A few of you have been reading Dispatches long enough to remember Lawrence Van Dyke. As a Harvard Law student he wrote a pro-creationist article and I thoroughly destroyed his argument. He just wasn’t very bright. Now he’s got a lifetime appointment as a federal judge despite the ABA rating him as not qualified and his colleagues calling him ignorant and unfair.
The Senate confirmed Lawrence VanDyke to a lifetime appointment on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday by a vote of 51–44. Every Republican present except Sen. Susan Collins voted for the nomination; every Democrat present opposed it. Like Sarah Pitlyk, a judicial nominee confirmed just last week, VanDyke received a rare “Not Qualified” rating from the American Bar Association. After conducting 60 interviews, the ABA found that VanDyke has a reputation as “arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules.” Video of VanDyke lecturing, scolding, and interrupting judges during oral argument while serving as Nevada solicitor general lends credence to that assessment…
VanDyke has a long record as an anti-LGBTQ activist. He wrote in 2004 that marriage equality “will hurt families, and consequentially children and society.” As the solicitor general of Montana, he advocated for the state to join two briefs alleging that legal recognition of same-sex relationships would harm children. The first claimed that prohibiting same-sex marriage promoted “optimal childrearing” because same-sex couples “cannot provide” the optimal “family structure.” And the second asserted that states “may rationally conclude” that “it is better” for parents to have a “biological” connection to their children…In light of this record, the ABA expressed concern over whether “VanDyke would be fair to persons who are gay, lesbian, or otherwise part of the LGBTQ community.” During VanDyke’s confirmation hearing, Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley asked him if the ABA was right to worry. Do you believe, Hawley asked sympathetically, that you would treat LGBTQ litigants unfairly? “I do not believe that,” VanDyke said. Then he started crying. “It is a fundamental belief of mine that all people are created in the image of God,” he insisted. “They should all be treated with dignity and respect.” The victimizer had become the victim.
Only Trump would have even considered appointing this ignorant dolt to the federal bench. And since the Senate Republicans would confirm a ham sandwich if Trump nominated one, we’re now stuck with this mushhead for a lifetime. And take note of his non-answer to the question. Thinking they should be treated with “dignity and respect” is not the same as treating them with constitutional equality. It’s a dodge with a wink, a nod and a tear.