Path 2
Peter Phipps

Peter Phipps

Peter Phipps has been floated as a Supreme Court pick for Trump, and given his record defending policies that antagonized abortion care, it’s no wonder.

Peter Phipps On LGBTQ Rights

Phipps Opposed LGBTQ Equality

Phipps Refused To Commit To Using A Transgender Plaintiff, Defendant, Or Witness’ Preferred Pronouns

Phipps Did Not Commit To Using A Transgender Plaintiff, Defendant, Or Witness’ Preferred Pronouns. According to the Senate Judiciary Committee, “13. Would you honor the request of a plaintiff, defendant, or witness in your courtroom who is transgender to be referred to in accordance with that person’s gender identity? PHIPPS: Appellate courts generally review the record from district courts and the briefs of the parties without the occasion to address parties or witnesses directly by name in open court. If there is a need to use a pronoun to refer to a plaintiff, defendant, or witness in a written opinion, I would review the record and the parties’ briefing to assess the appropriate pronoun.” [Senate Judiciary Committee, 6/12/19]

Phipps Defended The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Law In Witt v. U.S. Air Force And Listed It As One Of His Most Significant Cases

Phipps Defended The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Law In Witt v. U.S. Air Force

Margaret Witt Sued The Air Force After Being Outed As A Lesbian And Discharged Under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” According to the New York Times, “For 17 years, Maj. Margaret Witt rose steadily through the Air Force and Air Force Reserves, winning plaudits from colleagues, strong performance reviews from superiors and service medals from the department. A flight nurse, she treated wounded troops during Desert Storm and was featured in Air Force promotional materials for years. Major Witt is also a lesbian. To hide her sexual orientation, she skipped military functions where dates were invited. She dodged questions about her personal life. And she avoided inviting colleagues home, lest some possession— a book, a photograph — might tip them off. ‘You can’t be honest,’ Major Witt, 46, said in a recent interview. ‘I didn’t want to answer questions, even to say what my weekend plans were.’ Her efforts to maintain a low profile ended in 2004, when the jilted husband of a woman Major Witt had started to date sent a note to the Air Force disclosing her orientation. After an investigation and hearing, the Air Force discharged her in 2007 under the policy known as ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ But her case is far from over. Major Witt sued, and, in what will be one of the most closely watched challenges to the law to date, she is scheduled to appear in federal court in Tacoma, Wash., on Monday to argue that the Air Force violated her rights and must reinstate her.” [New York Times, 9/12/10]

Phipps Defended The Air Force’s Discharge Of Witt Under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” And Stated That Witt’s Same-Sex Relationships Had “Compromised Her Integrity And Her Ability To Lead.” According to the Seattle Times, “Representing the Air Force, Justice Department attorney Peter Phipps said in opening arguments Monday that Witt had ‘compromised her integrity and her ability to lead’ when she conducted a relationship with a married woman and also had relations with two female Air Force officers. Phipps asserted that the Air Force actions against Witt were justified, and reinstating her would put the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, which is supposed to be applied uniformly across the military, in serious risk.” [Seattle Times, 9/13/10]

Phipps Defended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” By Emphasizing The Potential Loss Of Unit Cohesion And Morale Due To The Presence Of LGBTQ Service Members. According to the News Tribune, “Department of Justice attorney Peter Phipps, one of the attorneys representing the Air Force, said in his opening statement that the military policy on gay men and lesbians remains valid and constitutional. The Air Force applied the policy correctly in Witt’s case, he said, and the congressional findings that led to the policy are still sound. The intent of the policy was to avoid the risk of loss of unit cohesion and morale, he said, which is a legitimate government interest. The fact that Witt apparently had support from coworkers within the 446th is irrelevant, he said. ‘This has to be applied the same way everywhere,’ he said. ‘There can’t be special exceptions made without creating problems.’ Military units are often called on to work closely with other units, Phipps said. They are routinely transferred from place to place and must participate in joint training exercises, he said. The effect of gay men and lesbians on unit cohesion cannot just be applied to one squadron, Phipps said. The effect of their presence has to be considered service-wide.” [News Tribune via Nexis News, 9/13/10]

Phipps Listed His Defense Of The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Law In Witt v. U.S. Air Force As One Of His Most Significant Cases

Phipps Listed His Defense Of The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Law In Witt v. U.S. Air Force As One Of His Most Significant Cases. According to Phipps in the Senate Judiciary Committee, “17. Litigation: Describe the ten (10) most significant litigated matters which you personally handled, whether or not you were the attorney of record. […] 4. Witt v. United States Air Force, No. 06-5195 (W.D. Wash.) (Leighton, J.). In this case, a flight nurse was honorably discharged from the Air Force Reserves for ‘homosexual conduct.’ She challenged the constitutionality of the military’s former ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ statue and implementing regulations. As counsel of record for the Air Force, I defeated a preliminary injunction motion and successfully moved to dismiss the case.” [Senate Judiciary Committee, Questions For Judicial Nominees – Peter Phipps, accessed 6/20/24]

