Civil Rights Leaders Condemn Trump Judicial Nominee Following Discovery Of Inflammatory Audio Recordings

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February 15, 2018

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Today, civil rights leaders from across the country condemned the Trump Administration’s nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Gordon Giampietro, after the discovery of two 2015 audio recordings where Mr. Giampietro mocks a Supreme Court justice and calls same-sex marriage “an assault on nature…against God’s plan.” Organizations including Lambda Legal, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Human Rights Campaign, Alliance for Justice, The National Center for Lesbian Rights, and People For the American Way, are calling on the White House to immediately withdraw Giampietro’s nomination after news reports of the inflammatory and bigoted language surfaced on Thursday.

During two radio interviews with host Lydia LoCoco, Mr. Giampietro expressed multiple views about the marriage equality decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. During the July 24th interview, the Mr. Giampietro stated that, “Justice Kennedy went off the rails years ago, in Lawrence against Texas,” and called same-sex marriage “an assault on nature…against God’s plan.” During the July 4th interview, Mr. Giampietro stated that, "This new definition of marriage actually focuses marriage on the sex act. Because if it were simply that we wanted to honor the love of two people, we would allow sons to marry their mothers, brothers to marry their sisters, for example, to get them healthcare. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? Doesn’t society think that would be a great thing, for a sister to get her brother on healthcare?"

In addition, Giampietro has made disturbing comments in blog posts about what he calls a “racial spoils system;” writing about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he claimed that “calls for diversity” are “code for relaxed standards.” He has also said in interviews that he, “grew up next to lawyers, architects and crack dealers…The common denominator [he] saw was that the children who succeeded in Washington[, DC] were in private schools, and the children who turned out to be criminals were in public schools."

One in three of Trump’s judicial nominees have an explicit anti-LGBT record and Mr. Giampietro is just the latest to get caught red-handed voicing his bigotry on air,” said Sharon McGowan, Director of Strategy at Lambda Legal. “This type of prejudice and bias have no place in Wisconsin and no place in our federal courts. The vitriolic and incendiary anti-LGBT rhetoric from Giampietro captured in this recording, while shocking and disturbing, is unfortunately par for the course with respect to many of the judicial nominees coming out of this White House. But even if it is becoming commonplace, we must never treat this as normal. That is why Lambda Legal is calling on the Trump Administration to immediately rescind this nomination.”

“Gordon Giampietro is yet another Trump judicial nominee with a troubling record of bias,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference. “His hostile remarks against LGBTQ individuals and disparagement of public schools should disqualify him from any position of public trust, let alone a powerful judgeship. If the Trump White House knew about these comments and nominated him anyway, it is an alarming commentary on their view of the role judges serve in our society. If they did not know about these comments, it is another sign of their poor vetting. In either event, Mr. Giampietro has shown himself unfit to serve a lifetime appointment on the federal bench. Both senators from Wisconsin should oppose his nomination now that they and their constituents are aware of his record.”

“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 Giampetro to uphold their civil rights.”

“Giampietro’s views as expressed in these interviews are so hostile and biased that they are frankly breathtaking. They are certainly disqualifying for a seat on the federal bench,” said Nan Aron, President of Alliance for Justice. “These tapes completely undermine any confidence the public could have had that a Judge Giampietro would be an open-minded and fair arbiter of cases involving LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, and other critical legal rights and protections.  His nomination must be withdrawn and replaced with that of an individual Wisconsinites can trust to respect the rights of all.”

“Even compared to the anti-LGBT record of so many other Trump judicial nominees, Giampietro’s comments are appalling," said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President at People For the American Way. “There’s no way that members of the LGBT community could expect fair treatment in a courtroom presided over by this nominee. Any senator who claims to care about equal justice should demand that Giampietro’s nomination be withdrawn.”


Contact Info

Press contact:  Ian Wilhite, Cell: 202-672-4877: Email:
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.