Monday, January 28, 2019

After Caving On The Shutdown, Loser Trump Throws His Hate-Filled Backers A Bone


Forever beleaguered in finding enough red meat for his-- in ex-Senator Alfonse D’Amato's words-- right-wing whack-a-doodle base, Trump wants to pivot away from his embarrassing loss to Pelosi over the anti-Hispanic vanity-wall to crapping all over the LGBTQ community. The asshole's latest: revving up the dead nomination for Eric Murphy Ohio Solicitor General to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Murphy was the attorney who argued against marriage equality before the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges. Trump nominated him for the judgeship 7 months ago. As home-state senator, Sherrod Brown blocked the nomination (did not return his blue slip) and the nomination died. Last week Trump renominated him. Over the weekend, the Washington Post ran an OpEd by Jim Obergefell denouncing not just Murphy and the nomination but Rob Portman, Ohio's other senator, for supporting it. "In March 2013," wrote Obergefell," Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) broke with his Republican colleagues and penned an op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch supporting same-sex couples’ right to marry, a conclusion he reached shortly after his son came out as gay. In the article, he expressed his desire for each of his three children to have 'the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment' in all aspects of their lives. So I was surprised to find out that Portman was supporting the nomination of Eric Murphy to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit even after Murphy argued against same-sex marriage at the Supreme Court."
Barely four years ago, Mr. Murphy made a forceful argument that my marriage was unconstitutional. As the attorney tasked with defending Ohio’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage, he used dog-whistles such as “traditional marriage” in his brief to the Supreme Court and argued that “bigotry” had nothing to do with why the state refused to recognize my lawful marriage to my late husband.

The court rejected Murphy’s arguments and overturned that law. In a landmark opinion written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy-- for whom Murphy himself once clerked-- the Supreme Court declared that “it demeans gays and lesbians for the State to lock them out of a central institution of the Nation’s society.” Gay couples “ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law,” Kennedy wrote. “The Constitution grants them that right.”

Still, if Murphy had been successful, John and I, and tens of thousands of couples like us, would have been denied the right to marry and forced to live as second-class citizens.

Now, Murphy seeks to be a judge who will decide cases such as mine; his renomination was sent to the Senate this week. As a federal judge, Murphy would have immense power and influence over the rights of the LGBTQ community. Judges can decide if presidents can ban transgender soldiers from serving in the military. Judges can decide if people can be fired from their job for being gay. Such decisions would affect people such as me, Senator Portman’s son, and thousands of other LGBTQ people living in the 6th Circuit states of Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.

In light of his past arguments, Murphy must show he is capable of being fair and unbiased toward the LGBTQ community.

Now that he is no longer obligated to defend the old Ohio law, he should explicitly affirm that my Supreme Court case was correctly decided and vow that discrimination against the LGBTQ community would have no place in his courtroom. Surely there is no longer anything stopping Murphy from showing the same respect and dignity to the LGBTQ community as Kennedy and Portman have.

Until Murphy makes such a statement, Portman and his fellow senators should oppose his nomination.
Trump wants a quick "win" for his base after his embarrassing defeat at the hands of Pelosi over the wall. I was happy to see that all the Blue America-endorsed congressional candidates are questioning his re-nomination of Murphy. Today Austin-based congressional candidate Mike Siegel remarked that "Unfortunately, despite high-profile losses for Trump and his party on the government shutdown, ACA repeal, and a few other issues, the Republicans continue to radically reshape our judiciary. The antidote will be the 2020 elections. With a Democratic Congress, we must finally enact comprehensive civil rights legislation that guarantees LGBT equality in every way, from employment and housing to marriage, adoption, and inheritance. In the meantime, we must oppose Murphy and other extreme nominees and hope to embarrass the GOP on a case-by-case basis."

Goal ThermometerPlease consider contributing to Mike, Marie and Eva by clicking on the Blue America 2020 thermometer on the right. Needless to say, Illinois progressive Democrat, Marie Newman who's in a hot primary battle against one of the last virulent homophobes in the Democratic congressional delegation, Blue Dog Dan Lipinski, is just as disappointed in the nomination. Lipinski's voting record against the LGBTQ community is startling and there are even Republicans who are less filled with bigotry and ignorance. Marie is no fan of Trump's nomination. "I would certainly hope to see his nomination rejected," she told us today. "This is simple, Eric Murphy and his supporters want to divide the country and ruin our economy. Murphy’s goal is simply to keep folks out of the economy and prevent equality. It is morally wrong and terrible for the economy."

Eva Putzova, the Blue America-endorsed Arizona progressive in a primary against another reactionary Blue Dog, also has strong feelings about these kinds of divisive nominations by Trump. She told us that "While most Americans agree that 'love is love' and all people should be equal in pursuing happiness no matter where their partner is on the gender spectrum, it's troubling that in 2019 Eric Murphy's name even comes up in the nomination process. People who think some members of our society are less than others because of who they choose to love should have no place at any level of our judicial system."

I reached our old buddy, 2018 congressional candidate Dan Canon, a prominent Indiana civil rights lawyer who was one of the attorneys who won the Obergefell Supreme Court case. This is what he had to say about the Murphy re-nomination today:
The Sixth Circuit is already among the most hostile venues in the country for individual rights, especially where it concerns the rights of women and minorities. This is amply demonstrated by the court's ruling in Love v. Beshear, which later became known as Obergefell. When the court ruled against us in that case, it eventually led to marriage equality in all 50 states, but it was a close call-- I'm not sure it would turn out the same way today. At the time, the Supreme Court was turning down cases from other circuits because they all reached the same conclusion-- that same-sex marriage bans violated the Fourteenth Amendment rights of committed couples. The Sixth Circuit was the only federal appellate court to say otherwise. That was over four years ago.

Since then, Trump has been committed to dragging all the federal courts even further to the right by appointing inexperienced extremists to lifetime positions-- positions that give them tremendous power of the lives of other people. Democrats and activist organizations have got to take this seriously, and develop a strategy to mobilize people on this issue. It's not enough to raise hell when Trump appoints an extremist to the Supreme Court. The lower courts-- for which Senate Democrats have consistently provided rubber stamps on Trump's nominees-- are far more consequential when it comes to justice (or injustices) that affects the day-to-day lives of women, minorities, the working classes, and the poor. The trial and intermediate appellate judges that Trump silently installs are going to be the first-- and often last-- word on voting rights, abortion, employment discrimination, capital punishment, corporate accountability, immigration, etc. It is absolutely critical that voters become more engaged, and vocal, about all judicial appointments.

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At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Portman can't go back on his LGBTQ stance without suffering political damage. What else does Murphy advocate that Portman wants?


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