Sunday, December 18, 2022

Vox article: Trump appointed judge making error-filled rulings which benefit conservatives and religious right

Matthew Kacsmaryk, a federal judge appointed by Donald Trump, has been making rulings beneficial to conservatives and the religious right in spite of the fact that the decisions are "riddled with legal errors."

While many people have pointed to a definite religious conservative bias impugning the Supreme Court, the sad fact is that this bias isn't just there. There is a federal judge whose court religious conservatives seem to steer to a lot. That's because he generally gives them the rulings that they want.

Vox recently published an entire article on this judge, Matthew Kacsmaryk, and people need to start paying attention to him and what he is doing seemingly under all of our noses. The article deserves a read and a share.

On Thursday evening, a Trump-appointed judge named Matthew Kacsmaryk effectively ordered the Biden administration to reinstate a harsh, Trump-era border policy known as “Remain in Mexico,” which requires many immigrants seeking asylum in the United States to remain on the Mexican side of the border while their case is being processed.  It’s the second time that Kacsmaryk has pulled this stunt — he did the same thing in 2021, and the Supreme Court overturned his decision last June.

 It’s a significant decision in its own right, and will only prolong uncertainty at America’s southern border. But Kacsmaryk’s order in this case, Texas v. Biden, was merely the capstone of an unusually busy week for this judge. His busy week, and months of earlier actions, show the havoc one rogue federal judge can create, especially in today’s judiciary. 

 The previous Thursday, Kacsmaryk became the first federal judge since the Supreme Court eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion to attack the right to contraception. Kacsmaryk’s decision in Deanda v. Becerra targets Title X, a federal program that provides grants to health providers to fund family planning and contraceptive care. He claimed that the program is unlawful because it doesn’t require grant recipients to get parental permission before treating teenage patients. Lest there be any doubt, his opinion is riddled with obvious legal errors. Kacsmaryk didn’t even have jurisdiction to hear the Deanda case in the first place. 

 Meanwhile, in mid-November, Kacsmaryk handed down another decision in Neese v. Becerra, which held that a federal law prohibiting certain forms of discrimination by health providers does not protect against anti-LGBTQ discrimination. His opinion cannot be squared with the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County (2020), which established that statutes prohibiting “sex” discrimination also ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, because “it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”

The article also points out Kacsmaryk's background as affiliated with an anti-LGBTQ religious right group and also espouses the theory that not only are his decisions poorly written, but he may joyously aware of how bad they are:

Often, Kacsmaryk’s opinions suggest not only that he knows he is defying the law, but also that he revels in doing so. His opinion in Neese, for example, opens with a quote from Justice Samuel Alito’s dissenting opinion in Bostock. A dissent, by definition, is not the law. Indeed, it is often the opposite of the law, because dissenting opinions state arguments that a majority of the Court rejected.

Basically the article underscores something which may become an ugly trend - Trump appointed judges bending the law backwards to make rulings favorable to conservatives and the religious right.