Menashi served under Betsy DeVos and now works directly for Trump. He's exactly as awful as you think he is.
Another Trump lifetime judicial nominee, another nightmare.
This time, it's Steven Menashi, a former clerk for conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Menashi was formally nominated to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, and the Senate Judiciary Committee already has him fast-tracked for a Wednesday hearing.
Menashi's previous work in this administration is a tipoff as to how he'll perform as a judge. He was acting general counsel for the Department of Education under Betsy DeVos in 2017 and 2018, and helped DeVos roll back Title IX protections for victims of campus sexual assault. He also tried to narrow enforcement of civil rights, attempting to delay an Obama-era rule protecting children of color from being disproportionately disciplined or put in special education.
These days, Menashi works for Trump himself as special assistant and senior associate counsel.
Menashi has a very Trumpian history, replete with ill-advised opinions about anyone that isn't a straight white man. He has whined about "gynocentrists" and complained about Take Back the Night marches. He thinks the Human Rights Campaign, in discussing the brutal anti-gay slaying of Matthew Shepard, was "incessantly exploit[ing] Shepard's death for "financial and political benefit." When a Dartmouth fraternity had a "ghetto party" where white attendees wore Afro wigs and carried toy guns, Menashi wrote that it wasn't racist.
He's as disgustingly anti-Muslim as Trump, too. On the campaign trail, Trump told an oft-debunked story about how Gen. John Pershing executed Muslim prisoners with bullets dipped in pig's blood. Menashi wrote about a similar — and also completely debunked — tale of Pershing dipping bullets in pig fat and wrapping Muslim corpses in pigskin to create "a devastating contamination according to Muslim law." Menashi approved of this entirely fictional move, saying that Pershing's actions meant that Muslim "guerilla violence" ended and that the current American response to Islamic extremism was not "as effective."
He's so deep in the Trump way of thinking that he even opposed financial aid based on need, saying that it "punishes families with the foresight and prudence to save for their children's education."
Menashi is just the latest in a long list of distressing Trump nominees to the federal bench. Thanks to Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) stonewalling so many of President Obama's judicial picks, Trump has already been able to name — and see confirmed — 146 federal judges. Those judges are overwhelmingly male and white, of course.
While Trump and McConnell recklessly race through the confirmation process, there's been a drastic dip in the quality of the nominees. Trump has had more judicial picks rated as "not qualified" by the American Bar Association than every judge nominated in the first two years of the presidencies of Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush put together. (Menashi has not yet been rated).
Trump promised to reshape the judiciary, and he's done so in his own image: white, male, conservative, racist, sexist, and anti-LGBTQ. And we've still got two more years to go.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.