Collins to oppose Trump judicial nominee over LGBTQ rights

GOP Sen. Susan Collins says she will oppose the nomination of one of President Donald Trump’s picks to fill a federal judicial vacancy over his record on LGBTQ and reproductive rights.

Trump nominated Matthew Kacsmaryk to be a district judge for the Northern District of Texas in September 2017. A vote to break a filibuster of Kacsmaryk is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

“I will oppose the nomination of Matthew Kacsmaryk to be a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas,” Collins said in a statement Saturday, citing his “alarming bias against the rights of LGBTQ Americans and disregard for Supreme Court precedents.” The Washington Post first reported Collins’ opposition to the nomination.

Collins slammed Kacsmaryk for calling reproductive choice supporters “sexual revolutionaries,” describing the same-sex marriage campaign as “typified by lawlessness” and criticizing the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized abortion and gay marriage, respectively.

“Such extreme statements reflect poorly on Mr. Kacsmaryk’s temperament and suggest an inability to respect precedent and to apply the law fairly and impartially,” she added.

Collins, a Maine Republican, previously drew criticism for her support of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his contentious confirmation hearings last year. She has, however, declined to endorse conservative nominations before — in March, she opposed another of Trump’s judicial nominees over his role in the lawsuit threatening the Affordable Care Act’s coverage of pre-existing conditions.

Kacsmaryk currently serves as deputy general counsel at the First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit religious liberty legal group, where he works mainly on “religious liberty litigation in federal courts and amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court,” according to his White House biography. He previously served as assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Texas from 2008 to 2013 and as an associate at Baker Botts LLP in Dallas from 2003 to 2008, the biography states.