Press Release

Civil Rights Leaders Repeat Call for Giampietro’s Withdrawal

March 1, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 1, 2018 – A coalition of civil rights leaders repeated calls today for the withdrawal of Gordon Giampietro’s nomination for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Giampietro has openly disparaged the Civil Rights Act of 1964, claiming that “calls for diversity” are “code for relaxed standards.” He has harshly criticized the public school system, which is committed to providing opportunities to all children. His comments showing hostility to legally established reproductive rights for women and to marriage equality have been widely reported. His failure to fully disclose aspects of his record to Wisconsin’s nominating commission, as well as his overt hostility to the rights of millions of his fellow members of society, calls into question his ability to execute the job of a federal judge with fairness and integrity.

“Sadly, Gordon Giampietro manages to stand out among a number of unfit, anti-LGBTQ judicial nominees put forward by the Trump-Pence Administration,” said HRC Wisconsin State Manager Wendy Strout. “Giampietro’s extreme anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is deeply disturbing and should not be rewarded with a lifetime judicial appointment representing Wisconsin on the federal court. If confirmed, Wisconsinites could not count on Giampietro to uphold their civil rights.”

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 enshrined unprecedented protections against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin in so many facets of American life. The idea that a judicial nominee would disparage this essential law, born from centuries of resistance and sacrifice, is insulting,” said Todd A. Cox, Policy Director at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “We need federal judges who understand the inherent value of every American, regardless of the color of their skin. Unfortunately, Gordon Giampietro does not meet this basic standard.”

“Mr. Giampietro’s failure to disclose pertinent information to the Commission about his offensive public statements on important issues like diversity and LGBT rights is highly problematic on multiple levels,” said Sharon McGowan, Director of Strategy for Lambda Legal. “His comments certainly shed light on how he would likely treat minority litigants appearing in his court, but his withholding of this relevant information also demonstrates a serious lack of candor and judgment that should disqualify him from the responsibility of a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. There are many qualified lawyers in Wisconsin, including people of faith, who haven’t spent their personal time disparaging a U.S. Supreme Court justice, denigrating the value of diversity, or demeaning LGBT people. The people of Wisconsin are entitled to demand better.”

“The ideology that Gordon Giampietro would bring to the federal bench is disturbing enough—the fact that he failed to disclose so much to the Wisconsin nominating commission only underscores that he’s simply not qualified for a lifetime seat on our federal courts,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President at People For the American Way. “When Americans come to a courtroom, they should be able to have confidence that they’ll receive fair treatment no matter who they are. Giampietro has made clear that he can’t deliver on that promise. His nomination should be withdrawn immediately.”

“Gordon Giampietro has a history of bias and bigotry that renders him unfit to serve as a fair and neutral judge,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “He has made intemperate remarks about Supreme Court precedents, and he has demonstrated a hostility to LGBTQ equality, diversity, women’s reproductive freedom, and the value of public schools. It is also disconcerting that he failed to disclose some of his past remarks to the Wisconsin bipartisan federal nominating commission that considered his suitability for the bench. A member of that commission has publicly stated that they would not have forwarded Mr. Giampietro’s name to their Senators had they been aware of his extreme views. Mr. Giampietro should not receive a lifetime appointment as a federal judge.”

“Gordon Giampietro is the latest in a troubling parade of recent judicial nominees with records of both hostility to civil rights and resistance to the truthful disclosure of their full records. The people of Wisconsin, including members of the LGBT community in the state, deserve a judge who is dedicated to performing such an important role in an even-handed fashion – not someone with overt disdain for entire communities and categories of fundamental rights,” said Julie Gonen, Policy Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“This seat should be filled by an individual with an open mind, free from bias and with a reputation for fairness. Gordon Giampietro does not meet the very high standards for a lifetime appointment on our federal courts,” said Nan Aron, President of Alliance for Justice. “Some falsely maintain that opposition to Giampietro’s nomination is based on his Catholic beliefs. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This is about the Constitution and the law, and Giampietro’s decision to make comments on the record that raise serious questions about his ability to properly apply critical constitutional rights and legal protections.”