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for the seat previously held by Thurgood Marshall, and most immediately held by Judge Dennis Jacobs. He was unpopular inside and outside his nomination hearing. This guy was not even supported by his home-state senators from NY.
(AFJ.org) states: “Based on his history of inflammatory rhetoric and the work he has done throughout his legal career, Alliance for Justice believes Menashi, if confirmed, will erode critical rights and legal protections. He will protect the wealthy and the powerful, not the rights of all Americans. Because little in Menashi’s ultraconservative career suggests he will be a fair-minded nonbiased jurist, Alliance for Justice strongly opposes his confirmation and calls on every senator to oppose. Every senator who votes for his confirmation will own Menashi’s vile quotes and positions contained in this report.”
Oh, so many dislikes for one small man…For those who are fascinated by the walking cognitive-dissonance that is Steven Miller, there is a perverse fascination in watching Mr. Menashi, another ungrateful grandchild of persecuted refugees, exclaim that his feelings were hurt for being called out from his comfy perch in upper-strata male America. How dare we?
Oh, we dare.
Minimal Script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Senator [___] to vociferously vote against Steven Menashi to any judicial position, much less one as powerful as the Second Circuit Court, where he can damage rights for large numbers of Americans.
Additional Script if your want it: I am particularly horrified by his record on [pick a subject from below]… This issue is really important to me and a person with his record has no right to sit in judgement of others.
Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Who is my representative/senator?: hq-salsa.wiredforchange.com
Background – pick-a-topic
(We’ve pulled out some quick topics to use in your call. Read the whole AJL report here and the CNN article here. Read the ugly manifesto Rachel is referring to here.)
- He denounced women’s marches against sexual assault and bemoaned the fact that schools could discipline students who harassed women.
- He criticized as “neo-McCarthysim” discipline based on “verbal” “abusive or harassing behavior.” “The concept of ‘verbal behavior’” he wrote, is “nonsensical.”
- He helped rollback Title IX guidance for survivors of sexual harassment and assault on college campuses and he worked on the Department’s proposed rule on campus sexual assault, which will stop survivors from coming forward and make schools more dangerous for all students.
- He opposed “radical abortion rights advocated by campus feminists and codified in Roe v. Wade.” He supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade, along with every other Trump favorite judicial pick.
- He authored an amicus brief, pro bono, to interfere with access to reproductive health care on behalf of former Justice Department officials in Zubik v. Burwell, supporting religious nonprofits’ challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate.
- Menashi compared the collection of race data in college admissions to Germany under Adolf Hitler.
- He argued that that “ethnically heterogeneous societies exhibit less political and civic engagement, less effective government institutions, and fewer public goods.”
- Menashi dismissed education about multicultural awareness (which “was never about understanding non-Western cultures…but about denigrating Western culture to promote self-esteem among ‘marginalized’ groups”).
- He defended a fraternity that threw a “ghetto party,” characterizing the event as “harmless and unimportant.”
- While a student at Dartmouth, he wrote: “Equally ridiculous is the belief that chanting the old Dartmouth football cheer, ‘Wah-Hoo-Wah! Scalp ‘Em!’ proceeds from a racist belief in the inferiority of American Indians.”
- Human/civil rights
- He defended racist Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi for stating “the obvious” when he wrote of “the superiority of Western civilization over Islam.”
- He favorably repeatedthe Islamaphobic myth that General John Pershing executed Muslim prisoners in the Philippines with bullets dipped in pig’s fat.
- He argued that those enforcing civil rights laws weren’t doing so to use public accommodations, but to “vindicate a principle” about “religious beliefs.”
- He called the president of the People for the American Way “hysterical” because of his opposition to state funding of religious schools.
- He is a fan of Augusto Pinoche, who killed, tortured and imprisoned thousands, but still Steve found room for praise. “Pinochet even had noble aims: He saved Chile from communism and eventually surrendered his authority to a democratic government.”
- He condemned war protesters as being “pro-despotism”.
- He opposed need-based financial aid explicitly because it purportedly “hurts” the wealthy.
- He assisted Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in eroding protections for students of color, sexual assault survivors, and victims of fraudulent for-profit colleges.
He worked with DeVos to “throw roadblocks in front of state law enforcement officials and federal regulators who are pursuing legal action” against student loan companies “as they seek to fend off allegations of cheating and misleading borrowers.”
Menashi has fought against equal access to quality education, once lamenting that Americans schools “persist” in “promoting egalitarianism.”
- LGBTQ community:
- He accused an LGBTQ advocacy organization of exploiting the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay student, for political and financial ends.
- He supported the ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual people serving in the military.
- He opposed marriage equality. “Feminists and gender theorists argue that institutions like marriage and the family – and indeed gender itself – are ‘social constructs’ that can be uprooted and rearranged through education and social engineering.”
- He defended discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in public accommodations such as restaurants and movie theaters.
- At the Department of Education, he weakened Title IX protections for transgender students.
- Environment/Public Health and Safety
- He opposed the Kyoto Accord, and has made clear his belief that courts need to constrain the ability of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies to protect climate, clean air and clean water.
- He wants to tie the hands of the agencies that Congress has recognized as having the knowledge and experience to enforce critical laws, safeguard essential protections, and ensure the health and safety of the public.
- In his position as a White House lawyer, he has assisted Stephen Miller on advancing Trump’s draconian immigration policy, including the administration’s policy of separating families.
- Access to Justice
- Menashi has often expressed strong negative opinions regarding attorneys on one side of the cases he will be hearing: those who represent workers and consumers. Those attorneys will likely be at a distinct disadvantage when they face a biased jurist like Menashi.
- He has criticized lawyers who advocate for the elderly: “there[s] a whole discipline of ‘elder law’ devoted to these tricks,” referring to efforts to ensure people who are eligible for Medicaid can receive the benefits to which they are entitled.
- Menashi has also supported efforts to cap recovery for those injured as a result of medical malpractice (which he argued was a better policy than “expanding the Medicaid program and paying for it with new taxes on the rich”).
- His career as a litigator was focused on defending pharmaceutical companies against lawsuits when drug companies failed to provide adequate warnings to doctors and consumers.