Report: Stuart Kyle Duncan

Updated: Jan 3, 2020

Kyle Duncan has spent his whole career working to annihilate civil rights progress.

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From Lambda Legal:

Mr. Duncan has spent his entire career working to annihilate civil rights progress — and not just for LGBTQ people. He has also worked aggressively to eradicate immigrant rights, reproductive rights, voting rights, and more. Lambda Legal and many other organizations have urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose his nomination, but the committee has voted him out of the committee.


It is clear that Mr. Duncan is ideologically-driven. He has heartlessly worked to undermine the protections of LGBT people and other vulnerable communities. And in almost every case, he has sought a final determination on the merits from the Supreme Court that would cement discrimination into the law.

Mr. Duncan asked the Supreme Court to uphold Louisiana’s marriage ban, asked the Supreme Court to strike down a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down a marriage ban, defended Louisiana in the Supreme Court from having to legally recognize same-sex marriages from other states, and asked the Supreme Court to uphold a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision denying visitation rights to a same-sex parent. Mr. Duncan also organized an amicus brief of 15 states that he filed with the Supreme Court in opposition to marriage equality in the Obergefell v. Hodges case. In response to the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell, Mr. Duncan questioned the legitimacy of the Supreme Court in his personal statements and threatened that the decision would “imperil civic peace.”

After Obergefell was decided, Mr. Duncan shifted to target transgender kids. He defended the North Carolina legislature after it passed the notorious transgender bathroom bill (H.B. 2), and then moved on to serve as lead counsel for the school district that targeted Gavin Grimm, a transgender student. During the litigation, Mr. Duncan routinely peddled hate-mongering language about transgender people, including filing expert declarations that relied upon junk science that described transgender people as delusional (arguing in essence, that transgender people don’t exist) and advocating that parents should discourage ‘transgender persistence.’ It is critical that Mr. Duncan not be given the power to do as a judge what he was unable to do as a lawyer.

Mr. Duncan has also worked to undermine civil rights for other vulnerable communities. He worked aggressively to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate as lead counsel in the Hobby Lobby case by advancing the position that for-profit corporations have religious rights that can override the government’s interest in eliminating historic discrimination against women in health care. He also asked the Supreme Court to overturn Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down a voter ID law, that the Fourth Circuit said targeted African-Americans with almost surgical precision. Mr. Duncan also filed amicus briefs in litigation at the Supreme Court that argued that the DAPA and DACA programs are unconstitutional.

The Alliance for Justice background report on Stuart Kyle Duncan is here.

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