Donald Trump on Thursday congratulated Lawrence VanDyke, an anti-LGBTQ religious extremist, on his confirmation to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Sasha Buchert, Senior Attorney at Lambda Legal, issued the following statement: “Lawrence VanDyke’s confirmation represents the latest affront to the LGBT community by an administration that appears to revel in its disdain for LGBT people and our families. As outlined in our letter of opposition, Mr. VanDyke’s long history of working to diminish the civil rights of the LGBT community renders it wholly implausible that he is capable of administering fair and impartial justice. In fact, it is precisely this concern that led the American Bar Association (ABA) to rate him as ‘Not Qualified’ for this lifetime position of public trust. For our legal system to have credibility, people must have confidence that judges will follow the facts and the law, and yet Mr. VanDyke has refused to disavow his prior statements promoting harmful and unfounded myths about LGBT people, including the long-since discredited notion that marriage equality will somehow ‘hurt families, and consequently children and society.’ And yet, once again, Senate Republicans have chosen to advance another dangerous ideologue to a position that he will occupy for decades to come. It is impossible to overstate the damage that is being done to the credibility of our system of justice by the confirmation of judges like Lawrence VanDyke. Particularly on days like today, we call on all people who believe in equal justice under law to make their voices heard and demand better from their elected representatives in Washington.”
You may recall that VanDyke broke down in tears in October under questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee about a letter sent to them by the American Bar Association which called him “not qualified” because of his attitudes toward LGBTQ people.
Said the letter: “Some interviewees raised concerns about whether Mr. VanDyke would be fair to persons who are gay, lesbian, or otherwise part of the LGBTQ community. Mr. VanDyke would not say affirmatively that he would be fair to any litigant before him, notably members of the LGBTQ community.”
Added the letter: “Mr. VanDyke’s accomplishments are offset by the assessments of interviewees that Mr. VanDyke is arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules. There was a theme that the nominee lacks humility, has an ‘entitlement’ temperament, does not have an open mind, and does not always have a commitment to being candid and truthful.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights writes: “Mr. VanDyke has represented, given speeches to, and worked as a legal intern for the homophobic Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization so extreme that it has been designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Alliance Defending Freedom has defended proposed laws to require sterilization of transgender individuals seeking to change their name and gender on their birth certificate, and they have defended criminalizing same-sex sexual activity. Mr. VanDyke’s deep and lasting ties to this fringe organization demonstrate his acceptance of its radical agenda.”
Asked Sen. Josh Hawley: “Did you say that you wouldn’t be fair to members of the LGBT community?”
Amid tears, VanDyke responded: “I did not say that. I do not believe that. It is a fundamental belief of mine that all people are created in the image of God, and they should all be treated with dignity and respect.”