LGBTQ+

Judicial Nominee with Anti-LGBTQ Record Cries When Confronted

A Trump-nominated judicial pick started crying when he was asked about his anti-LGBTQ history.

A judicial nominee started crying when a letter from the American Bar Association that called him “unqualified” was read out loud to him. 

Lawrence VanDyke was nominated for the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by President Trump. In a scathing letter written by the ABA and read aloud by Sen. Joshua Hawley (R-MO), VanDyke is called “lazy,” “arrogant,” and “not qualified to serve the bench.” 

“Did you say that you wouldn’t be fair to members of the LGBT community?” Hawley asked VanDyke.

“Senator, I— That was, um. [crying] That was the part of the letter— [crying] I did not say that. [crying] I apologize,” VanDyke said. “I’m sorry, 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, Senator.”

VanDyke has ties to the anti-LGBTQ+ group Alliance Defending Freedom, a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group that has sought to make being gay a crime. 

Their exchange continued: 

Hawley: “Can you commit today to this committee—if confirmed, that you would treat every litigant before you with respect and with dignity?”

VanDyke: “Absolutely, Senator. I would not have allowed myself to be nominated for this position if I did not think I could do that.”

Hawley: “Including members of the LGBT community, and any other community that has historically been disadvantaged from this country?”

VanDyke: “Absolutely, Senator.”

VanDyke’s nomination by Trump was the result of the president inheriting a whopping 88 district & 17 appeals court vacancies after a GOP-controlled Senate blocked former President Barack Obama from filling the seats. 

Trump at one point said he “will set records in terms of the number of judges. That has consequences 40 years out, depending on the age of the judge, but 40 years out ... Many, many are in the pipeline. The level of quality is extraordinary.”

The vast majority of Trump’s picks have been young, white men, and at least six have received a “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association.

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