Lambda Legal, Joined By Several National Civil Rights Organizations, Delivers First Resistance “Pre-buttal” To Trump’s State of the Union Address

You can download the full audio of today’s call here.

WASHINGTON – Today, Lambda Legal, delivered a resistance “pre-buttal” hours ahead of President Trump’s State of the Union Address. Lambda Legal’s Sharon McGowan, was joined on a media call by other resistance leaders including Todd Cox at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Kaylie Hanson Long at NARAL Pro-Choice America, Kristine Lucius at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Nicole Berner at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Scott Simpson at Muslim Advocates, Mara Keisling at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), and Michele Jawando at the Center for American Progress (CAP) to discuss the Trump Administration’s judicial nominations and outline plans for resistance efforts in 2018.

“President Trump and his Administration have gone after LGBT people and other vulnerable communities with every weapon in his arsenal,” said Sharon McGowan, Director of Strategy at Lambda Legal. “To this end, the president has spent the last year packing the court with judges who look like him, think like him, and whose impact will stretch across generations. If long after President Trump has vacated the White House we have federal courts packed with Judges who share his values, our children and grandchildren will continue to suffer. That is why Lambda Legal will continue to speak out against dangerous judicial nominees and resist every other effort this administration uses to turn back the clock on civil rights for the LGBT community. As Members of Congress listen to the President’s State of the Union address, they must grapple with the clear choice presented to them in the weeks and months to come.  They can either take a clear stand against his agenda of division, bigotry and intolerance, or become complicit in it.”

“This Administration’s appointments to the federal bench are corroding our judicial system with nominees that are hostile to civil rights and the rule of law,” said LDF Policy Director Todd A. Cox. “LDF is committed to protecting the fundamental civil rights and protections that many before us fought so bravely to establish in the last century. Our democracy and the state of our union depend on it.”

“One of Trump’s biggest campaign promises was to fill the courts with biased, anti-choice nominees and use the judiciary as a way to roll back our reproductive rights, overturn Roe v. Wade, and ban abortion entirely—and now he’s delivering to the detriment of women and families,” said Kaylie Hanson Long, National Communications Director for NARAL Pro Choice America. “It’s no coincidence that the State of the Union falls on the same week that the anti-choice GOP in Congress tried and failed to move forward an unconstitutional abortion ban, an unfulfilled promise Trump made to his fringe, anti-choice base. Instead of finding real solutions for the problems that hard working Americans face everyday, Donald Trump and the anti-choice GOP continue to nominate judges to serve lifetime appointments on the bench and carry out their obsession with controlling women’s lives and bodies for decades to come.”

“President Trump may tout his record on judicial nominations, but it’s not one he should be proud of,” said Kristine Lucius, Executive Vice President for Policy at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “He and Leader McConnell have overly politicized the process, putting in place judges who lack the temperament and qualifications to serve fairly and without bias. The rubber stamping of judges who are hand-picked by the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society will remake the courts in Trump’s image, but ultimately, the Constitution and we the people will suffer.”

“Despite its cynical campaign promises, this Administration has put all its effort into helping corporations and the wealthy, not working people,” said Nicole Berner, General Counsel at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). “Millions of people are working second and third jobs, but still struggling to take care of their families, and immigrant families are being torn apart. The Administration is using the courts to attack working peoples’ strength in numbers, and naming judicial nominees who are hostile to the rights of working people, people of color, women, LGBTQ people, and immigrants. But working men and women will continue to resist by calling their elected officials and flooding town halls, taking to the streets, voting, and making a loud and proud demand for good union jobs that provide financial security to families and strengthen communities.”

“For American Muslims, the past year was not just about resistance, it was about resilience,” said Scott Simpson, Public Advocacy Director at Muslim Advocates. “The Trump Administration continues to underestimate the American people, American Muslims, and the institutions of this country. We will continue standing up for the Constitution’s promises of religious freedom and equal protection under the law.  Like always, we will be here to respond, to organize, and to continue our resilience.”

“The Trump administration has been attacking transgender people in visible ways throughout its first year—rolling back guidance on how to treat trans students respectfully, banning open service by trans troops, and releasing a plan to promote discrimination by health care providers, just to name a few,” said Mara Keisling, Executive Director at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). “But the President has also launched a more insidious attack—packing federal courts with unqualified, biased judges like Kyle Duncan and Matthew Kacsmaryk, who have both said that being transgender is a ‘delusion.’ How can we expect such people to make fair decisions when trans people walk into their courtrooms? Over 300 parents of transgender children wrote to the Senate expressing their opposition to Duncan and Kacsmaryk’s confirmations. Now the Senate must follow through and vote against these nominees.”

“Trump’s legacy after his first year, is a record of ramming through judicial nominees that are both unqualified or have poor records on civil rights, voting rights and women’s health issues,” said Michele Jawando, Vice President of Legal Progress at the Center for American Progress. “These nominees – over 90 percent white and over 80 percent male – have been vetted by right-wing organizations for their ideological extremism and are likely to roll back recent gains in the areas of workers’ rights, educational equity and reproductive rights. And Trump’s own record on civil and legal rights is abysmal — equating the views of Nazi sympathizers with civil rights protesters, targeting Muslim-majority countries for a travel ban, and seeking to undermine the credibility of the Justice Department and FBI.”


The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit