Republicans Turn Judicial Nominee’s Hearing Into Transphobic Spectacle

Holly Thomas, President Joe Biden’s decide for a lifetime seat on a strong U.S. appeals courtroom, bought her Senate affirmation listening to on Wednesday.

But Republicans on the Judiciary Committee determined to make one thing else the point of interest of the listening to: their very own transphobia.

One by one, GOP senators used their allotted time for questions with Thomas, a civil rights lawyer up for a California-based seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, to speak a few months-old case of sexual assault at a highschool in Loudoun County, Virginia.

The May assault concerned a teenage boy allegedly assaulting a 14-year-old woman in a college rest room. Conservative media retailers seized on the incident after the mother and father of the sufferer claimed the attacker was “gender fluid” and carrying a skirt throughout the assault. Authorities haven’t confirmed both of these particulars.

The sufferer’s mother and father additionally criticized the varsity’s coverage that lets college students use public bogs that correspond with their gender identities, suggesting the coverage made it simpler for an assault to happen. But on the time of the alleged assault, that rule was not in impact, The Washington Post reported. More importantly, there are already legal guidelines defending individuals from prison conduct in public restrooms, and there isn’t any proof that gender-segregated restrooms are safer than unisex restrooms.

The teenage boy was allowed to switch to a different college after the incident, and in October, he sexually assaulted a second teenage woman in a classroom. He has since been detained and charged, and Loudoun County college officers have apologized for the way in which they dealt with the scenario.

There isn’t any proof the teenage boy was in a skirt on the time of the assault, or that he identifies as gender fluid or transgender. In truth, these claims seem to stem from the sufferer’s father saying he heard the boy “is apparently bisexual and occasionally wears dresses,” per an Oct. 19 report by Media Matters.

But on Wednesday, Senate Republicans went forward and used the incident to push the false narrative that ladies are unsafe in bogs shared with transgender girls.

“Last week, we learned that the Loudoun County school board in Virginia covered up the fact that a male wearing a skirt had sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl in the girl’s bathroom at the school,” stated Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the highest Republican on the committee.

“In 2016, you argued in multiple briefs that concerns about the safety of young girls in school bathrooms were unfounded,” he stated to Thomas. “In light of the troubling news about Loudoun County, do you still believe that concerns about safety and privacy, especially for young girls, in school bathrooms are [not] valid?”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) parroted transphobic rhetoric in his questions for one of President Biden's judicial nominees, Holly Thomas.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) parroted transphobic rhetoric in his questions for one in all President Biden’s judicial nominees, Holly Thomas.

Anna Moneymaker through Getty Images

Thomas, who’s presently an L.A. County superior courtroom choose and beforehand labored for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, stated she was particular counsel to the New York Solicitor General’s Office in 2016, and the briefs she filed on the time represented the views of her consumer. She stated she wasn’t accustomed to the Loudoun County case.

“As a judge, I know that my role is to set aside whatever it is that I did as an advocate and be guided only by the law,” stated Thomas. “That, I promise you, is what I do now and what I will continue to do if confirmed.”

But Grassley stored speaking about Loudoun County. He referenced a short Thomas filed in 2016 against North Carolina’s then-policy banning transgender individuals from utilizing public restrooms that matched their gender id. Thomas argued within the transient that privateness curtains and separate altering areas have been adequate for guaranteeing ladies’ security.

“How would privacy curtains or changing spaces have prevented the sexual assault in Loudoun County?” requested Grassley, earlier than acknowledging that Thomas didn’t even know in regards to the case.

“I guess you said you didn’t know much about that,” he added, showing to provide away the sport that Republicans merely need to preserve the story within the information: “It’s really to get the news out here, so I’m going to go onto another question.”

Republicans definitely appeared to have coordinated in advance to maintain a highlight on the Loudoun County incident ― and to gasoline transphobia round it.

“Do you stand by your comments in these [2016] briefs that there is no evidence of violence or crime in restrooms by allowing biological males to use biological females’ restrooms?” requested Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).

“It should not be lost on you how unsettled that Tennesseans that I represent are by your nomination because of what you have said about the transgender rights and the assault that happened in Loudoun County,” stated Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). “People want to know that their children are going to be safe.”

“I want to get back briefly to what Sen. Hawley was talking about,” stated Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), referencing one in all her 2016 briefs referring to bogs.

“You said that, ‘In states where nondiscrimination protections are already law, Texas’ predicted safety harm has never materialized.’ It then went on to classify Texas’ concerns as ‘anxiety about possible future bathroom crime as nothing more than unsupported speculation,’” stated Lee. “How would anyone know in that circumstance … that no harm could ever materialize?”

Thomas responded to Lee, as she advised the opposite GOP senators, that she was representing her shoppers in these circumstances.

“You’re aware of the recent incident that’s come to light in the Loudoun County district?” requested Lee.

“Well, I wasn’t before this morning,” stated Thomas.

So why did Republicans need to preserve speaking a few case of sexual assault in a Virginia college, particularly when Thomas stated she didn’t even find out about it?

One potential purpose is that the Virginia governor’s race is in a lifeless warmth lower than two weeks out from the election. Ginning up GOP voters by stoking transphobia is one strategy to get them out to the polls and tip the election. It’s arduous to see it as coincidence that nationwide conservative media retailers are amplifying this narrative on the identical time that GOP senators weirdly made it the main focus of a listening to for a nominee for a California-based courtroom seat.

“It seems the women and girls never have any rights.”

– Sen. Ted Cruz, a proud supporter of Texas’ excessive anti-abortion legislation.

In a second of under-appreciated irony, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) lamented throughout the listening to that “it seems the women and girls never have any rights” ― simply weeks after saying he was “proud” of Texas’ excessive anti-abortion legislation, SB 8.

Cruz additionally questioned whether or not Thomas was telling the reality about not understanding in regards to the sexual assault incident in Loudoun County.

“You testified to this committee that you were not aware of what happened in Loudoun County until this morning,” he stated. “I find that remarkable for someone who has spent years as one of the leading activists for allowing transgender biological men to use girls’ restrooms and women’s restrooms.”

Cruz stored speaking after his time was up, however Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), who was chairing the committee on the time, lower him off.

“With no other members expected for questions,” Padilla stated, as Cruz tried to interject with extra criticisms of Thomas, “let me thank Judge Thomas for appearing before us today.”

Thomas now awaits her committee vote, which has not but been scheduled.

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