“I come here every year, and let me tell you one thing I’ve learned—this is no town to be giving people the impression you’re some kind of f**got,” lawyer John K. Bush said during a private speech in 2005 at the Forum Club of Louisville.
Bush was quoting Hunter S. Thompson, freely using the anti-LGBTQ slur to describe who he doesn’t want to see in the Kentucky city. And now, 12 years later, Bush has been confirmed as a judge to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Nominated by President Donald Trump, Bush—who has long been a right-wing blogger, both under his own name and the pseudonym “G. Morris,” according to the Daily Beast—has a long history of controversial and offensive statements. In 2011, he criticized the U.S. State Department’s gender-neutral and gay-inclusive passport options, which replaced mother and father listings with “Parent 1” and “Parent 2.” He complained that the decision would “lead to outrage,” in the process ignoring the importance of gender-neutral parent options for gay couples.
“It’s just like the government to decide it needs to decide something like which parent is number one or number two. When that happens, both parents are subservient to the nanny state–more precisely, a nanny Secretary of State,” he wrote, attacking then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In the 2016 paper “Eight Ways to Sunday,” Bush also criticized the Kentucky Supreme Court, worrying that the court had “embraced an expansive view under the Kentucky Constitution” on gay sexuality. He argued that the judicial body “immunized consensual sodomy from criminal prosecution under the state constitution in the wake of a contrary holding of the U.S. Supreme Court under the federal Constitution.” Bush believed the court was asserting “independence from the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Bush has also compared abortion to slavery, calling them “the two greatest tragedies in our country” in 2008. He connected the civil rights movement to pro-life activism, arguing that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would likely have been pro-life “had he lived long enough.” Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has also criticized Bush’s judgment after he cited from a website that pushed conspiracy theories suggesting President Obama was not born in the United States.
Trump has made numerous appointments of individuals who in policy or vocally have supported an anti-LGBTQ agenda—from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. On Thursday, every Republican senator in the room voted in favor of Bush and he won the lifelong appointment in a 51-47 vote.