Last week the Senate approved another homophobic judge to a federal appeals court, the latest in a long line of alarming judicial nominees by the Trump administration.
Steven Menashi has never tried a case or argued an appeal, but he’ll be sitting on the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York after a 51-41 vote by the Senate. Menashi also has a history of statements that indicate worrisome attitudes regarding queer people, immigrants, women, and students.
Menashi has written that colleges are wrong to offer LGBTQ+ housing, criticized “Take Back the Night” marches against sexual assault, and defended racist “ghetto parties” held by white students. In various essays, he has expressed opposition to marriage equality, queer people serving openly in the military, and nondiscrimination protections.
In one essay, Menashi said that if the military can’t bar queer people from serving, colleges shouldn’t establish queer housing blocks.
"The military says its 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy promotes the unit cohesion needed in combat by reducing sexual tension and respecting personal privacy," he wrote. "The colleges say these claims only mask irrational prejudice. 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."
He also claimed that queer community groups exploited Matthew Shepard’s murder for the purposes of fundraising while turning a blind eye to pedophiles.
The National Center for Transgender Equality sounded the alarm over Menashi’s nomination, noting that he called queer people “outside nature,” and said that advocates for equality are seeking to “peer down on the rest of creation with a godlike power to manipulate it for our own purposes.”
Working alongside Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Menashi helped dismantle protections for student survivors of sexual assault and harassment, creating bureaucratic delays to investigations.
Menashi also wrote that efforts to identify racial disparities are comparable to the Nazi’s Nuremburg Laws, which segregated Jews.
“Sixty years after the promulgation of the Nuremberg laws, universities persist in cataloguing students according to race on college applications and official documents,” he wrote. “Our cultural and political beliefs are said to be a function of our bloodlines. What a subversion of the liberation of mind promised by education."
The Trump administration has nominated dozens of homophobic judges to the federal bench over the last few years, with Senate Republicans acting fast to approve them despite a lack of qualifications. Federal judgeships are generally lifetime appointments.