Longtime opponent of queer people and Trump aide confirmed for lifetime seat on federal court
Steven Menashi, a Trump aide with a lengthy history of anti-LGBT+ rhetoric, has been handed a lifetime appointment to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The US Senate voted 51-41 to appoint Menashi to the court, with every Democrat in attendance voting to oppose the nomination, as well as one Republican, Maine senator Susan Collins.
Democrat senate minority leader Charles E Schumer described Menashi as a “bottom crawler” who “does not deserve to be on the bench,” according to Roll Call.
“What he said about civil rights, what he said about LGBTQ rights, how he handled himself in the hearing — you could hardly come up with a worse person,” Schumer told reporters on Wednesday, November 14, ahead of Thursday’s vote.
Steven Menashi has a portfolio of anti-LGBT writing.
Menashi, who was a White House aide until his appointment, has previously written dozens of articles and blog posts denouncing “leftist multiculturalism” and undermining the rights of LGBT+ people, women and people of colour.
In a 2001 editorial for The Dartmouth Review, he accused the Human Rights Campaign of “incessantly exploiting the slaying of Matthew Shepard”, a 21-year-old gay college student who was murdered in a brutal homophobic attack in 1998.
Menashi compared the Shepard case to that of Jesse Dirkhising, a 13-year-old boy who was murdered by two gay men, accusing HRC of not speaking out on crimes committed by gay men.
“In their unwillingness even to discuss the case, HRC implies that the killing says something about American gays. Something bad,” he wrote.
Critics countered that the two cases were incomparable.
You could hardly come up with a worse person.
In 2000, Menashi criticised universities who offer all-gay dormitories to LGBT+ students but opposed the then-military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell”.
“The colleges say these claims only mask irrational prejudice,” he wrote in American Enterprise magazine.
“University administrators insist troops in mortal combat should be able to handle the tension of living in mixed quarters. But it turns out that college kids living in dorms and frat houses, threatened by such dangers as beer kegs and basketball games, are quite a different matter.”
Menashi has also rallied against multiculturalism – calling it “thoroughly bankrupt”, defended a “ghetto party” by a mostly-white fraternity widely decried as racist, and 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”.
Steven Menashi criticised for student debt and immigration policies.
Ahead of his appointment, Menashi was also criticised by Schumer for “creating a system that broke the law in taking money away from students and loans”.
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He was referring to Schumer’s role in a Department of Education plot to use private social security information to deny students debt relief, which was later ruled to have violated privacy laws.
During his Senate hearings, Menashi refused to answer questions about his work on other White House policies, including the part he played in a working group responsible for creating hostile immigration initiatives.
“This working group has helped push a number of extreme anti-immigrant policies, including the White House’s policy of separating children from their families, a problem that still has not been fully remedied — despite a court order to do so,” said Californian Democrat Dianne Feinstein.
“At his hearing, Mr Menashi refused to answer numerous basic questions about his work, including about his role in the administration’s family separation policy.”
Republicans said that Menashi’s “strong academic and legal qualifications” made him a valid candidate for the post.
Mr Menashi won majority support from the Judiciary Committee on the basis of strong academic and legal qualifications — “degrees from Dartmouth and Stanford, clerkships on the appellate level and the Supreme Court, and experience in both teaching and practicing law,” said Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.