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Steven Menashi is a Trump advisor who works with Stephen Miller to destroy the lives of immigrants. Before going to work at the White House, Menashi was (acting) general counsel to Betsy DeVos's Department of Education, where he helped dismantle Title IX and fight for the rights of rapists. Throughout his adult life, Menashi has written a slew of articles and op-eds denouncing diversity, women, and LGBTQ rights organizations.

And now, he's about to be appointed to one of the most important federal appellate courts in the country. Oh, just for life.

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Yikes

As Vox put it, "Menashi is, to put it bluntly, the kind of person a president nominates if their goal is to 'own the libs.'"

In a series of opinion pieces, Menashi "denounced college anti-rape activists as "campus gynocentrists," accused an LGBTQ civil rights group of "incessantly exploit[ing] the slaying of Mathew Shepard for both financial and political benefit," and likened the practice of gathering racial data on university students to the Nazi "Nuremberg laws."

Isn't it cute how Nazi sympathizers always accuse other people of being Nazis?

Anyway, Menashi's garbage writings began in college. While attending Dartmouth, Menashi was a writer and the editor-in-chief of The Dartmouth Review, a conservative propagandist student newspaper. Other Dartmouth Review alums include white nationalist Laura Ingraham and convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza.

Menashi's resume includes helping Betsy DeVos destroy our public education system before moving to the White House to help Santa Monica Nazi Stephen Miller figure out new ways to round up non-white immigrants. Menashi's current position is "associate counsel to the president," which in the Trump regime is code for doer of evil.

As laid out by CNN's KFile:

Steven Menashi, a Stanford-trained lawyer who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, wrote dozens of editorials and blog posts in the late 1990s and early 2000s for a number of college and professional publications decrying "leftist multiculturalism" and "PC orthodoxy." He complained about "gynocentrists," wrote that the Human Rights Campaign "incessantly exploited the slaying of Matthew Shepard for both financial and political benefit" and argued that a Dartmouth fraternity that held a "ghetto party" wasn't being racist.

He attacked academic multiculturalism as "thoroughly bankrupt" and, in 2002, defended then-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi amid a worldwide controversy over comments asserting the superiority of Western civilization over Islamic culture -- for which Berlusconi himself ultimately apologized.

Confirming Menashi seems to be a high priority for Moscow Mitch and other Russian assets Republicans in the Senate. While some nominees languish for months before seeing the Senate floor, Menashi was formally nominated last Monday and had his confirmation hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. And boy, was it something.

Trump's Latest 'Doozie' Judge Nominee Struggles At Confirmation | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC www.youtube.com

The good

Menashi's confirmation hearing did not go well.

As noted by Rachel Maddow, even some of Trump's staunchest supporters in the Senate seemed skeptical of Menashi and pissed off at his refusal to answer basic questions. Senate Judiciary Chairman and Trump lapdog Lindsey Graham, in particular, was vocally critical of Menashi's writings and demeanor.

As Politico noted:

Some of the most heated moments in the hearing took place when senators grilled Menashi about his work for the White House. Menashi, for the most part, refused to provide many details.

"I'm just asking if you have worked or advised on the administration's policy of separating families at the border," asked Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the committee's ranking member. "I'm not asking what, just whether you've done it."

Graham even came to Feinstein's defense after Menashi responded briefly to similar questions from Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri.

"Mr. Menashi we're not going to do this, you're not going to answer his questions and not answer hers," Graham said.

After Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) described the hearing as a "worthless exercise," Graham advised Menashi to be more forthcoming and said that Democrats were only asking him questions about narrow subject matters.

And Graham wasn't the only Republican to show frustration with Menashi.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) also voiced frustration with Menashi after the senator asked a hypothetical question about school shootings and social media, as well as his views on the Bill of Rights.

"Counsel, you're a really smart guy but I wish you'd be more forthcoming," Kennedy told Menashi. "This isn't supposed to be a game, we're supposed to try to understand not how you're going to rule but how you're going to think."

Democrats roundly condemned Menashi as a terrible pick. After the hearing, Menashi's home-state senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, issued a joint statement blasting Menashi's "long, disturbing record" and calling his beliefs "outside the judicial mainstream."

As the top lawyer at the Department of Education, he played a critical role in executing Secretary DeVos's agenda to make it harder for campus sexual assault victims to seek justice, provide federal funding to schools that discriminate against LGBTQ students, roll back civil rights investigations, and undermine critical protections for student borrowers who were defrauded by their institutions.

The bad

Although Menashi's Judiciary Committee hearing did not go well, he's still likely to be confirmed by the Republican Senate.

As Charles Pierce put it for Esquire:

It seems that the administration* has managed to find a candidate for the federal bench that makes even some of the leading sheep in the Republican congressional caucus gag on his nomination...not that they won't vote for him or anything.

Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have aimed to confirm as many far right activist judges as they possibly can -- going as far as to kill the nominations of life-long rightwing Republicans for not being conservative enough -- and so far, they're succeeding. As NPR pointed out in August, "[i]n the 2 1/2 years that Trump has been in office, his administration has appointed nearly 1 in 4 of the nation's federal appeals court judges and 1 in 7 of its district court judges."

