LGBTQ orgs urge U.S. Senate to reject federal judge nominee

WASHINGTON — Lambda Legal and 18 other local, state and national LGBTQ organizations called for the U.S. Senate to reject Stephen Clark for the U.S. District Court for the District of Missouri.

Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal chief strategy officer and legal director, issued the following statement on Wednesday:

“The Trump-Pence Administration has put forth a nominee with a clear record of bias against LGBT people for a lifetime appointment to the federal court. Once again, the U.S. Senate stands poised to rubber-stamp the nomination. Clark is clearly at odds with the principles of equality and dignity under the law, particularly with regard to LGBT people.

“Lambda Legal and our peer organizations will continue to urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject nominees whose bias threatens the fair administration of justice. Stephen Clark is one such nominee, and we urge Chairman Grassley, Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, and all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote against his confirmation to the United States Eastern District for the District of Missouri.

“Clark’s record on LGBT issues is disturbing. He has asserted his belief that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage. How can more than 160,000 LGBT Missourians have any hope of receiving justice from a judge who refuses to accept the Supreme Court’s decision that the right to marry extends to same-sex couples?

“Other aspects of Clark’s record indicate that he will be a dangerous ideologue rather than a fair-minded jurist. He has stated that he would look to the ‘founding colonies, the history of state statutes, and long-established traditions’ when analyzing due process and civil rights claims. He unapologetically ignores centuries of progress and law that have extended the protections of the U.S. Constitution to historically oppressed populations.

“In an amicus brief submitted in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, Clark argued that ACA contraceptive coverage policy is ‘arbitrary and capricious’ because the government did not properly consider the false assertion that contraceptive care ‘works directly against women’s health.’

“Clark’s shameless reliance on junk science to advance his ideologically driven litigation indicates that, like this President, he is someone who is willing to cast aside facts when they contradict his preferred outcome. That is the last thing we need in a federal judge.”

“We urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject Stephen Clark’s nomination because his appointment to the federal court will cause grave harm to LGBT people, as well as to all communities that rely on the federal judiciary of the United States to administer fair and impartial justice.”

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