A few days ago Politico reported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was trying to reshape the courts should the GOP lose its majority in the November elections.
He may get his wish. After a tight 50-47 vote, anti-LGBTQ extremist Kyle Duncan was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Tuesday. The Trump-Pence administration nominee has now earned a lifetime seat on the federal bench.
LGBTQ advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign called on the Senate to reject the 46-year old’s nomination due to the attorney’s troubling record on LGBTQ rights.
“In a string of anti-equality nominees from the Trump-Pence administration, Kyle Duncan stands out for his long career fighting to limit the legal protections for LGBTQ Americans,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy in a statement. “Americans deserve judges we can trust to apply our laws faithfully and administer equal justice under those laws. Kyle Duncan fails that test.”
“It is unconscionable that the Senate has rubber stamped yet another unfit and extreme nominee to a lifetime appointment to the federal bench,” he continued.
Duncan represented the Gloucester County School Board in the famed transgender bathroom lawsuit involving trans student Gavin Grimm. Grimm fought for his right to use the bathroom corresponding to his gender identity at his Virginia high school, a case which was later turned away by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The anti-LGBTQ nominee also attempted to uphold Louisiana’s bid to maintain a statewide same-sex marriage ban. Duncan wrote an amicus brief on behalf of the Pelican State and 14 other statesproclaiming the law did not undermine the Supreme Court’s historic decision to legalize same-sex marriage. He also claimed that Obergefell v. Hodges was an “abject failure” which “imperils civic peace.”
Duncan further added that the marriage ruling “raises a question about the legitimacy of the Court” in a 2015 interview.
Here’s the cherry on top: Duncan once argued that a same-sex couple shouldn’t have the ability to have their names listed on their child’s birth certificate. Despite being married in New York, the child was adopted in Louisiana, which didn’t recognize same-sex marriages at the time of the adoption.
Unsurprisingly, 39 LGBTQ groups put out a statement opposing Duncan’s appointment, including Equality California, Transgender Law Center, and The Trevor Project.
Lambda Legal called Duncan “one of President Trump’s worst nominees.”
“Kyle Duncan has made a career for himself targeting LGBTQ children and families,” CEO Rachel B. Tiven said in a statement. “The idea that Mr. Duncan will cast aside his bigoted beliefs overnight, and miraculously transform into an impartial judge, is ludicrous and reckless. His career has been one long grudge match against women and LGBTQ Americansnow the Trump/Pence Administration is making him a referee.”
“No one with Kyle Duncan’s record of bias should ever serve as a judge,” she concluded.
Duncan also famously defended Hobby Lobby in a Supreme Court case over whether the crafts store was compelled under the Affordable Care Act to provide contraceptives to employees.