Update (05/22/18): In a 51-47 vote, the Senate has confirmed Howard Nielson to be US District Judge for the District of Utah.
Donald Trump has nominated Howard Nielson Jr. for a lifetime judgeship on the United States District Court for the District of Utah. Nielson is yet another extremist judiciary appointee with a longstanding history of bigotry. For example, Nielson argued that Judge Vaughn Walker, who ruled that California’s Proposition 8 banning gay marriage was unconstitutional, was unable to rule fairly on the case because Judge Walker is gay. Nielson’s claim that a gay judge cannot carry out his responsibilities simply because of his sexual orientation is deeply troubling.
Nielson has not only attacked LGTBQ+ people’s rights but also advocated for the use of torture. He defended Stephen Bradbury’s “torture memos,” which the Bush administration used to justify torturing detainees suspected of terrorism using methods like waterboarding. Former Senator John McCain (R-AZ) referred to these memos as “permission slips for torture” that violate the Geneva Conventions.
Trump’s nomination of Nielson to a lifetime judgeship is an attack on the LGBTQ+ community and the Geneva Conventions’ prohibitions on torturing civilians. Nielson’s personal beliefs and track record show he would not be a fair and impartial judge. His disdain for the the LGBTQ+ community and his defense of the indefensible make him an outrageous choice for a lifetime judgeship appointment.