Trump-appointed judge under fire for failing to disclose interviews on civil rights despite warnings
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, the Trump appointee who has drawn nationwide attention – and condemnation – for suspending the FDA’s decades-old approval of a commonly-used abortion pill, mifepristone, is under fire once again, this time for failing to reveal during his confirmation process interviews he gave to right-wing Christian talk radio shows during which he shared his hard-right views on issues including same-sex marriage and contraception.
Nominees for federal judgeships are required to disclose during the confirmation process every public and published remark, “including copies of nearly everything they have ever written or said in public,” notes CNN, breaking this latest development on Kacsmaryk.
“In undisclosed radio interviews,” CNN reported, “Matthew Kacsmaryk referred to being gay as ‘a lifestyle’ and expressed concerns that new norms for ‘people who experience same-sex attraction’ would lead to clashes with religious institutions, calling it the latest in a change in sexual norms that began with ‘no-fault divorce’ and ‘permissive policies on contraception.'”
Kacsmaryk “made the unreported comments in two appearances in 2014 on Chosen Generation, a radio show that offers ‘a biblical constitutional worldview.’ At the time, Kacsmaryk was deputy general counsel at First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit religious liberty advocacy group known before 2016 as the Liberty Institute, and was brought on to the radio show to discuss ‘the homosexual agenda’ to silence churches and religious liberty, according to the show’s host.”
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CNN also aired a portion of one of the radio interviews Kacsmaryk had not disclosed.
On June 19, 2019, at 3:30 PM, the U.S. Senate confirmed Kacsmaryk in a 52-46 vote. No Democrats or independents voted for him. Only one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, voted against Kacsmaryk.
The headline at The Washington Post that day read: “Senate confirms Trump judicial nominee who called homosexuality ‘disordered’.”
“Mr. Kacsmaryk has demonstrated a hostility to the LGBTQ bordering on paranoia,” Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had said before the vote, The Post reported. “It’s unbelievable that this man has been nominated, and he’s not alone. The parade of narrow-minded, often bigoted people who were putting on the bench. . . . One Republican senator rightfully voiced concerns about this man’s fitness. Where are the others?”
Kacsmaryk had “described being transgender as a ‘mental disorder,’ called homosexuality ‘disordered’ and said that ‘sexual revolutionaries’ had made the unborn child and marriage secondary to ‘erotic desires of liberated adults.'”
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While some may find Kacsmaryk’s remarks stunning, surprising, and offensive, the LGBTQ community during his confirmation had raised and vehemently waved the red flag, only to be ignored by the Republican-majority Senate.
One day before he was confirmed, a headline here at NCRM read: “Republicans Advance Anti-LGBT Pro-Discrimination Christian Extremist Nominee for Lifetime Appointment.”
“Kacsmaryk is opposed by hundreds of LGBT and civil rights groups,” we reported at the time. “The Leadership Conference, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations calls Kacsmaryk ‘a right-wing extremist who has made a career out of dehumanizing LGBTQ people, debasing women, and assailing health care rights. He has expressed staunch opposition to the Equality Act, marriage equality, and promoted the dangerous lie that being transgender is a ’delusion.’ He has attacked Roe v. Wade and challenged the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive access.'”
We also reported that day on a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein from Lambda Legal and 74 other groups that also opposed Kacsmaryk.
NCRM also reported on a six-page report from the Alliance for Justice on Kacsmaryk, which concluded, “Kacsmaryk has built his legal career opposing equal rights for millions of his fellow citizens. His harsh and demeaning rhetoric regarding LGBTQ rights and reproductive rights sends a clear message that he has little regard for established legal precedent in this area. Kacsmaryk often couches his opposition to equal rights in religious language.”
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“Kacsmaryk’s statements demonstrate beliefs that discrimination against LGBTQ Americans is valid and should be condoned,” the AFJ added.
Despite all the documentation of Kacsmaryk’s extremist, Christian nationalist, anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion, anti-contraception views, one Republican, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, is now saying she was “duped” into voting for him.
“You want to talk about the ultimate bait and switch?” Murkowski told Politico Wednesday. “I feel like I got duped. I feel like voted for somebody based on what had been presented to me. And you do this? That is totally, totally wrong.”
As MSNBC’s Jordan Rubin notes online, “it doesn’t really matter what Murkowski or any other senator feels. Rather, the question is: What, if anything, are they going to do about it?”
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