The very, very ugly

It turns out that there are a lot of reasons Senate Republicans might want to rush through Menashi's confirmation. And most of them are horrific things Menashi has written. Like many conservative activist judges, Menashi fancies himself a "textualist," so let's go straight to his words to see how he feels about things like rape, Islam, and why multiculturalism is bad.

On Take Back the Night marches and "gynocentrists":

"Take Back the Night" marches charge the majority of male students with complicity in rape and sexual violence (every man's a potential rapist, they say; it's part of the patriarchal culture)—not to mention the "Frats Rape" accusation that's chalked on the sidewalks from time to time. And while campus gynocentrists can throw around these accusations, there's no similar leeway for men. Offhand remarks or jokes can create a "hostile environment" or "stigmatize" women—and can be punished through official disciplinary action. After all, women may be the majority, they may be the beneficiaries of special academic programs and institutional support, but they remain, by definition, an oppressed minority. So men at Dartmouth and similar schools live, as [Christina Hoff] Sommers has written, "in a state of permanent culpability."

On "identity politics" and the Human Rights Campaign:

Identity politics subsumes individuals in a tribal unit, and defines them not according to the dictates of their conscience or mind, but according to the historical circumstances of the tribe, and its relationship to actual or would-be oppressors.

Elite institutions generally nourish the disposition. Sixty years after the promulgation of the Nuremberg laws, universities persist in cataloguing students according to race on college applications and official documents. And our cultural and political beliefs are said to be a function of our bloodlines. What a subversion of the liberation of mind promised by education.

When students are taught to see all of history through the lens of racial conflict, it's not surprising that they will adopt this view in their actual lives. Thus, campuses boil with racial tension, accusations of prejudice, and overt competition between "identity" groups, demanding parochial academic programs, resource centers, and so on for the benefit of their own kind, from a limited pool of funds.

When students so ideologized venture into the class-race-gender warrior groups, like HRC, it's not surprising that it would take more than the fact of someone's being human to elicit their empathy. It is, however, depressing.

On multiculturalism:

Academic multiculturalism[] has been exposed as thoroughly bankrupt ... It is now evident that multiculturalism was never about understanding non-Western cultures; it was about denigrating Western culture in order to promote self-esteem among "marginalized" groups.

On Silvio Belusconi's Islamophobic remarks after 9/11:

Appearing in Germany shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Italian prime minister said: "We must be aware of the superiority of our civilization, a system that has guaranteed well-being, respect for human rights, and in contrast with Islamic countries respect for religious and political rights." Mr. Berlusconi did nothing other than state the obvious. Yet politicos throughout Europe quickly denounced his comments and Mr. Berlusconi eventually recanted.

On culture:

The loss of high culture means nothing less than the failure to recognize the existence of an objective universe. "The idea that Western rationality must produce universally valid knowledge increasingly appears doubtful," the Australian sociologist R.W. Connell has written. "It is, on the face of it, ethnocentric." Mr. Connell points to efforts made by some Muslim philosophers to ground science in different, non-Western assumptions about the world, producing "Islamic science" as an alternative to Newton and Einstein.

One can only wish that Islamist terrorists would follow such advice, quips Mr. Windschuttle, and shun Western technology in favor of armaments produced by Muslim science the most recent innovation of which was the Mameluke curved sabre in the 14th century.

Menashi is also one of those people who loooooooves "free speech" for racists and sexists, but opposes free speech when it comes to criticizing racists and sexists. I wonder why.

The Principle of Community, while cute, is very vague. One could envision Dartmouth's Star Chamber sitting in judgment as to whether a student has been sufficiently "appreciative of the diversity of the community," and condemning him on that basis. It would be outrageously arbitrary and oppressive, charging people with crimes of thought and opinion—a practice all the more disgraceful in an academic community.

Informally, though, that's what Dartmouth is building. Since the "ghetto party" uproar of 1998, the hubbub over Alpha Chi's "luau party" two years ago, and assorted controversies over "offensive" T-shirts, what has been in evidence on campus is a regime of intimidation in which students are chastised for unpopular speech and expression, and keelhauled into publicly confessing their ignorance and pledging loyalty to regnant ideologies.

Here are a few more choice Menashi quotes, collected by activist Kristin Mink:

And these are just a few choice excerpts of the disgusting drivel Menashi was espoused.

Yup, this is definitely the bad place

Yeah, so all of this is bad. The Second Circuit is one of the most important courts in the country. Just one step below the Supreme Court, the Second Circuit hears all federal appeals from Connecticut, Vermont, and New York, and as such is a hub for major cases.

After Trump announced his intent to nominate Menashi to the Second Circuit last month, Maddow did a good and horrifying segment about the importance of our federal courts and Menashi's penchant for ethnonationalism:

Donald Trump Nominates Advocate Of 'Ethnonationalism' For Judgeship | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC www.youtube.com

Everything sucks. If Menashi is confirmed to the federal bench, it will be further proof for my theory that the world actually did end in 2012 and this is hell.

But Menashi hasn't been confirmed yet, so we still have some work to do. Call your senators, especially if you live in a red state. The fight isn't over yet, and several top Republicans are already skeptical of Menashi's record. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and they'll connect you. Don't let this be the bad place.

[Vox / Maddow / Maddow again / AFJ / KFile / Esquire / Kristin Mink / Politico / NPR]

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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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