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04/19/2007


White House Rejects Gay Judicial Nominee for Challenging Use of Phrases 'Under God' and 'Merry Christmas'

You may recall that in February, New York Senator Chuck Schumer nominated Daniel Alter, then National Director of the Civil Rights Division of the Anti-Defamation League, to serve as a judge in the Southern District federal court. The White House has rejected the nomination, the Washington Blade reports:

Alter But informed sources told the Washington Blade that the White House rejected Alter’s nomination because of remarks he reportedly made regarding a case challenging inclusion of the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. In addition, the White House reportedly objected to remarks that Alter made suggesting that merchants not wish shoppers “Merry Christmas” during the holidays.

In a 2005 article published by Cybercast News Service, Alter is quoted as saying that a general holiday greeting is more appropriate and inclusive for retailers as opposed to saying “Merry Christmas.”

“It seems both from a business … and a community perspective, that if merchandisers were going to do that … they would try to wish those in the community who may not share in celebrating Christmas a happy holiday as well,” Alter is quoted as saying.

“Our diversity has made us great and will continue to make us great and ['Merry Christmas'] undermines both the holiday spirit as well as the message I think Americans should be sending to each other,” Alter reportedly continued.

The 2005 quotes were apparently reprinted in a 2008 CNS article that is stored in the archives on the organization’s website.

More at the Blade.

Alter would have become the first openly gay man to sit on the federal bench if confirmed.


Schumer Nominates First Openly Gay Man to Federal Bench

New York Senator Chuck Schumer has nominated National Director of the Civil Rights Division of the Anti-Defamation League, attorney Daniel Alter, to serve as a judge in the Southern District federal court:

Alter "Mr. Alter is a history-making pick, as he is the first openly gay male nominated for the federal court in American history. Schumer laid out several reasons Alter would make an excellent fit for the job. Schumer said that Alter’s stellar legal background, close ties to New York, even-handedness, temperament and demonstrated leadership skills would make him an excellent choice for the Southern District Court. Schumer also said that he is highly capable and very qualified for the position...Alter is not only a legal expert in terrorism and security; he is a strong advocate for civil rights. As the National Director of the Civil Rights Division of the Anti-Defamation League, Daniel led the ADL’s charge against hate crimes, both at home and abroad."

Said Schumer: “Daniel Alter couldn’t be a more perfect choice. He is a brilliant attorney who possesses the knowledge, balanced views and temperament required of a federal judge. His outstanding leadership skills, his commitment to justice, and his extensive experience make him an exceptional choice for a position on the federal bench. I’m proud to nominate Daniel Alter. Period. But I am equally proud to nominate him because he is a history-maker who will be the first openly gay male judge in American history.”

DC Agenda reports: "His appointment is subject to Senate confirmation. For judicial nominations, presidents traditionally abide by the recommendations made by the senior senator from the state where there’s a vacancy, which in the case of New York is Schumer.


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