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Trump judicial nominee and known bigot Lawrence VanDyke broke down in tears while testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, and it's really just a glorious sight to behold.

Trump had nominated VanDyke to a lifetime position on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, by far the largest circuit court in the country. Naturally, VanDyke is really not a fan of LGBTQ people, women, reproductive rights, the environment, or protecting people from gun violence.

The American Bar Association (ABA) issued a scathing letter about VanDyke earlier this week, saying he was not qualified to sit on the federal bench. After dozens of interviews with colleagues, judges, and other who have worked with VanDyke, the ABA was told by a number of people that he was "arrogant, lazy, not committed to truth," as well as likely to be biased against LGBTQ people.

Republican sycophant Josh Hawley brought up the ABA letter in an attempt to discredit its account, and in response VanDyke started sobbing. And honestly, it's terrific.

Moment Trumps judicial nominee Lawrence VanDyke plays the emotional card www.youtube.com

Someone should have told him crying only impresses Trump when it's followed by a screaming rant about how you are ENTITLED to sexually assault women and also YOU LIKE BEER.


And can we all just take a moment to appreciate the amazing looks on the faces of the women behind VanDyke in this shot? Priceless.

The ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary reviews all nominees for federal court to determine whether they are qualified to be federal judges. To get a full picture of a prospective judge's suitability for the bench, the ABA does its homework. In VanDyke's case:

The evaluator's Formal Report is based on 60 interviews with a representative cross section of lawyers (43), judges (16), and one other person who have worked with the nominee in the four states where he has worked and who are in a position to assess his professional qualifications. They include but are not limited to attorneys who worked with him and who opposed him in cases and judges before whom he has appeared at oral argument. The evaluator obtained detailed background materials such as more than 600 pages of publicly produced emails involving and/or written by Mr. VanDyke, news reports where Mr. VanDyke had been interviewed, and articles and opinions written about him.

Although the committee noted that VanDyke is a "highly educated lawyer with nearly 14 years of experience in appellate law, including one year as a law clerk, an associate in a law firm, and as a Solicitor General for over five-plus years, first in Montana and then Nevada," they nonetheless found him to be not qualified.

Why's that? Well ...

Mr. VanDyke's accomplishments are offset by the assessments of interviewees that Mr. VanDyke is arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-today practice including procedural rules. There was a theme that the nominee lacks humility, has an "entitlement" temperament, does not have an open mind, and does not always have a commitment to being candid and truthful.

Oh, and he's also a huge bigot.

Some interviewees raised concerns about whether Mr. VanDyke would be fair to persons who are gay, lesbian, or otherwise part of the LGBTQ community. Mr. VanDyke would not say affirmatively that he would be fair to any litigant before him, notably members of the LGBTQ community.

The ABA's arguments are well-taken. VanDyke has argued that same-sex marriage is bad for children, promoted so-called "conversion therapy," opposed hate crime laws, and attacked what he called the "chimera of 'tolerance'" that comes with civil rights for LGBTQ people.

After his nomination to the Ninth Circuit, VanDyke filled out a Senate questionnaire, where he called Christian Legal Society v. Martinez one of the 10 most significant cases of his legal career. VanDyke was not a party to that case, but felt the need to participate as amicus, in order to argue that college student groups should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ students, in violation of university nondiscrimination policies. He called nondiscrimination policies "oppressive and irrational." He opposed marriage equality and supported the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Supreme Court rejected VanDyke's arguments in each of these cases. VanDyke has also worked for, represented, and given speeches to the anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

As is generally the case, LGBTQ people are not the only ones who VanDyke doesn't think should have rights. Unsurprisingly, he also hates women, girls, and other people who can get pregnant. He co-wrote a brief supporting Arizona's unconstitutional abortion ban in Horne v. Isaacson, where he asked the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade. He supported fundamentalists who harass women outside abortion clinics in McCullen v. Coakley, despite the fact that it was challenging a law similar to one in Montana that it was his duty to enforce. In Planned Parenthood of Montana v. State of Montana, he defended a dangerous parental consent law that forced girls to go to court in order to get around parental consent, even if their parents were abusive or they had been raped by a relative.

Because VanDyke is a typical right-wing true believer nutjob, he has also opposed environmental laws, supported corporate polluting, opposed gun control laws, defended the Keystone XL pipeline, opposed rules increasing employee eligibility for overtime pay, tried to take groundwater rights away from Native Americans, and tried to take DACA status away from Dreamers who came to the United States as undocumented children. When he unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Montana Supreme Court in 2014, six retired justices publicly opposed him.

The ABA isn't the only organization to oppose VanDyke's nomination. Progressive and civil rights groups like the Alliance for Justice, Planned Parenthood, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights have all opposed VanDyke's nomination. And if you need any more evidence that VanDyke should not be making decisions that affect millions of Americans, he has also been supported by bootlickers like the Federalist Society and Carrie Severino of the "Judicial Crisis Network."

Trump has already appointed far too many dangerous bigots to federal courts, but even among that distinguished group, VanDyke stands out as particularly toxic. We can only begin to imagine what kind of damage he will do if put on the Ninth Circuit.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on VanDyke's nomination sometime next month. And right now, our only hope is that some Republicans grow a conscience before that.

[ABA]

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Jamie Lynn Crofts
Jamie Lynn Crofts is sick of your bullshit. When she’s not wrangling cats, she’s probably writing about nerdy legal stuff, rocking out at karaoke, or tweeting about god knows what. Jamie would kindly like to remind everyone that it’s perfectly legal to tell Bob Murray to eat shit.
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