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LGBTQ+ expectations if one of these Black women named to High Court

Top three picks have had engagements- not all positive- past actions & statements on LGBTQ+ issues may factor into the confirmation process

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From left, Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina J. Michelle Childs, Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Ketanji Brown Jackson & California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger (Blade photo montage)

WASHINGTON – With another battle over the U.S. Supreme Court underway after the announced retirement of U.S. Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, progressives have a chance to make an imprint on the judiciary with the nomination of the first Black woman as promised by President Biden — and their past actions and statements on LGBTQ issues may factor into the confirmation process.

The three Black women most talked about as potential choices — D.C. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs of South Carolina and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger — have each made statements or undertaken past work related to issues facing the LGBTQ community, and they’re not all positive, despite the reliable reputation they’ve all built in the progressive legal community.

Ketanji Brown Jackson, who’s considered to be closely aligned with Breyer after having clerked for him between 1999 and 2000, is seen as a hero in the progressive community for her previous work as a public defender. But she once worked as an adviser for a Baptist school in the Maryland suburbs that had a mission statement against LGBTQ people and abortion.

The now-defunct school, known as Montrose Christian School, had a statement on its website condemning homosexuality and abortion consistent with its religious views, as documented by the conservative Washington Examiner at the time of Jackson’s confirmation process for her current seat on the D.C. Court of Appeals.

The mission statement urged students to uphold a “Christian character,” which among other things in the views of the school, meant they should oppose “all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography.” Abortion is also implicitly condemned in the mission statement: “We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.”

If nominated, conservatives smarting from attacks on now U.S. Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett during her confirmation process over her ties to religious groups with anti-LGBTQ views, as well as her affiliation with the anti-LGBTQ legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, may cynically highlight Jackson’s past affiliation with the school as a reason to attack her or progressives as hypocrites for not opposing her confirmation.

Jackson addressed her past work with the school during the confirmation process for her current job in response to questions from Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) on her past work, maintaining her role on the advisory board for Montrose Baptist Church was limited and she was unaware of its position statement.

“I was aware that Montrose Christian School was affiliated with Montrose Baptist Church,” Jackson said. “I was not aware that the school had a public website or that any statement of beliefs was posted on the school’s website at the time of my service. My service on the advisory school board primarily involved planning for school fundraising activities for the benefit of enrolled students. I did not receive any compensation for my service.”

Trying to predict the bent of potential justices on LGBTQ issues, or any issue, through the lens of previous isolated actions or past work can be difficult, even based on the party of the president who’s making a selection for the U.S. Supreme Court. As an example, U.S. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch upon nomination by former President Trump was hailed by conservative groups and vehemently opposed by LGBTQ groups, but ended up writing the majority opinion last year in Bostock v. Clayton County against anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Similarly, U.S. Associate Justice Elena Kagan during her confirmation process for her previous role as solicitor general said in written responses to questions that no right for same-sex couples to marry has been found in the U.S. Constitution, but ended up joining rulings for same-sex marriage in Windsor v. United States and Obergefell v. Hodges.

Nan Hunter, an emeritus law professor at Georgetown University who has written about LGBTQ issues, downplayed in an email to the Blade Jackson’s affiliation with Montrose Christian School as evidence she would be hostile to LGBTQ people as a Supreme Court justice.

“Judge Jackson apparently volunteered for a year to help raise money for student services at a Christian school in the D.C. suburbs,” Hunter said. “There is no indication anywhere in her professional record or personal experience that she shares anti-gay views. In my opinion, her lifelong commitment to equality more than outweighs any concern that she might be biased against LGBT rights.”

Another potential Biden pick, J. Michelle Childs, the South Carolina judge with the potential for bipartisan support after being recommended by both Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.S.C.), has had a more direct on impact on issues facing LGBTQ people.

As a trial judge, Childs was presented in 2014 with litigation seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples in South Carolina. Although Childs as part of the litigation process rejected a request to make the lawsuit more broad and serve as vehicle for same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses, she found South Carolina was required to honor the same-sex marriages of two lesbian couples performed in other states. Childs based on her decision on a then-recent decision from the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down the marriage ban in Virginia and guided her as precedent in her state.

