The 7 Most Alarming Statements By Trump’s Anti-LGBT Judicial Nominee
By Billy Corriher
Things just keep getting worse for Jeff Mateer, President Trump’s nominee for a lifetime seat on the federal bench in Texas. Media reports have uncovered even more disturbing and outlandish statements he has made, comparing contraception health insurance coverage to events in Nazi Germany. In a newly unearthed speech, Mateer claims that diversity training conflicts with the Bible. Mateer has a tendency to insult LGBT people and thinks that religion — and explicitly Christian prayer — belongs in government settings.
- “There is a new political correctness that it is in conflict with biblical truth… we’re getting calls from people who are forced to go though so-called diversity training…”
- A transgender student’s request to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity “shows you how Satan’s plan is working and the destruction that’s going on.”
- In reaction to marriage equality: “There are people who are marrying themselves? Somebody wanted to marry a tree? People wanted to marry their pets? … We’re back to that time where debauchery rules.”
- “We can look at world history and know when you remove religion from public life, military, our institutions of government, what follows is all freedoms.”
- Mateer compared efforts to keep Christian prayer out of government settings to the actions of “totalitarian governments…whether that be Nazi Germany, or Communist Russia, or Communist China.”
- In response to a civil rights law protecting LGBT people in Plano, Texas, he said that “Plano’s ordinance criminalizes the majority’s views about sex, gender, manhood and womanhood.”
- Mateer said the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that healthcare insurance cover contraception was similar to “what happened in the 1930s in Germany with Hitler and his socialist party.”
Before Mateer became the Assistant Attorney General of Texas, he was a lawyer for the First Liberty Institute. In that role, he defended a religious school that fired a teacher who became pregnant before her wedding, as well as defending missionaries charged with kidnapping children from Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there.
To be sure, Mateer is not Trump’s first judicial nominee with a history of bigoted or offensive statements. The Senate confirmed Judge John Bush, despite a long history of anonymous blog posts on topics like birtherism and comparing abortion to slavery. Another nominee who has been stalled in the Senate, Damien Schiff, wrote a blog post titled “teaching gayness” that criticized a school anti-bullying program. Another Trump lifetime nominee, 36-year-old Brett Talley, tweeted that Hillary Clinton should be in jail and urged Republicans to support Trump during his election. He also pledged his support to the NRA and expressed extreme views about the 2nd Amendment.
Unlike these nominees, however, Mateer appears to have failed to disclose all of his speeches or statements to those who vetted him. Senator John Cornyn of Texas — who recommended Mateer along with Senator Ted Cruz, after he was vetted by their nominating commission — expressed concerns in September about continuing to support Mateer. Senator Cornyn, a former judge himself, said “that all of our judges be people who can administer equal justice under the law and can separate their personal views from their duties as a judge…. Because the information had not been previously disclosed, we were not able to have that kind of conversation with Mr. Mateer.”
Senator Cornyn rightly recognized that he and his fellow senators have a responsibility to ensure that only the most qualified, honest, and impartial people are confirmed. These are lifetime appointments to the federal bench.
The President has begun to reshape the judiciary by filling a record number of empty seats on the courts, and it is perhaps not surprising that Trump is nominating lawyers with a history of outrageous, discriminatory statements. But senators have a responsibility to the Constitution — which these judges would be charged with enforcing — not to President Trump.
Billy Corriher is the Deputy Director for Legal Progress at the Center for American Progress.
Editor’s note: Progress Texas contributed to this report.