Statue of justice

Civil rights advocates are denouncing Donald Trump’s move to nominate Gordon Giampietro to fill a vacancy on the Eastern District of the federal court in Wisconsin.

Giampietro has a record of statements against LGBTQ people — and supports discrimination against them.

“Sadly, Gordon Giampietro manages to stand out among a number of unfit, anti-LGBTQ judicial nominees put forward by the Trump-Pence administration,” said Wendy Strout, Wisconsin state manager for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group.

She added, “Giampietro’s extreme anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is deeply disturbing and should not be rewarded with a lifetime judicial appointment representing Wisconsin on the federal court. If confirmed, Wisconsinites could not count on Giampietro to uphold their civil rights.”

HRC provided details of Giampietro’s record, which were first reported by Buzzfeed.

In one interview in July 2015, Giampietro said a U.S. Supreme Court ruling for same-sex marriage “is worse than Roe because of the damage it does to civil society.”

He said Justice Anthony Kennedy “went off the rails years ago, in Lawrence against Texas,” the case that overturned Texas’ law criminalizing consensual same-sex sex.

Analiese Eicher, the program director of the progressive One Wisconsin Institute, said, “The most basic promise of our legal system is that everyone is equal before the law, and Giampietro has shown with his own words that he does not share those values.

“He is not qualified for a lifetime judicial appointment and he ought to do the right thing and withdraw himself from consideration for this nomination, and any others in the future.”

One Wisconsin Now, along with other progressive groups, also has challenged Trump’s nomination of Michael Brennan to fill the “Wisconsin seat” on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

Last August, Trump nominated Brennan, who’s described by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights as having a “far-right” judicial philosophy. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the nomination Jan. 24. 

Organizations and their members had called on U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley — the Iowa Republican who chairs the committee — not to hold a hearing and to urge Trump to withdraw the nomination, emphasizing the president ignored a longstanding bipartisan agreement between Wisconsin’s U.S. senators to recommend judicial candidates. 

The concern was summarized in a letter from People for the American Way’s Marge Baker to Grassley and committee members: “In nominating Brennan, President Trump simply ignored a longstanding bipartisan arrangement between Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin on recommending judicial nominees. The eight-year history of this vacancy is an indispensable backdrop to understanding why consideration of the nominee at a hearing would represent a dangerous surrender of congressional authority and senatorial influence to Donald Trump.” 

Johnson signaled his support for moving Brennan’s nomination forward by returning a so-called “blue slip” — but Baldwin did not.

Grassley, at the outset of Brennan’s hearing, dismissed concerns. He said the nominee has bipartisan support, an impressive legal career and as a state judge had a “well-qualified rating.”

On Feb. 15, the committee voted 11-10 along party lines for Brennan, sending the nomination to the full Senate.

Eicher, in a statement to the press, has said Brennan’s work on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s judicial selection committee gives progressives reason to worry.

“As the head of Scott Walker’s judicial selection committee, Michael Brennan thought Rebecca Bradley — with her virulent homophobia, antipathy to women who were the victims of date rape and opposition to legal contraception — and Daniel Kelly, who wrote comparing affirmative action to slavery, were qualified for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Anyone who thinks people like that are qualified to be state high court justices has no business being considered for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench.”


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