Trump 9th U.S. Circuit nominee cries at hearing during questioning on attitude toward LGBTQ people

October 31, 2019


Oct 30, 2019. Lawrence VanDyke, a nominee for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, was responding to a question from Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, about a report from the American Bar Association. The ABA’s Federal Judiciary Committee voted that VanDyke was “not qualified” for the position, citing concerns that he “lacks humility” and “does not have an open mind.”

“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-to-day practice including procedural rules,” an ABA letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee reads.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who is among those supporting VanDyke, clearly found the allegations surprising. Hawley sought to understand whether there was any truth in the American Bar Association’s assertion that VanDyke “would not say affirmatively that he would be fair to any litigant before him, notably members of the LGBTQ community.”

VanDyke started to answer, but his emotions caught in his throat. “Senator, that was the part of the letter …” VanDyke began, trailing off as he began to cry. “I did not say that.”

After a moment, VanDyke continued, “No, I did not say that. I do not believe that.” He said if confirmed, he would “absolutely” commit to treating every person in his court with dignity and respect. Hawley called the contents of the letter “outrageous allegations” and “hearsay.”
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Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, blasted the ABA for its review as biased, and called for it to be considered a special interest group. The letter “would almost be humorous in an inflammatory way were it not so personal, were it not so unfounded,” Lee said. “The ABA has essentially called you a homophobic bigot… with no apparent basis.”

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