“Because marriage is a fundamental right, South Carolina’s marriage laws are subject to strict scrutiny and survive only if they are narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest,” Childs wrote in her decision. “Based on the foregoing, the court finds that South Carolina’s marriage laws are not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest as they impermissibly infringe on plaintiffs’ fundamental right to marry. Therefore, after careful consideration of the parties’ respective positions, the court finds that Plaintiffs have established the violation of their rights protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and, as a result, they are entitled to summary judgment on their due process claims.”

Leondra Kruger, as a member of the California legal community, has also directly engaged with the LGBTQ community and was a keynote speaker in 2019 for the annual dinner for the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association, a San Diego-based affinity group for LGBTQ lawyers. The Blade this week reached a member of leadership of the association for comment on Kruger’s participation at the dinner.

In terms of legal work on LGBTQ issues, Kruger worked in the office of the U.S. Justice Department during the Obama administration and her name was under U.S. Solicitor General Donald Veriilli among the signed briefs in litigation in California against the anti-LGBTQ Defense of Marriage Act known as Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management.

Kruger’s contribution to the work in the Obama administration against DOMA, which the Supreme Court struck down in 2013, is articulated in a petition before the high court seeking review of litigation challenging the law for prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

“Section 3 of DOMA denies to same-sex couples le­gally married under state law significant federal bene­fits that are otherwise available to persons lawfully mar­ried under state law. Because such differential treat­ment bears no substantial relationship to any important governmental objective, Section 3 violates the guarantee of equal protection secured by the Fifth Amendment.”

A queer Black woman for the bench?

Although not named in the media as among the Black women who are the major potential choices, the idea of Biden naming a pick who’s both a Black woman and queer has emerged in the advocacy community. The LGBTQ Victory Institute, which trains and seeks the appointment of LGBTQ people in federal government, has openly recommended Washington State Supreme Court Judge G. Helen Whitener to serve as Breyer’s replacement.

If Biden sought to name a queer Black woman who sits on the federal judiciary, another choice could be U.S. District Judge Staci Michelle Yandle of Illinois, an Obama-appointed judge confirmed in 2014.

One LGBTQ strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity for greater candor, said communications with the White House have taken place on naming a queer Black woman to the Supreme Court and “there’s not been a commitment, but there hasn’t been a not-commitment.”

The White House has received the names, the strategist said, and “acknowledged that they’re qualified.” The last conservation on potentially naming a queer Black woman to the Supreme Court, the strategist said, took place last week in the wake of the announcement of Breyer’s retirement.

“I think the last year shows a really strong commitment to the LGBTQ community and having representation from our community across the administration, and so they were happy to see us surfacing qualified names of Black LGBTQ women,” the strategist said.

The White House didn’t respond to the Washington Blade’s request for comment Wednesday on how LGBTQ issues may be factoring into Biden’s selection process for the Supreme Court.

Talk of a potential queer Black woman pick for the Supreme Court comes at a time when the LGBTQ legal group Lamdba Legal has issued a report on the dearth of LGBTQ people on the judiciary. According to the report, compared to estimates 5.6 percent of Americans who identify as LGBTQ, only 1.6 percent of the federal judiciary identifies as such. As of January 2022, that includes 11 openly lesbian or gay federal district court judges and three openly lesbian or gay judges in the federal circuit courts. There has never been an openly transgender, nonbinary, or bisexual nominee in the history of the judiciary, the report finds.

Scarcity of LGBTQ people, the report finds, is also present among Biden’s choices to fill vacancies on the court despite his pledge to value diversity, although that percentage appears more consistent with the population at large. Among the 81 Biden nominees, six percent are openly gay or lesbian, the report finds.

Sharon McGowan, legal director of Lambda Legal, said in a statement based on the report the current state of the federal judiciary “fails to reflect the diversity of the nation it serves, a reality that has devastating, real-life consequences for those on the margins of society,”

“The nomination and confirmation of more openly LGBTQ+ judges must be a priority for the Biden administration in order to enhance the quality of judicial adjudication and improve the credibility of the federal judiciary as a whole,” McGowan added.

LGBTQ legal groups, for their part, appear at this stage to be taking a wait-and-see approach to Biden’s potential choice and not weighing in with conclusions on any reviews of their backgrounds. Lambda Legal, for example, indicated via a spokesperson the organization is “doing our analysis now, but don’t have any comments to make on the subject as of yet.”

