Tonight, July 9, at 9pm, Donald Trump is expected to announce his pick for the newest Supreme Court judge following Justice Anthony Kennedy’s resignation from office. LGBTQ advocates, including Obergefell v. Hodges plaintiff Jim Obergefell, have expressed their concerns about the future of queer rights in America after the President nominates a new justice to the high court.
Below, learn about the four conservative politicians on Trump’s shortlist and how their beliefs or voting patterns could shape the future of the Supreme Court.
Amy Coney Barrett, 46
— Legal Defense Fund (@NAACP_LDF) July 3, 2018
Barret, the only woman on Trump’s shortlist, was appointed last year to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. If she is nominated and appointed, she would become the youngest justice on the Supreme Court. But queer activists worry that she won’t be able to reconcile her Christian faith with her duty as a justice. In 2015, she signed a letter stating that “marriage and family [are] founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman.” And in 2017, Barret gave a lecture paid for by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a right-wing organization classified as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Raymond Kethledge, 51
Kethledge currently serves on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. His history with LGBTQ issues isn’t so great: In 2012, he voted to dismiss a same-sex sexual harassment claim in a Title VII case, noting that the plaintiff would need to provide “credible evidence that the harasser was homosexual.” His vote, the case’s eventual dismissal, marked a narrow interpretation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, something advocates worry could make its way up to the Supreme Court.
Brett Kavanaugh, 53
Kavanaugh serves as a justice on Washington, D.C.’s U.S. Court of Appeals. Though he doesn’t have a clear voting history on LGBTQ issues, Kavanaugh was backed by the right-wing, anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council (FRC) when he was nominated for his position in 2005. Notably, FRC is also classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Thomas Hardiman, 53
Hardiman has served on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2007. Like Kavanaugh, he doesn’t have a super-clear track record of voting directly on LGBTQ court cases. However, Hardiman did co-author an opinion for 2009’s Brian D. Prowel v. Wise Business Forms, another Title VII case involving a gay man who claimed to have experienced workplace discrimination on the basis of his sex. Judges ruled that Title VII protections on the basis of sex don’t actually include sexual orientation—and while this was consistent with other rulings of its time, LGBTQ advocates continue to express concerns about the erosion of legal protections for America’s queer community.