Trump-Pence’s anti-LGBTQ nominee confirmed for lifetime judicial appointmentAround the Nation, Breaking News, Top Highlights Tuesday, December 12th, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate voted today to confirm Leonard Steven Grasz to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Grasz was confirmed with a vote of 50-48.
LGBT and civil rights groups were quick to denounce the confirmation.
“We are deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans have voted to confirm a nominee who is clearly unfit to serve as a federal judge,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “Grasz’s confirmation is in line with the Trump-Pence administration’s alarming trend of advancing under-qualified nominees with terrible anti-equality records. This radical ideological transformation of our justice system will lead to long-term, harmful consequences that will live well beyond the Trump-Pence administration.”
Grasz served on the board of a non-profit that backed the abusive practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ minors and was unwilling to clarify his own views during his confirmation hearing. He said that language protecting people on the basis of “sexual orientation” opened the door for protections for pedophiles and argued Nebraska should not recognize marriage equality in other states. Grasz also opposed allowing same-sex parents to adopt. The American Bar Association deemed him unqualified to serve for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals seat.
AFJ President Nan Aron released the following statement: “Today the Senate’s standards for confirmation of a federal appellate judge sank even lower with the confirmation of a nominee, Steve Grasz, whose overt biases and unprofessional demeanor earned him a unanimous rating of Not Qualified from the American Bar Association. Not since 2006 has a federal appellate court nominee unanimously rated unqualified by the ABA even gotten a hearing, much less a confirmation. Grasz’s unfitness for the bench goes beyond his failure to meet the threshold set by the ABA: his record amply demonstrates that he is deeply hostile to the rights of others, most notably women and LGBTQ individuals, and raises questions about whether he would properly uphold Supreme Court precedent on the bench. Sadly, people living and working within the Eighth Circuit will have to pay the price for this mindless rubber-stamping of another Trump nominee.”
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights blasted the confirmation, “Yet again, the Senate Republicans have rubber stamped an extreme and highly troubling Trump judicial nominee, one who is clearly not qualified to serve as a federal judge.
“Mr. Grasz is only the fourth nominee since 1989 to receive a unanimous Not Qualified rating from the American Bar Association (ABA). This rating was based on the nominee’s local reputation for bias, lack of open-mindedness, and offensive demeanor. A person with those qualities should not serve a lifetime appointment on the federal bench. He is also a right-wing extremist who has worked throughout his career to restrict LGBTQ rights and reproductive freedom.
“Senate Republicans must start serving as the independent and separate branch of government they are designed to be under the Constitution, and reject extreme nominees who are unfit to serve for life on our federal courts.”
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