Christopher Vasquez, spokesperson for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said via email to the Blade the organization has yet to begin its evaluation, but has faith in the Biden administration on its eventual choice.

“NCLR has not yet evaluated any potential Supreme Court nominees to replace Justice Breyer,” Vasquez said. “However, during his first year in office, President Biden has shown a strong commitment to appointing judicial nominees who are pro-equality and represent the full diversity of the United States. We look forward to evaluating the president’s nominee when he names them and are confident he will choose a justice who is dedicated to LGBTQ equality as well as racial, gender, and economic justice, and has an unwavering commitment to democracy and the rule of law.”

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Marjorie Taylor Greene tweets homophobic attack on Sen. Wiener

“Greene is a toxic person & embodies why the MAGA movement is dangerous, a threat to our democracy & to the personal safety of LGBTQ people”

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Calif state Sen. Scott Wiener, (D-San Francisco) (Photo credit: California LGBTQ Legislative Caucus)

LOS ANGELES – Far-right Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene attacked Calif. State Sen. Scott Wiener, (D-San Francisco) on Tuesday after Wiener made a point of calling out use of the word “groomer,” as the abusive reaction and fallout from right-wing sources regarding the mass-shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, continues to ratchet up against the LGBTQ+ community.

The word “groomer” is categorically an anti-LGBTQ hate word. It’s super homophobic/transphobic. It plays into the slander that LGBTQ people are pedophiles. It’s no different than calling someone a fagg*t. If you call someone groomer, you’re inciting violence against LGBTQ people,” Wiener stated in his tweet.

Quoting Wiener’s tweet the far-right MAGA Georgia congresswoman called the Senator a “communist” questioning Wiener’s loyalty and service to both the State of California and the U.S. she then went on to accuse Wiener of being a “groomer” implying that the Senator was a predator of minors for sexual purposes:

Pass my Protect Children’s Innocence Act to stop communist groomers like this from using state government power to take children away from their parents to allow a for-profit medical industry to chop off these confused children’s genitals before they are even old enough to vote.”

In an emailed statement, Senator Wiener responded to the homophobic attack by the Georgia Republican:

“The same day Elon Musk reinstated QAnon extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene, she launched a vile homophobic attack on me because of my vocal advocacy in response to the Club Q slaughter. When Greene has attacked me in the past, threats against me have typically increased. She is a toxic person and embodies why the MAGA movement is so dangerous. Green is a threat to our democracy and to the personal safety of LGBTQ people.”

The term ‘groomer’ is considered highly offensive as it broadly brushstroke paints LGBTQ+ people as child molesters.

The definition according to the Urban online dictionary:

groomer

1 (the crime definition): An adult that builds a sense of trust with a minor to exploit and/or abuse them, typically (but not always) in a sexual manner. This is a crime, and it also causes harm to the minor.

2 (in US politics): What republican politicians and supporters refer to LGBTQIA+ people and their allies as, to manipulate their audience to pass anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation. This is targeting and harming LGBTQIA+ people and the people using the word in this manner typically are (or have connections with those who are) actual groomers.

National Public Radio, (NPR) reported this past May the Movement Advancement Project’s executive director, Ineke Mushovic, pointed out:

“What the far right often does is they engage people’s reptilian brains, the fight-or-flight instinct,” says Mushovic. “And so it behooves far-right conservatives to put people in a state of fear, because then they’re reactive. They don’t support change.”

The “grooming” narrative, Mushovic added, “taps into this primal sense of fear and this kind of parental protective instinct. But we know it’s a completely false narrative.”

The “grooming” narrative has been actively promoted by conservative activist Christopher Rufo, and Daily Wire pundit and transphobe Matt Walsh who have both attacked gender affirming care in their assaults on the LGBTQ+ community.

Green’s H.R.8731 – Protect Children’s Innocence Act, was introduced this past August 19 and has forty-nine Republican members listed as co-sponsors. The language as introduced stated targets primarily Trans youth healthcare and targets colleges and universities from “offering instruction in gender affirming care:”

This bill places restrictions on the provision of gender affirming care. Gender affirming care includes performing surgery, administering medication, or performing other procedures for the purpose of changing the body of an individual to correspond to a sex that differs from the individual’s biological sex.

