On Wednesday, the Senate voted to confirm Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk to a lifetime federal seat, overriding the objections of all the body’s voting Democrats and one Republican, Maine senator Susan Collins. With a 52-46 vote, the 42-year-old Kacsmaryk will head to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, bringing an alarming history of opinions questioning the rights of LGBTQ Americans and the legitimacy of Roe v. Wade. HuffPost lists Kacsmaryk’s startling credentials:
He has fought against protections for LGBTQ people in employment, housing and health care. He has called including protections for LGBTQ people in the Violence Against Women Act “a grave mistake.” In 2015, when Utah passed nondiscrimination protections, Kacsmaryk called the law “a bad idea” because it suggests that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity should be taken as seriously as other forms of discrimination. He signed on to a 2016 letter that called being transgender “a delusion.”
Kacsmaryk also ripped the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark 2015 marriage equality case. He wrote that “five justices of the Supreme Court found an unwritten ‘fundamental right’ to same-sex marriage hiding in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment ― a secret knowledge so cleverly concealed in the nineteenth century amendment that it took almost 150 years to find.”
“It strikes me as unusual, more than coincidental, that in June — the LGBTQ Pride Month — our Republican colleagues would decide to bring to the floor the nomination of a Texas district court nominee, Matthew J. Kacsmaryk,” Senator Dick Durbin said on Tuesday. Susan Collins, the only Republican to vote against the appointment, said in a statement that “Mr. Kacsmaryk has dismissed proponents of reproductive choice as ‘sexual revolutionaries,’ and disdainfully criticized the legal foundations of Roe v. Wade. He has described the ‘campaign for same-sex marriage’ as ‘typified by lawlessness.’” She added that these statements “suggest an inability to respect precedent and to apply the law fairly and impartially.”
Kacsmaryk is currently the deputy general counsel at First Liberty Institute, a legal nonprofit in Texas focused on “religious liberty” cases. On his résumé is an appeal by an Oregon bakery that violated anti-discrimination laws in the state for not making a wedding cake for a gay couple; on Monday, the Supreme Court kicked the case back to the state level.
LGBT advocacy groups also rejected the appointment of Kacsmaryk. A letter signed by 75 organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign and the National LGBT Bar Association, reads: “Mr. Kacsmaryk has challenged LGBT people’s right to form families at all, and argued that the families that they have formed are less legitimate than other families. He has denied in some cases that LGBT people really exist. His record reveals that he will be incapable of treating LGBT litigants fairly — no matter what body of law is at issue in the cases over which he may preside — because he does not acknowledge LGBT people as having a right to exist.”
Kacsmaryk is “Jeff Mateer’s doppelganger,” said Lambda Legal director Sharon McGowan, comparing the appointee to a judicial nominee who was withdrawn from consideration in 2017 for saying that transgender children are evidence of “Satan’s plan.”