Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Monday that he’ll release a list of up to 10 people he would nominate to the Supreme Court if he’s elected president, reports Time magazine. “I’m not appointing a liberal judge,” he promised.
Trump made the comments during a press conference at the construction site of the Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C., notes Time. He was supposedly responding to claims made by one of his Republican rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, that a President Trump might nominate a progressive to the highest court in the land, should Republican senators keep their promise to block President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy left by the death of conservative stalwart Justice Antonin Scalia last month.
The list of potential candidates, which Trump said he will release next week, will be compiled with the input and backing of the Heritage Foundation, a staunchly anti-LGBT organization based in Washington, D.C., that Right Wing Watch describes as “the best-known and most influential right-wing think tank.”
The Heritage Foundation “is a massively funded right-wing powerhouse that is home to, among others, anti-marriage-equality activist Ryan Anderson, who is urging social conservatives to resist the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling,” according to RWW.
Former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint currently serves as the president of the Heritage Foundation, after earning notoriety (or infamy) for claiming on the Senate floor in 2010 that gay people and sexually active single women shouldn’t be allowed to be teachers. In 2013, the Heritage Foundation teamed up with the antigay National Organization for Marriage to organize a March for Marriage, warning conservative voters that widespread legal marriage equality would threaten the health and safety of the nation.
On its own website, the Heritage Foundation celebrated Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act as “good policy,” despite widespread opposition claiming the 2015 bill was a “license to discriminate” against LGBT people, and a nationwide backlash that ultimately prompted Indiana legislators and Gov. Mike Pence to amend the legislation last April.
The foundation’s blog, The Daily Signal, has also taken aim at equal access for transgender people, coming out in favor of an unprecedented anti-trans “bathroom bill” approved by the South Dakota legislature that was ultimately vetoed by the state’s Republican governor. The blog post inaccurately claimed that the bill required “reasonable accommodation of students who identify as transgender through the provision of alternate facilities if requested.”
In reality, barring transgender students from using the facilities that correspond with their gender identity stigmatizes trans youth, who are already at a greater risk of harassment, depression, self-harm, and other adverse reactions of the societal rejection so many of them face. Furthermore, while more than 200 trans-inclusive public accommodation ordinances exist in cities around the country, there has never been a verified instance of someone “pretending” to be trangender to gain access to women’s restrooms and harass cisgender (nontrans) women.
Nevertheless, just days later The Daily Signal peddled a specious story out of Seattle, where a cisgender man allegedly entered a women’s locker room at a public pool, took off his shirt, and pointed to trans-inclusive access policies as evidence that he had “a right to be there.” Pool staff reportedly removed the man from the locker room after female guests complained, and told local TV stations that the man did not identify, verbally or visually, as a woman.
While independent Seattle newspaper The Stranger reports that the incident “reeks of a stunt” — as it occurred just days after the Washington Senate refused to repeal a statewide rule that allows trans people to use the public facilities that correspond with their gender identity — The Daily Signal presents the story with little real-world context. The piece closes with a quote from the director of a Heritage Foundation division, the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, claiming that “Washington’s policy gives short shrift to the legitimate concerns of women who feel their privacy is being violated by the presence of men identifying as women in women’s locker rooms and showers.”