Lambda Legal: Today US Senate Committee Did More Harm While House Democratic Leaders Introduced Do No Harm Act
Washington, DC - July 13, 2017 – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee (in a 11-9 vote along party lines), voted in favor of the nominations of John Bush and Damien Schiff for positions on the federal bench. Bush, who has been nominated for the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and Schiff, nominated for the US Court of Federal Claims, have virulent anti-civil rights records replete with anti-LGBT, misogynistic and racist rhetoric. Lambda Legal and 15 other national LGBT groups opposed their nominations, and will now take their message to the full Senate, which will vote on these nominees in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the Capitol, Congressmen Joe Kennedy (D-MA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA), joined by more than 50 co-sponsors, introduced the Do No Harm Act, which will ensure that federal laws designed to protect LGBT Americans, women, and others against discrimination are not undermined by those claiming a license to discriminate in the name of religion.
"On one side of the Capitol today, we have the Senate sending forward judicial nominees whose records reveal their disdain for the LGBT community, for civil rights generally, and for core constitutional principles like equal protection and due process, that are the bedrock of our democracy." said Sharon McGowan, Director of Strategy at Lambda Legal. "On the other side, we are seeing real leadership in the House of Representatives, with the introduction of legislation to ensure that federal laws protecting the ability of all Americans to participate equally in civic life are not undermined by those who would demand a license to discriminate on the basis of their personal religious beliefs. The Do No Harm Act restores the proper balance between religious liberty and nondiscrimination, and we urge the House of Representatives to pass this legislation without delay. More immediately, however, we urge Senators to reject the nominations of John Bush and Damien Schiff and thereby prevent them from inflicting harm on generations of LGBT Americans, on the Constitution, and ultimately, on our country as a whole."
Last month, Lambda Legal, along with 15 other national LGBT groups, sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee to urge opposition to these nominees, specifically Bush and Schiff, citing their anti-LGBT and misogynistic remarks in their public speeches and writings. The letter also highlights their judicial records that clearly illustrate their "views on civil rights issues are fundamentally at odds with the notion that LGBT people are entitled to equality, liberty, justice and dignity under the law." The full letter can be accessed here: https://www.lambdalegal.org/news/dc_20170612_oppose-bush-and-schiff-noms
More information on the Do No Harm Act can be found here: https://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/20170713_do-no-harm-act-re-introduced