More than one in three appellate court judges appointed by President Donald Trump have demonstrated a history of anti-LGBTQ bias.
That's according to a report released Monday by Lambda Legal. The report, titled "Trump's Judicial Assault on LGBT Protections: After Three Years of Trump Nominees, Bias and Bigotry Remain the Norm," finds the administration, enabled by the Republican Senate, has leveled lasting damage to a judicial branch that often served to protect the rights of marginalized communities.
"The damage that is being done to our federal judiciary may be this administration's most lasting and dangerous legacy," said Kevin Jennings, CEO of Lambda Legal.
If there's something especially noteworthy about Trump's judicial appointments, it's been that having a Republican Senate enabled an aggressive transformation of the federal courts. Indeed, it's something Republicans have boasted about as Trump braces for his reelection campaign in 2020.
Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican with a homophobic record, bragged on Twitter that the GOP Senate confirmed 13 judges just last week. "Impeachment is better for ratings,but what is going to matter more & longer?" he said. "A partisan impeachment? Or 187 judges including 1/4 of appellate courts?"
\u201cMedia obsessed with Dem impeaching @POTUS & ignored GOP Senate confirming 13 more judges this week alone.\n\nImpeachment is better for ratings,but what is going to matter more & longer? \n\nA partisan impeachment? \n\nOr 187 judges including 1/4 of appellate courts?\n\nHappy Sunday!\n\n\ud83d\ude00\u201d
But Lambda Legal said there's much to fear with the court metamorphosis. It noted 50 Trump appointments have been confirmed in his first three years in office, compared to 25 appointments from President Barack Obama in that time, 30 for President George W. Bush, and 28 for President Bill Clinton.
The 36 percent with anti-LGBTQ views include Steven Menashi, who received a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Menashi has accused the Human Rights Campaign of exploiting Matthew Shepard's murder, denounced "Take Back the Night" marches against sexual assault, and endorsed "enthnonationalism," a belief that societies perform better when less racially diverse.
Another controversial appointment? Lawrence VanDyke,who wept in hearings when asked about an anti-LGBTQ record that includes arguing that marriage equality will harm children and society. He's also one of seven confirmed Trump judges listed as "Not Qualified" by the American Bar Association.
Trump has also elevated to the bench Eric Murphy, who argued in front of the Supreme Court against the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision that made marriage equality the law of the land, and Chad Readler, a Justice Department official involved in a number of administration efforts to curtail LGBTQ rights.
"Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues have commandeered the federal judiciary in service of a dangerous agenda that seeks to deny LGBT people and other vulnerable groups the promise of 'equal justice under law.' After three years of sustained attack on the integrity of our federal courts, our system of justice is now indisputably in a state of crisis," Jennings said.