Deputy assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, Lawrence VanDyke, was nominated by Trump for the Court of Appeals as part of the ninth circuit. However, the American Bar Association strongly urged his confirmation to be rejected due to the nominee lacking “humility” and an “open mind.”
Chair of the American Bar Association’s standing committee, William C Hubbard, wrote in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, “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 report highlights VanDyke’s prior history with anti-LGBT+ organisations and his opposition to same-sex marriage. It details how he represented and worked for the homophobic Alliance Defending Freedom, which was titled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
Senator Josh Hawley asked VanDyke in response to the report, “Did you say that you wouldn’t be fair to members of the LGBT community?” Breaking down in tears, VanDyke responded to the criticism by saying, “No, 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.”
"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."
— The Hill (@thehill) October 30, 2019
As the American Bar Association highlights in the report, “Mr. VanDyke has labored throughout his career to undercut civil and human rights, including LGBTQ equality, reproductive freedom, environmental protection, and gun safety, among other critical issues.”
The American Bar Association also draws attention to the “disturbing lack of diversity” in Trump’s nominations for the position. 17 of Trump’s circuit court nominations are all men, with 14 out of the 17 being white. The report states, “Our nation’s great diversity should be reflected in its government institutions, especially the federal judiciary, which serves as the ultimate guardian of our rights and liberties.”
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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