Report: Lawrence VanDyke

VanDyke’s record makes clear he will use his lifetime judicial appointment to push his extremist anti-abortion and anti-LGBT ideology.

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From Planned Parenthood:

Throughout his career, VanDyke has shown extreme partisanship and attempted to use the legal system to take away people’s rights and freedoms. He has been particularly hostile to abortion access and LGBT people and has worked on cases for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is anti-abortion and has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The bipartisan American Bar Association (ABA) has determined he is not qualified for a lifetime seat on the federal bench, noting in its evaluation, “Mr. VanDyke's accomplishments are offset by the assessments of interviewees that Mr. VanDyke is arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules. There was a theme that the nominee lacks humility, has an ‘entitlement’ temperament, does not have an open mind, and does not always have a commitment to being candid and truthful."


Additional background on VanDyke: 

  • As Solicitor General of Montana, VanDyke used the position to push his ideology, by influencing the state to join several anti-abortion amicus briefs and support unconstitutional bans on same-sex marriages. The ABA Committee’s investigation included reports that VanDyke’s “preparation and performance were lacking in some cases in which he did not have a particular personal or political interest.”

  • VanDyke has a long history of associating with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and is known for its anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ policies. In law school Van Dyke was a Blackstone Fellow and then went on to become one of ADF’s "allied attorneys," working on cases in conjunction with ADF.

  • VanDyke is an active member of the anti-abortion Federalist Society.

  • As a law student, VanDyke’s writings made harmful and inaccurate accusations about the LGBTQ community, which echo his involvement with groups such as ADF.

  • VanDyke’s record has also earned him the support of the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization dedicated to outlawing abortion. 

From the Alliance for Justice:

When Lawrence VanDyke ran for Montana Supreme Court, six retired Montana Supreme Court Judges wrote in opposition to his candidacy, “Montanans deserve fair, impartial, independent and non-partisan judges and justices elected by Montana voters—not political hacks, bought and paid for by out of state dark money.”


From Billings Gazette:

Yet VanDyke’s work history has come under fire from detractors and his opponent, Justice Mike Wheat, who say it’s a thin Montana resume and one often colored by conservative politics.

“As far as I know, he’s never tried a case,” said Wheat, who spent 28 years in a Bozeman law firm that represented plaintiffs and small businesses, before being appointed to the Supreme Court in 2010. He’s running for re-election to an eight-year term. “I just don’t think (VanDyke) has the kind of experience in the area of law that’s required for this kind of a position.”

When asked what type of experience matters, Wheat said: “Trying cases, representing people. Arguing not just constitutional law cases, for a gigantic corporate law firm, but for people you’ve gone to trial for.”

#RFingTheCourts #WhitewashingTheBench

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