The vast majority of President Trump’s nominees for lifetime federal positions raise all sorts of concerns about whether they will uphold our rights and make judgments based on evidence rather than prejudice. Michael Truncale, named to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, is on that list.

Truncale, who came in third in a 2012 Republican congressional primary in Texas, calls himself a “conservative by conviction, not by convenience.” He has made a number of noteworthy comments, from topics ranging from the judiciary, education, the Affordable Care Act, reproductive rights and immigration policy.

The Judiciary:

  • His speech notes said: “We are in the mists [sic] of a culture war . . . People perceive that there is a decline in the authority of religious institutions. Decline in moral values, tolerance of obscenity and a variety of forms of deviant behavior. Much has been written about our society being led by an “intellectual elite” that cannot push forth its adgenda [sic] at the ballot box, but that it uses lawyers and the courts to accomplish its goals.”
  • Prior to the 2016 elections, Truncale wrote an article for the Golden Triangle Republican Women Gazette, entitled The Reason to Vote for Trump: The death of Antonin Scalia is the primary reason we should for Donald J. Trump. In the article, he warned of a raft of dire consequences if Trump were to lose:
    • “The seat vacated by Justice Scalia would soon be filled with yet another liberal, creating a majority of five liberal justices who would ensure liberal outcomes in all controversial decisions.”
    • “For example, liberals want to require pharmacists to sell abortion drugs despite religious objections and to force Christian photographers to use their artistic skills to celebrate same-sex weddings.”“Liberals/progressives will also attempt to create new ‘rights’ on everything from receiving welfare payments to a prohibition on racial disparities in criminal justice outcomes, a new exception to the First Amendment that would prohibit ‘offensive or hateful’ speech, and a prohibition of sex-segregated restrooms.”
    • “The liberal Supreme Court will also consider President Obama’s actions in rewriting laws like Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex—by redefining the word ‘sex’ to mean ‘gender identity’ or even a person’s ‘internal sense of gender.’”

Education

  • He has called for the abolition of the U.S. Department of Education, saying at a Tea Party Forum, “I don’t recall one single thing that was of any benefit to a single college student in Texas that came from the Department of Education.”

Health Care

  • Stating that he believes the Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional and an overreach of the federal government, Truncale has said:  “If Obamacare is allowed to stand, there is no limit to what the federal government can do to you. It’s going to create 111 agencies that get between you and your doctor, it’s going to lead to government rationing of healthcare.”
  • At a 2012 Tea Party Forum, he said: “There is no right in the Constitution for the government to tell you what kind of insurance to buy…”

Reproductive Rights

  • A strong opponent of abortion care, on his 2012 campaign website Truncale boasted that he was “the only congressional candidate to participate in a recent March for Life, ecumenical March for Life.”
  • Calling for defunding of Planned Parenthood, he has also described the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-coverage policy as an “assault on the Catholic Church” because “now you have the government telling religion what to do.”
  • Truncale was particularly vicious about Wendy Davis, the Texas Democrat who in 2015 held a thirteen-hour-long filibuster to block a bill that severely restricted abortion care in Texas, describing “Wendy Davis’ Claim to fame-kills little girls.”

Immigration and Border Security

  • Echoing Trump’s fearmongering about the Mexican border, Truncale has said, “We have all sort of bad influences coming in. We have drugs. We have illegal gangs. There is the possibility of bombs.”

Entitlement Programs

  • At a Lake Jackson Tea Party forum in 2012, Truncale criticized programs such as Social Security and Medicare: “Entitlement spending, oh my heavens. We’ve got about half the people in America in the wagon, and the other half pulling the wagon. And not only can we not afford that, I mean we’re now having to pay the Russians to send our astronauts into space. We borrowed the money from the Chinese to pay the Russians. That’s weak. And it’s because we’re giving away all this money. Excessive entitlement programs. Not only is it bad for our country, and bankrupting this country, it’s bad for the people, because they become dependent. They lose that sense of independence, that sense, that drive to make something of themselves. So our society is suffering as a result of it.”

Clearly, Michael Truncale has made a number of inflammatory statements that raise questions about his ability to provide a fair hearing to all who might come before him in a courtroom, and senators should closely examine these statements and their implications.