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VanDyke’s record makes clear he could use lifetime judicial appointment to push anti-abortion, anti-LGBT ideology

WASHINGTON — Planned Parenthood Federation of America released the statement below in opposition to Lawrence VanDyke, Donald Trump’s recent anti-abortion judicial nominee to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Throughout his career, VanDyke has shown extreme partisanship and attempted to use the legal system to take away people’s rights and freedoms. He has been particularly hostile to abortion access and LGBT people and has worked on cases for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is anti-abortion and has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The bipartisan American Bar Association (ABA) has determined he is not qualified for a lifetime seat on the federal bench, noting in its evaluation, “Mr. VanDyke's accomplishments are offset by the assessments of interviewees that Mr. VanDyke is arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules. There was a theme that the nominee lacks humility, has an ‘entitlement’ temperament, does not have an open mind, and does not always have a commitment to being candid and truthful."

Statement from Anisha Singh, Director, Judiciary and Democracy Affairs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“All Americans should be concerned that Donald Trump and Senate Republicans are now trying to give a lifetime appointment to a man who has not only been deemed unqualified by the ABA, but who also spent his career trying to force the government to echo his harmful and extreme ideologies. His hostility towards LGBT people and reproductive rights make him not just unfit to be a judge on the largest federal courts of appeal in the nation, but egregiously out of touch. If confirmed, VanDyke’s record makes clear he will not hesitate to take people’s rights away if given the chance. We call on the Senate to reject his nomination and only approve judges who can fulfill their duties to faithfully protect our constitutional rights.”

The Trump administration and Senate Republican leadership are using the judicial system as a political tool — filling lifetime appointments with unfit and unqualified people whose records suggest they will not protect individuals against the administration’s attacks on our health and rights. President Trump has appointed nearly 160 judges to the federal bench, with almost 20 percent of the federal judiciary now appointed by this administration. 

Additional background on VanDyke: 

  • As Solicitor General of Montana, VanDyke used the position to push his ideology, by influencing the state to join several anti-abortion amicus briefs and support unconstitutional bans on same-sex marriages. The ABA Committee’s investigation included reports that VanDyke’s “preparation and performance were lacking in some cases in which he did not have a particular personal or political interest.”

  • VanDyke has a long history of associating with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and is known for its anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ policies. In law school Van Dyke was a Blackstone Fellow and then went on to become one of ADF’s "allied attorneys," working on cases in conjunction with ADF.

  • VanDyke is an active member of the anti-abortion Federalist Society.

  • As a law student, VanDyke’s writings made harmful and inaccurate accusations about the LGBTQ community, which echo his involvement with groups such as ADF.

  • VanDyke’s record has also earned him the support of the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization dedicated to outlawing abortion. 


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.