Peter Phipps On Abortion

Phipps Repeatedly Defended Policies That Restrict Access To Reproductive Care

Phipps Repeatedly Defended A Policy That Allowed Federally Funded Organizations To Refuse Access To Reproductive Healthcare

Phipps Defended The Federal Funding Of The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Despite The Organization’s Religious Restriction On Abortion Services Or Contraceptives. According to Casetext, “Peter J. Phipps, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Defendants. […] On January 12, 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLU) brought this lawsuit against officials of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), alleging that defendants are violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by allowing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to impose a religion-based restriction on the disbursement of taxpayer-funded services. […] The USCCB has enforced the ‘conscience exception’ by incorporating language in its subcontractor agreements prohibiting NGOs from using TVPA funds for ‘referral for abortion services or contraceptive materials.’” [Casetext, 3/22/10]

Phipps Defended The Department of Health and Human Services’ Decision To Block A 17-Year-Old In A Texas Facility For Unaccompanied And Undocumented Immigrant Children From Obtaining An Abortion. According to the Spokesman Review, “A federal judge said Wednesday she doesn’t understand why federal officials don’t ‘step aside’ and allow a pregnant 17-year-old being held in a Texas facility for unaccompanied immigrant children to get an abortion. […] The ACLU says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is refusing to let the girl be taken for the procedure. The girl may be up to 14 weeks’ pregnant, Rochelle Garza, a lawyer appointed to represent the girl’s legal interests, told the Associated Press on Tuesday. Texas law prohibits most abortions after 20 weeks.” [Spokesman Review, 10/11/17]

The Judge In The Case Chided Phipps, Stating That The Situation Was Entirely Of The Government’s Making. According to the Spokesman-Review, “Beeler told an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Peter Phipps, that the urgent situation was entirely of the government’s making. Private groups that support abortion rights have raised money for the procedure, Garza said. The girl’s attorney has agreed to transport her, according to Beeler. ‘You’re not being asked to do anything,’ the judge told Phipps. ‘You’re not being asked to spend money. You’re really not being asked to transport. You’re just really being asked to stay out of the way.’ Phipps said the girl’s case was on a ‘shaky’ procedural foundation. He said the government might propose having the case heard in Texas or Washington, D.C.” [Spokesman-Review, 10/11/17]

Phipps Received A Distinguished Service Award For His “Untiring Effort” In Defending The So-Called Partial-Birth Abortion Act Of 2003

Phipps Received A Distinguished Service Award For “Untiring Effort” In Defending The So-Called Partial-Birth Abortion Act Of 2003. According to the State News Service, “A Distinguished Service Award was also given to various trial teams that defended simultaneous challenges to the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. The trial teams handled and coordinated three bench trials under a compressed schedule of 120 days. The following individuals received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for their untiring effort: from the Civil Division, Federal Programs Branch- Anthony J. Coppolino, Special Litigation Counsel; Terry M. Henry and W. Scott Simpson, Senior Trial Counsel; Kaija C. Wadsworth, Preeya M Noronha, Andrew I. Warden, Peter J. Phipps, and James A. Gilligan…” [States News Service via Nexis News, 8/31/05]

The So-Called Partial-Birth Abortion Act Of 2003 Banned Intact Dilation And Evacuation Abortions Without An Exception To Protect The Health Of The Woman. According to the New York Times, “The majority upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, whose very name can set off heated debate. The procedure addressed is known medically as ‘intact dilation and evacuation’ or ‘D and X,’ short for dilation and extraction. It involves partly removing an intact fetus, then destroying the skull to complete the abortion. Doctors and other abortion-rights advocates who challenged the law maintained that the procedure is often the safest to use late in the pregnancy, because it minimizes the chances of injury to the uterus. […] Critics of the law had attacked it in part because it does not provide for a broad exception to protect the health of the woman. It does, however, provide for an exception to save a woman’s life. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the majority decision ‘alarming’ and a retreat from the court’s earlier holdings. ‘It tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,’ Justice Ginsburg wrote, in a dissent joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Stephen G. Breyer.” [New York Times, 4/18/07]

Phipps Was Involved In Efforts To Subpoena Private Medical Records From Planned Parenthood And Its Affiliates

Phipps Was Involved In Efforts To Subpoena Private Medical Records From Planned Parenthood And Its Affiliates. According to the Tribune-Review, “Attorneys for Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania received a letter Tuesday from Justice Department attorney Peter Phipps. He said federal prosecutors won’t push for the local, medical records because U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled Friday in San Francisco that the government could not have those same records from Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc., the national organization. The Justice Department would contact the organization ‘if our position changes,’ Phipps wrote.” [Tribune-Review, 3/10/04]

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