The federal judge who suspended the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of an abortion pill failed to disclose two interviews on a Christian radio show where he discussed his extremist views on contraception and gay rights, CNN reported Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, invalidated the FDA’s approval of mifepristone earlier this month, using the language of anti-abortion activists in his ruling. He was confirmed to a lifetime appointment in 2019 by the Senate and was required at the time to submit a detailed account of his previous writings and public appearances.
But CNN uncovered two appearances on a radio show called “Chosen Generation” from 2014 while he was working as deputy general counsel at a religious liberty advocacy group called First Liberty Institute. In one interview from February 2014, Kacsmaryk was asked about the “homosexual agenda,” agreeing with the host that those opposed to same-sex marriage could be viewed as “hostile” enemies of the federal government and saying the nation had adopted “very permissive” policies on contraception.
In another appearance that July, he said religious organizations could face difficulty for opposing “the new sexual orthodoxy” on gay rights.
Neither were included in paperwork he submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kacsmaryk told CNN he had searched for any comments he made prior to his confirmation, but the interviews did not appear, and he did not recall that he had done them.
“After listening to the audio file supplied by CNN, I agree that the content is equivalent to the legal analysis appearing throughout my SJQ and discussed extensively during my Senate confirmation hearing,” Kacsmaryk said in a statement to the network. “Additionally, the transcript supplied by CNN appears to track with the audio and accurately recounts my responses during the phone call — when quoted in full.”
The revelations come just days after The Washington Post reported Kacsmaryk did not disclose his ties to a 2017 article in a Texas law review that criticized protections for transgender people and Americans seeking abortions. Kacsmaryk was listed as the author of the article, but emailed the editor of the journal weeks later asking for his name to be removed and replaced with two colleagues. The legal group he worked for told the Post that his name was merely used as a “placeholder” and that he didn’t provide much to the piece.
But Kacsmaryk had been interviewed for the judgeship at the time and was awaiting a White House interview.
The initial report in the Post prompted fury from Democrats. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) called for Kacsmaryk’s immediate resignation, claiming the judge had “misled the American people … Because he knew he wouldn’t be confirmed if people found out he was a religious zealot.”
GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) also criticized Kacsmaryk’s ruling on the medication abortion drug, saying she was “quite concerned” by the decision, which is now on hold as it is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The FDA approved mifepristone in 2000 and it has been safely used by millions of Americans for medication abortion since. It’s just one of two medications approved for the procedure and accounts for about 60% of all abortions in the country.