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To the surprise of absolutely nobody, one of Trump’s judicial nominees has a history of anti-gay writing

Lydia Smith August 27, 2019

Steven Menashi has been nominated for a lifetime appointment to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Facebook)

Donald Trump’s judicial nominee for a federal appeals court seat, Steven Menashi, has a history of anti-LGBT writing, it has emerged.

Steven Menashi, whose nomination was announced earlier this month, has been criticised for his history of denouncing the rights of LGBT+ people, women and other marginalised groups.

Menashi has a “history of denouncing women’s marches against sexual assault, dismissing education about multicultural awareness and accusing a major LGBTQ group of exploiting the brutal murder of a gay student for political ends,” CNN reports.

The Stanford-trained lawyer is currently a White House aide, but he is nominated for a lifetime appointment to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, covering New York, Connecticut and Vermont.

He reportedly wrote numerous blog posts in the late 1990s and early 2000s for various publications, in which he rallies against “leftist multiculturalism”.

In a 2001 editorial for The Dartmouth Review, Menashi attacked the Human Rights Campaign for its work over the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard.

Matthew Shepard was murdered in 1998 (Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

Matthew Shepard was brutally attacked in Laramie, Wyoming, in an anti-LGBT+ hate crime in 1998, and died from his injuries six days later.

In his article, Menashi criticises the Human Rights Campaign for not giving the same attention to the rape and murder of 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising as it did to the murder of Shepard.

He wrote: “News coverage of the Dirkhising case has been strangely muted since the boy was discovered bound and gagged in September three years ago.

“The homicide, you see, is politically sensitive. Dirkhising’s admitted killers are a gay couple who say that the boy’s death was a case of statutory rape ‘gone wrong.’”

Menashi added that the Human Rights Campaign “has incessantly exploited the slaying of Matthew Shepard for both financial and political benefit, has not said one word about Jesse Dirkhising”.

He said he did not think the Dirkhising murder “somehow establishes a widespread correlation between homosexuality and homicidal tendencies”, but he contended that HRC “is guilty of valuing lives instrumentally, according to political calculations”.

Critics highlighted that the two cases were not comparable.

In another article for The American Enterprise in 2000, Menashi criticised colleges for offering gay-only dormitories.

Menashi has also denounced university Take Back the Night marches over sexual violence against women, claiming they “charge the majority of male students with complicity in rape and sexual violence”.

On Menashi’s nomination, the Department of Justice told CNN: “Mr Menashi is exceptionally qualified to serve as a judge on the Second Circuit.

“Attempts to blatantly mischaracterise decades-old articles he wrote before he was even in law school do not change that.”

Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David said in a statement: “Nominating a person who has exploited and downplayed the murder of Matthew Shepard to a lifetime seat as a federal judge is offensive and appalling and yet another low point for the Trump-Pence White House.

“At a time when violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people other marginalised communities is on the rise in this country, the last thing we need is another judicial nominee who does not recognise LGBTQ people as people worthy of basic respect and protection under the law.

“Steven Menashi is not fit to serve on any judicial bench, much less a court one step down from the Supreme Court. He should withdraw, and if he doesn’t, he should be rejected by the Senate.”

More: Anti-gay, Donald Trump, Steven Menashi

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