Report: L. Steven Grasz

Updated: Jan 3, 2020

ABA members raised concerns that Grasz is “unable to separate his role as an advocate from that of a judge,” given his record of opposing LGBTQ and abortion rights.

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The ABA review can be found here.

From the Alliance for Justice:

Grasz’s record is deeply concerning, particularly his opposition to the rights of women and the LGBTQ community. Alliance for Justice strongly opposes Grasz’s nomination.

Grasz’s nomination is in keeping with President Trump’s promise to nominate candidates to the federal judiciary who are hostile to Roe v. Wade. Notably, Grasz has compared the “personhood” of fetuses to the civil rights of Native and African Americans. Moreover, since August 2015, Grasz has served on the Board of the Nebraska Family Alliance, and is currently its Director. The Family Alliance has celebrated the mass closings of clinics that offer women’s reproductive services, condemned Supreme Court decisions that protect women’s rights, and claimed that abortion rights “put[] women’s lives at risk.” As an attorney, Grasz fought vigorously against women’s reproductive rights. He defended Nebraska’s unconstitutional statute in Stenberg v. Carhart, and fought to deny Medicaid coverage, as required by federal law, to a woman who sought to terminate her pregnancy because she had been raped.

Grasz has fought with equal enthusiasm against LGBTQ equality. In 2013, he proposed an Amendment to the Omaha City Charter that would have allowed employers to discriminate against LGBTQ people in hiring. And, under Grasz’s leadership, the Family Alliance opposed legislation to “[p]rohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity” in the workplace by arguing that the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” describe “behaviors,” rather than “traits” like race.

Among the most disturbing content in the Family Alliance’s written materials are articles supporting the cruel practice of conversion therapy. The Alliance has claimed that “[a] generation of children is being raised to believe in the social construct of a gender spectrum, instead of the biological reality of male and female. This is a trend that should be rejected at every level.” To that end, the Family Alliance also signed an amicus brief in Obergefell v. Hodges arguing that only the parenting of “a mother and a father[,]” rather than a same-sex couple, “provides children with the optimal environment for their cognitive, social, and emotional development from infancy through adolescence.”

The AFJ detailed background report on Grasz can be found here.

From The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:

The Grasz nomination is highly troubling not only because the nominee received a unanimous rating of Not Qualified from the independent and nonpartisan American Bar Association (ABA), but also because Mr. Grasz is a right-wing extremist who has worked throughout his career to restrict LGBT rights and reproductive freedom.  To a greater degree than any president in history, President Trump is attempting to advance his radical agenda by packing the courts with individuals who have a demonstrated record of undermining civil rights, including LGBT equality and women’s rights.

Not Qualified: The ABA has given Mr. Grasz its lowest possible rating: unanimous Not Qualified.[1]  Such ratings result when all members of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary rate someone unqualified to serve as a federal judge.  Mr. Grasz is only the fourth judicial nominee since 1989 to receive such a rating, and the other three were not confirmed, [2] although one – Brett Talley, a nominee to the Middle District of Alabama – is currently pending and remains the subject of significant opposition due to his numerous misrepresentations to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The ABA has explained its opposition to Mr. Grasz both in writing[3] and in Senate testimony.[4]  As part of its rating process, the ABA conducted 207 confidential interviews with judges and lawyers in Nebraska, where Mr. Grasz has lived and practiced law for the past 28 years.  Two different ABA evaluators conducted interviews and studied Mr. Grasz’s record, and both recommended a Not Qualified rating based primarily on his bias and lack of open-mindedness.  There were also concerns about Mr. Grasz’s rude and offensive demeanor...

#RFingTheCourts #WhitewashingTheBench

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