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US Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito Urged to Recuse Themselves From LGBT Cases

17:10  07 november  2019
17:10  07 november  2019 Source:   newsweek.com

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The director of a judicial activist group has written U.S. Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito a letter demanding they recuse themselves from upcoming Supreme Court cases concerning LGBT rights, after the pair posed for pictures with the president of anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

Stephen Breyer, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito standing in front of a curtain: The current justices of the U.S. Supreme Court pose for a group photo on November 30 2018.© MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty The current justices of the U.S. Supreme Court pose for a group photo on November 30 2018.

The liberal group Take Back the Court advocates adding additional justices to the Supreme Court. Their executive director Aaron Belkin wrote the letter on Tuesday, and it was shared to their website and social media on Wednesday. The letter concerns a recent photo showing Kavanaugh and Alito posing with members of NOM and the Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

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The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in multiple cases that could have serious implications for LGBT employment rights. NOM has filed an amicus brief in at least one of the cases, urging the court to rule against LGBT rights.

NOM advocates for what they claim is "traditional marriage," and hope to take marriage rights away from same sex couples. The group's president is Brian Brown, who boasted of a "great day at the US Supreme Court" when posting the contentious photo to his Twitter account on October 29.

Brown is also the president of the World Congress of Families, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Belkin claims that both Kavanaugh and Alito cannot reasonably be expected to be impartial in the LGBT cases, and have an ethical duty to recuse themselves in the cases.

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"The credibility and impartiality of the current Supreme Court is in tatters," writes Belkin in the letter. "Posing for photographs with the president of an advocacy organization that has filed briefs in matters pending before the court makes a mockery of Chief Justice Roberts' assertion that a judge's role is to impartially call balls and strikes."

"If you refuse to recuse yourselves, this incident will further illustrate the urgent need for structural reform of the Supreme Court in order to restore a Court that understands its role is to protect individual rights and our democracy," the letter ends.

Kavanaugh is the newest member of the Supreme Court, having been sworn in on October 6, 2018, after dramatic and tearful confirmation hearings saw him confronted by allegations of sexual assault. Since his confirmation, further claims of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh have emerged. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.

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Alito was nominated by President George W. Bush, and confirmed in 2006. Both justices are considered by observers to be particularly conservative members of the court.

"Justices Kavanaugh's and Alito's inappropriate conduct underscores the importance of judicial reform including expanding the Court," said Belkin to legal news website Law&Crime. "The Justices seem to be flaunting that they have the power to disregard ethics, decency and fairness, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. But I'm not so sure that they're right."

The court is expected to rule on the LGBT cases in 2020.

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