Pro-gay senator backs judicial nominee

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com May 02 2003 12:00 AM ET

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Thursday he will support controversial U.S. attorney Mike Mosman's expected nomination as federal judge. The announcement followed a meeting Wednesday night between the two men at which Mosman stated his "clear commitment" to equal rights for gays and lesbians, according to Wyden. Mosman, 46, has been criticized by gay rights groups over memos he wrote in 1986 as a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court justice Lewis Powell. The memos urged Powell to uphold Georgia's sodomy law. The Supreme Court, led by Powell, ruled in Bowers v. Hardwick that states had a right to declare gay sex a crime. Powell later expressed regret for the decision.

Two gay rights groups also have announced that they are withdrawing their opposition to Mosman. After meeting with Mosman last week, Basic Rights Oregon and the Human Rights Campaign said they are satisfied that he is not biased against gays, lesbians, or bisexuals. Mosman has not been formally nominated, but he has the backing of Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) and is considered the Bush administration's top candidate for a U.S. district court seat in Portland. Smith said Thursday that he expects Mosman's nomination to be formalized within a week.