Specifically, the bill makes it a felony to perform any gender affirming care on a minor and it permits a minor on whom such care is performed to bring a civil action against each individual who provided the care.

Additionally, the bill prohibits the use of federal funds for gender affirming care or for health insurance that covers such care. Such care may not be provided in a federal health care facility or by a federal employee. The bill also prohibits qualified health plans from including coverage for gender affirming care. Further, plans that include coverage for such care are not eligible for federal subsidies. […]

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Out AG candidate wins, Rollins concedes congressional race

‘Fixing our system of disagreement matters. Integrity matters. Truth matters. Democracy matters, elections matter’

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Kris Mayes & Will Rollins (Photo Credit: LGBTQ Victory Fund/Rollins Campaign)

PHOENIX – The closest statewide competition in the Grand Canyon State was the race for Arizona attorney general. On Monday Maricopa County released its final election results that had openly Out candidate Kris Mayes beating her Republican opponent Abe Hamadeh by only 510 votes.

“Kris’ victory is a win for all Arizonans. Voters chose a champion of equality who believes in democracy over a cynic who spread election disinformation for his own perceived political gain. In a state with bans on abortion and same-sex marriage still on the books, the symbolism of voters choosing an out LGBTQ Attorney General cannot be overstated,” Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement. “Kris has a long track record of taking on big fights and winning on behalf of her community and will be a powerful pro-equality, pro-choice force in Arizona. Today’s results are a resounding rebuke to the hate and intolerance sweeping our country. Voters made their voices heard loud and clear: enough is enough. It’s time for change, it’s time for courage.”

There are currently just two out LGBTQ state Attorneys General in the United States, according to LGBTQ Victory Institute: Dana Nessel in Michigan and Maura Healey in Massachusetts. In case of Massachusetts, Healy is now the governor-elect of Massachusetts, having won the 2022 election.

According to Phoenix NBC News affiliate KPNX 12, the state’s unofficial final results have placed Mayes only 510 votes ahead of Hamadeh to become the state’s next attorney general. The results will likely spur an automatic recount after state election numbers are certified on Dec. 5. 

********************************

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – In the race to represent California’s 41st Congressional District in the House of Representatives, openly gay Democratic candidate and former federal prosecutor Will Rollins congratulated his GOP opponent Ken Calvert and conceded the race.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Rollins said: “I have called Representative Calvert to offer my congratulations. I had hoped for a different result, but I respect our democratic system and am sure that our fine election workers did their jobs honestly and responsibly, and I accept the count. Thank you to the hundreds of thousands of you who voted.” 

He added:

“So, what’s next? What’s next for our communities, and what’s next for our country? The truth is that we are in a moment of uncertainty, because America is divided. And there are a lot of people out there who benefit – financially, militarily, politically – when Americans turn against one another.

“But this campaign proves that ordinary Americans have the power to reject those who try to divide us. That is how we built this country, and that is how we built this campaign. We are a community of Democrats, Republicans, and independents who came together to restore compromise, civility, and progress in the United States.”

Rollins also noted:

“This community is growing. Ordinary Americans of good faith uniting to elect leaders who know that this country is about more than one person, more than one president, more than one party, and more than one congressman. We may not always agree on how to solve the country’s problems, but the point of this campaign has always been that the way we disagree matters. Fixing our system of disagreement matters. Integrity matters. Truth matters. Democracy matters.”

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Kelly cites white supremacy after losing House race in Tennessee

A 2022 report by The Sentencing Project shows that 21% of Black voters in Tennessee are permanently barred from voting

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Odessa Kelly lost her House race in a gerrymandered district. (Photo by Shance Ware)

NASHVILLE – Odessa Kelly was on track to become the first openly gay Black woman elected to represent Tennessee in the U.S. House. On election night, as votes were counted, Kelly watched that dream slip out of reach. 

“The loss didn’t come because I’m an openly gay Black woman in the South, the loss came because of racism,” Kelly said in an interview with the Blade.

Kelly, who ran to represent Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District against incumbent Mark Green (R), lost the election by more than 20 points. Kelly blames white supremacy, gerrymandering, and voter suppression for her loss.

