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Anti-LGBTQ Trump Pick Confirmed to Lifetime Appointment on Federal Court Bench

by Kilian Melloy
Monday Mar 11, 2019

The Trump Administration added still another jurist to a high court on March 5 with the confirmation of Allison Jones Rushing, a 36-year-old lawyer who has little experience, but, say LGBTQ advocates, has all the right ideological qualifications to make her an appealing pick to the hard right, NBC News reported.

Lambda Legal spokesperson Ian Wilhite told NBC that Rushing — who was confirmed to a lifetime appointment on the bench of the 4th Circuit Court in a vote that followed predictable party lines — has had a "brief legal career," but that she has a history of working with "one of the most extreme anti-LGBT organizations operating in this country today, the Alliance Defending Freedom."

The ADF, various media outlets noted, has been listed as a "hate group" by watchdog organization Southern Poverty Law Center because of its ongoing work to undo LGBTQ equality.

Added Whilhite, "Rather than disqualifying her from consideration, this aspect of her record seems to have made up for all of the other deficiencies in record."

Alliance Defending Freedom has worked to "recriminalize homosexuality," reported Vox in an article that took note of the way the Trump administration has made a habit of putting forward white, mostly male candidates for federal courts who are under the age of 50 and so could "establish an enduring conservative presence on the courts that could last for decades."

Vox reported on a tweet sent out by Democratic Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, who sketched out Rushing's resume: "She has practiced law for just 9 years, only tried 4 cases to verdict or judgment in her career (none as lead counsel), and isn't even a member of the NC bar."

UK newspaper The Guardian notes that at age 37, Rushing is the youngest jurist in the federal courts. The Guardian also took note of the way the Trump administration has hurried to pack the courts, with 89 confirmed nominations so far. Rushing was only one of three Trump nominees appointed to federal appeals courts. The other two were Chard Readler, whom the Guardian reported "previously ran the effort to dismantle Barack Obama's healthcare law, and Eric Murphy, who "undermined voting rights, marriage equality, and reproductive rights as a state solicitor in Ohio."

NBC noted that the 4th Circuit Court is one legal step away from the United States Supreme Court, meaning that cases that are appealed from that court could be heard by the nation's top court — a court now dominated by conservative jurists, including newest appointee Brett Kavanaugh.

The Guardian reported that the Senate — specifically, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader - has had a hand in streamlining the confirmation process, in a series of moves that Brian Fallon, the head of judicial watchdog group Demand Justice, called "a new precedent that it is OK to change the Senate rules in order to get more of your preferred judges onto the federal bench."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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