The Trump administration is defending one of the president’s federal court nominees, who has come under attack from LGBT advocates and his home state senator, after saying same-sex marriage is worse than abortion because of “the damage it does to civil society.”
Gordon Giampietro, who was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, is a lawyer in Wisconsin and previously worked for the federal government. His nomination is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
But he may face a difficult confirmation hearing, which has yet to be scheduled, after audio recordings of Mr. Giampietro have emerged where he spoke critically about same-sex marriage.
In a radio interview in 2015 on “The Lydia LoCoco Show,” a program about faith and life, Mr. Giampietro, said the birth control pill is “an assault on nature,” and that Justice Anthony M. Kennedy “went off the rails years ago in Lawrence against Texas” when he issued the 2003 decision, which ended laws against sodomy.
“Whenever you go against God’s plan, bad things are going to happen,” he said in the recording, which focused on the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
But an administration official familiar with the vetting process of judicial nominees said Mr. Giampietro’s personal religious views have nothing to do with how he’ll rule as a judge.
“He demonstrated his commitment to the rule of law and the ability to put those views aside for over a dozen years serving the people of Milwaukee as an assistant United States attorney. He’ll be able to do the same thing as a judge,” the official said.
Progressive and liberal groups are calling for the White House to withdraw Mr. Giampietro’s nomination.
“Mr. Giampietro has shown himself unfit to serve a lifetime appointment on the federal bench. Both senators from Wisconsin should oppose his nomination now that they and their constituents are aware of his record,” said Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference.
Mr. Giampietro was approved by Wisconsin’s bipartisan judicial selection panel, but Wisconsin’s Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin told BuzzFeed News she hasn’t signaled approval of Mr. Giampietro’s nomination to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“These extremely troubling statements were not provided to the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission when it considered candidates for this vacancy,” the spokesman told BuzzFeed. “Both what was said, and the fact that it was not disclosed to the Commission, raise serious questions about whether this nominee would be able to serve as a fair and impartial judge on a federal court.”
• Alex Swoyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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