“I just lost a congressional race due to White Supremacy, Gerrymandering, Racist (GOP), Undercover Racist BlueDog Dems, and Voter Suppression,” Kelly tweeted post-election.

Republican-led gerrymandering parceled predominantly Democratic Davidson County, which includes Nashville, into three separate congressional districts. This gerrymandering obliterated representation for Nashville residents at the state and federal level. 

“We have zero representation in the largest, most populated city in Tennessee,” Kelly said. 

Gerrymandering often intentionally marginalizes minority communities’ voices and votes by relocating them to conservative districts. East Nashville, the minority ruled and politically Democratic district where Kelly grew up, was moved to the conservative and predominantly white district of Cookeville. But Nashville residents aren’t the only Tennesseans affected by gerrymandering in the state. 

Statewide, Tennessean voters of color were disproportionately split up and relocated to districts where they are outnumbered and their voices are drowned out. This leaves communities of color at the mercy of Jim Crow and racist political tactics that suppress their voices and their votes because they no longer hold a majority vote in any of these new districts. 

“White supremacy showed up in our state legislature and in me losing this race,” Kelly said. 

The systemic disenfranchisement of Black voters in Tennessee also played a major role in Kelly’s loss. A 2022 report by The Sentencing Project shows that 21% of Black voters in Tennessee are permanently barred from voting, while only 8% of adult voters are barred statewide. 

And a Tennessee Advisory Committee Report shows that Tennessee is one of 11 states that permanently disenfranchises voters. With some of the toughest laws and requirements for voting, the state makes it hard for Tennesseans to earn the right to vote again. 

“I assume that the majority of those individuals who can’t vote would probably vote for me because they’re looking for relief and pathways out of poverty,” Kelly said. “And those are the things that I’m fighting for.” 

As for what’s next, Kelly says she is determined to keep fighting for a country and political system where those forgotten by the status quo are represented. .

“I will not stop. I will not give up. I will keep fighting because the issues don’t change.” 

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California Politics

Lindsey Horvath elected to LA County Board of Supervisors

Horvath extended her appreciation to outcoming Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who had endorsed and backed her in the campaign to succeed her

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Lindsey Horvath (Screenshot/YouTube CBS Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES – West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath won slightly more than a plurality of the vote gaining a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors representing District Three after State Senator Bob Hertzberg conceded Thursday afternoon.

In a statement released Hertzberg wrote; “I want to offer my sincere congratulations to Sup-Elect Horvath. The challenges LA faces are extraordinary and it’ll take someone with her work ethic to be successful. Thank you to everyone who has supported me- my family, friends, elected leaders, & residents across SD3.”

 

“I am humbled and honored that the voters have chosen me to serve as their next Supervisor. Their confidence and support fueled our people-powered campaign across the finish line, and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to represent the people of District 3,” Horvath told supporters and county residents in a statement Thursday evening.

“I want to thank Senator Bob Hertzberg for his incredibly generous and kind phone call, for his commitment to public service, and for engaging in this hard fought campaign to make Los Angeles a better place. I welcome his supporters into the work we will all need to do together. Regardless of who you voted for, I will always work my heart out to represent you and the best interests of our communities,” she said.

She also extended her appreciation to outcoming Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who had endorsed and backed her in the campaign to succeed her in the seat.

SUPERVISOR 3RD DISTRICT

Candidate(s)VotesPercent
LINDSEY HORVATH (N)227,56152.24%
BOB HERTZBERG (N)208,01947.76%
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Politics

Cicilline joins clergy rallying support of Respect for Marriage Act

The legislation presents a rare area on which the deeply divided Congress has struck an agreement to pass a significant bipartisan bill

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U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) speaks during a rally in the Lower Senate Park on Nov. 16, 2022. (Washington Blade photo by Christopher Kane)

WASHINGTON – Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline, chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and member of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees, joined multi-faith clergy for a rally on Thursday at the Lower Senate Park in support of the Respect for Marriage Act.

Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat who co-sponsored the U.S. House of Representative’s version of the legislation, which the lower chamber passed this summer, celebrated the U.S. Senate’s expected vote today to send the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk.

The congressman said that while faith has sometimes been misused as a cudgel to argue against same-sex marriage, “many people support marriage equality not despite their religious beliefs but rather because of them.”

