(CNSNews.com) - Democrats in the U.S. Senate tried to block the confirmation of Stuart Kyle Duncan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, arguing, among other things, that as a lawyer he had advocated preventing biological males from using female restrooms.
“In his asking courts to allow government- sanctioned discrimination in these cases, Mr. Duncan has completely ignored scientific evidence and medical expertise,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in a floor speech opposing Duncan’s confirmation.
“Instead, he has asserted that transgender individuals are mentally ill,” said Warren.
Despite the warning of Warren and others, the Senate voted on nearly party lines to confirm Duncan. The final vote was 50 to 47.
No Republicans voted against Duncan, and only one voted for him.
“He represented Gloucester County, Va., in an effort to deny a transgender student’s right to use the bathroom aligned with their gender identity,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.) said on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
“He also represented rightwing lawmakers in North Carolina, defending broadly discriminatory legislation that became known as the bathroom bill,” said Wyden.
“The list of concerning episodes and disqualifying work in Mr. Duncan’s career does take a fair amount of time to actually walk through,” said Wyden.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D.-Wash.) was also outraged by this Trump nominee’s advocacy against the “bathroom bill.”
“In the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges, Mr. Duncan authored an amicus brief which argued against same-sex marriage, and he has represented North Carolina in their defense of the ‘bathroom bill,’ which discriminated against transgender individuals,” said Sen. Cantwell (D.-Wash.) “We need to expand the rights of the LGBT community, not nominate a judge who believes we should roll back these laws that are so important to the individuals in my State.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.) attacked the nominee for failing to recognize what she believes to be the lavatory rights of “gender-nonconforming individuals.”
“Mr. Duncan also represented the Gloucester County School Board in its effort to deny Gavin Grimm, who is a transgender high school boy, the ability to use the boys’ bathroom,” said Sen. Warren.
“He represented North Carolina’s General Assembly in a lawsuit that challenged the assembly’s bathroom bill banning transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals from using restrooms that are consistent with their gender identities,” she said.
“In his asking courts to allow government- sanctioned discrimination in these cases, Mr. Duncan has completely ignored scientific evidence and medical expertise,” said Warren. “Instead, he has asserted that transgender individuals are mentally ill.
“In one case,” said Warren, “he argued that there was no sound scientific evidence proving that individuals who identify as transgender are not delusional. In case after case, Mr. Duncan has defended discrimination and injustice.”
Sen. Patty Murray (D.-Wash.) was similarly outraged by Duncan’s opposition to letting people use the other sex’s bathroom.
“When it comes to the rights of transgender people, he fought for the intolerant, harmful bathroom ban in North Carolina and against Gavin, a young boy in Virginia who simply wanted his school to allow him to use the men’s restroom,” said Murray.
“He did it by using bigoted remarks that were nothing short of appalling,” Murray said.
Murray also attacked Duncan for advancing what she called a “discredited conspiracy theory” about transgender athletes.
“In defending the outrageous ban in North Carolina, he relied on bogus testimony from a self-proclaimed expert who suggested that transgender people are delusional,” said Murray. “In his opposing Gavin in Virginia, Mr. Duncan advanced the offensive and discredited conspiracy theory that schools need to fear athletes who pretend to be transgender in order to gain a competitive advantage.”
Sen. Margaret Hassan (D.-N.H.) also expressed outrage that Duncan described “transgender” people as “delusional.”
“He has been unyielding in his attempts to undermine the rights of transgender individuals,” she said. “In two major cases involving transgender rights, including the now infamous so-called ‘bathroom bill’ in North Carolina, Mr. Duncan has been the go-to attorney, demeaning transgender people and even describing them as ‘delusional.’
“Given his history, I am deeply concerned that Mr. Duncan would be unable to act impartially if a case involving LGBTQ Americans were to come before the Fifth Circuit,” said Hassan.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.) argued that Duncan had not only expressed arguments against “LGBTQ rights” when advocating for clients, but that he actually believed this positions himself.
“Make no mistake, Mr. Duncan’s advocacy against LGBTQ rights goes beyond arguments that he advanced on behalf of clients,” said Durbin. “He has repeatedly advocated against LGBTQ rights when writing in his own personal capacity about his own views.”