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US News Trump nominee cries over LGBTQ rights record

14:50  31 october  2019
14:50  31 october  2019 Source:   news.sky.com

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a group of people sitting at a table: Lawrence VanDyke broke down after being questioned about his attitude towards the LGBTQ community © Other Lawrence VanDyke broke down after being questioned about his attitude towards the LGBTQ community

Donald Trump's choice to fill a seat on the federal appeals court broke down in tears after being questioned about his attitude towards the LGBTQ community.

Lawrence VanDyke - who is the president's nominee for the post on the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals - started crying after reacting to a scathing letter against his confirmation by the American Bar Association (ABA).

After conducting 60 interviews, the ABA concluded that Mr VanDyke - who currently serves as a deputy assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice - was "not qualified" for the judicial branch.

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a man in a suit sitting at a table: Lawrence VanDyke serves as a deputy assistant attorney general © Rex Features Lawrence VanDyke serves as a deputy assistant attorney general

In the dozens of discussions with legal peers, some deemed him to be "arrogant" and "lazy" - they said he "lacked humility" - had an "entitlement" temperament and did not have "an open mind".

During his confirmation hearing, US Republican Senator, Josh Hawley said: "The letter also says that you would not commit to being fair to litigants before you, notably members of the LGBTQ community.

Josh Hawley wearing a suit and tie sitting in a chair: Lawrence VanDyke was questioned by US Republican Senator, Josh Hawley © Other Lawrence VanDyke was questioned by US Republican Senator, Josh Hawley

"Can you speak to that? Did you say that you wouldn't be fair to members of the LGBTQ community?"

In an emotional reply, Mr VanDkye responded: "Senator, that was, that was the part of a letter."

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He then began crying, saying: "I did not say that".

Mr VanDyke then took a deep breath before continuing: "I apologise. I am sorry. No, I did not say that. I did not believe that.

"It is a fundamental belief of mine that all people are created in the image of God. They should all be treated with dignity and respect, senator."

Mr Hawley then asked: "Can you commit today to this committee that, if confirmed, that you would treat every litigant who came before you with respect and with dignity?"

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"Absolutely, senator" - replied Mr VanDyke. "I would not have allowed myself to be nominated for this position if I did not think I could do that."

"Including members of the LGBT community and any other community that has been historically disadvantaged in this country?" asked Mr Hawley.

"Absolutely, senator," Mr VanDyke replied.

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