“As a proud Jew, it’s part of my religious community and tradition,” Cicilline said. “We’re taught to heal the world and repair the broken world. I’m proud as a member of Congress and chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus to follow our Biblical command to pursue justice.”

Cicilline’s message about the personal significance of the protections offered by the Respect for Marriage Act was echoed by, among other speakers, Revs. Nicole Garcia, faith work director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, and Paul Raushenbush, president of the Interfaith Alliance.

Yesterday, a dozen Senate Republicans joined their 50 Democratic colleagues to support a procedural cloture vote, which advanced the Respect for Marriage Act to a floor vote by the full chamber.

Biden and a chorus of LGBTQ, civil rights, and legal advocacy organizations celebrated the GOP members’ support of the bill, which leadership in the House and Senate have made a major priority for Congress’s lame duck session.

The Respect for Marriage Act presents a rare area on which the deeply divided legislature has struck an agreement to pass a significant bipartisan bill.

The impetus behind the legislation was the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which saw a concurring opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas in which he pledged to revisit the high court’s precedent-making rulings on other matters, including same-sex marriage.

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Pelosi announces end of her tenure as House Speaker

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also announced he will step down from leadership to pave the way for “a new generation of leaders”

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Nancy Pelosi addresses the House from the chamber floor Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022 announcing she is stepping down from leadership (Screenshot/YouTube Washington Post)

WASHINGTON – On Thursday afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) announced her decision to pass the leadership torch to the younger generation of Democratic members in the lower chamber, stepping down after decades of service in that role.

“I will continue to speak from the people of San Francisco as a member of the House,” she said, but “I will not seek reelection to democratic leadership in the next caucus.”

Republicans secured a narrower-than-expected seven-seat majority in the 2022 midterm elections, with Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) poised to become the next House Speaker when the new Congress is seated in January.

Pelosi, whose decision to step down comes weeks after her husband was brutally attacked in the couple’s San Francisco home, reached an agreement with fellow Democratic members in 2018 that she would resign from her position in leadership by the end of this year.

While she did not address the question of who might succeed her as Democratic leader of the House, the website Puck reported on Thursday that Pelosi plans to throw her support behind Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Ny.).

“Never did I think I would go from homemaker to House Speaker,” Pelosi said from the floor of the House. Reflecting on her 35 years of service in the chamber, the congresswoman celebrated the work that she and the Democratic caucus have accomplished.

This included passage of transformative legislation under the administrations of three presidents, she said: George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden. Pelosi, who became the first woman Speaker of the House in 2007, also held that role under former President Donald Trump’s tenure.

“When I think of Nancy Pelosi, I think of dignity,” opens a statement from President Joe Biden on the Speaker’s announcement:

“History will note she is the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in our history. There are countless examples of how she embodies the obligation of elected officials to uphold their oath to God and country to ensure our democracy delivers and remains a beacon to the world. In everything she does, she reflects a dignity in her actions and a dignity she sees in the lives of the people of this nation.”

Democratic Senator Alex Padilla of California also released a statement, which read in part: “Speaker Pelosi’s perseverance and commitment to unity has served as a source of strength both at home and abroad in the face of extremist attempts to harm our democracy, our nation’s Capitol, and even her own family.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement in which he said, in part: “Her career in Congress, and as Speaker, has been a masterclass in powerful, empathetic leadership, guided by her strong moral compass and unmatched political skill.”

The LGBTQ Victory Institute hailed the Speaker’s record on matters of consequence to the community. Pelosi, the group wrote, “is the most pro-LGBTQ Speaker in American history – constantly championing our rights and causes – and the relief and pride that came with having a fierce defender in that position cannot be understated.”

“From her first floor speech in 1987 to today’s, Speaker Pelosi has been an indefatigable champion for LGBTQ+ civil rights, reproductive freedom and the health and well-being of all Americans,” Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang said in a statement. “She is, without question, the most effective Speaker in history, and we are eternally grateful for her service.”

Also on Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced in a letter to his Democratic colleagues that he would not seek another term in leadership.

Having served in leadership positions for 36 of his 42 years in the House, Hoyer wrote, “I have been honored to serve alongside Nancy Pelosi, whose tenure as Speaker was both historic and extraordinarily productive.”

Hoyer announced his endorsement of Jeffries to replace him as the House’s Democratic Leader.

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