speech gaffes

Daniel Alter’s Chance To Become First Openly Gay Federal Judge Derailed By ‘Merry Christmas’ Greeting

Daniel Alter, a former assistant U.S. attorney and Anti-Defamation League national director, was recommended by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer in February to become a new federal judge in his home state, which would’ve made him the first gay federal benchwarmer — but the White House was all “no thanks” after reading some of Alter’s past scribblings, like how store operators should nix the “Merry Christmas” greetings (because they’re too Christian) and how he was happy to see a case involving the words “under God” reach the Supreme Court (which didn’t turn out the way Alter wanted, but left open the possibility for future challenges).

Those published remarks made Alter too much of a wild card for the 60-vote majority needed to get him through Senate confirmations, the White House determined, so there goes his chances.

Schumer announced his support for Alter at a HRC dinner. HRC also backed his potential nomination, with president Joe Solmonese saying at the time, Alter is “eminently qualified for a position on the federal bench.” Asked for comment, HRC spokesflack Fred Sainz suddenly has nothing to say.

As for the ADL, they’re just upset that Alter’s remarks as counsel for the anti-anti-Semitic organization were used to trounce his chances. Oh, and Alter is also upset, for one obvious reason: he says he never made those comments.

[Deborah Lauter, director of civil rights for the Anti-Defamation League] said Alter doesn’t recall speaking to The New Republic for the 2004 article and that Alter was misquoted in the 2005 CNS article. “It was an inaccurate report and ADL should have insisted the record be corrected at the time,” Lauter said. Lauter clarified that the Anti-Defamation League has never objected to retailers wishing customers “Merry Christmas.” “But the bottom line is even if he made the comment, which he didn’t, it shouldn’t have disqualified him from service as a judge,” she said.

And that’s politics for ya. [Washington Blade]

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8 Comments

  • Kurt

    I don’t want to blame this guy for everything his employer does, but I increasingly find the ADL to be practioners of the bigotry they claim to oppose. Their statement on the New York Muslim cultural center was the last straw.

  • Cam

    Wow, HRC certainly has a lot of pull with the Administration don’t they?

  • Queer Supremacist

    @Kurt: What did they say? Hopefully something along the lines of what I think: that a Muslim cultural center near ground zero is the equivalent of a Der Wienerschnitzel next to Auschwitz or a Baptist church by the field where Matthew Shepard was left for dead.

    I thought that Vaughn Walker, who is openly gay and has been on the bench for two decades, was a federal judge.

  • the crustybastard

    Ferchrissakes, it’s like we elected President Tony Perkins.

  • Brutus

    @the crustybastard: Oh yeah, this guy should get a free pass just because he’s gay.

    These statement would disqualify any nominee since Bork. Get a clue, man.

  • the crustybastard

    @Brutus:

    I didn’t say a goddam thing about him being gay, you tiresome shitwit.

    My point was astonishment that an otherwise qualified judge got torpedoed by Obama for failing a religious test.

    The Constitution explicitly forbids religious tests.

    “Constitutional scholar” my aching ass. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Obama hasn’t actually bothered to read the Constitution.

  • peteNsfo

    His comments make it impossible for him to become a judge in our political climate, but I absolutely share his opinion and wish the whole lot of religious-types would simply go away.

  • patty

    Obama disgusts me. He’s so afraid of Glen Beck that he would nix a qualified nominee because of his *alleged* atheism. Religious test indeed.

Comments are closed.