Lawyer Pamela Karlan, who commented about President Trump’s 14-year-old son, Barron, during the 2019 impeachment hearing, joins Biden’s DOJ civil rights team. She is a law professor at Stanford, a veteran U.S. Supreme Court advocate, and a prominent progressive voice on LGBTQ matters, voting protections, and anti-discrimination efforts. Karlan was part of Biden’s transition team. She was responsible for reviewing President Trump’s DOJ during the transition in the fall.
She was also on Facebook’s oversight board, charged with making decisions about content on its platform. The board is organized as a limited liability company separate from Facebook, and it operates with a $130 million trust from Facebook. Brendan Carr posted a thread on Twitter in May of 2020, exposing the members he called “speech police,” including Karlan.
Meet your new speech police!
Facebook now has an Oversight Board empowered to take down posts.
Gotta be non-partisan people, right? Nope!
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) May 6, 2020
While testifying at the impeachment trial, Karlan brought Barron Trump into her testimony to illustrate her opinion that President Trump behaved as if Article ll gave him “the power to do anything he wants.” However, she later apologized when her comment was not received well. Her apology was followed by a call for apologies from President Trump.
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) had asked Karlan how she might compare President Trump to kings in the context of what the “framers were afraid of.” Karlan answered, “The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the President can name his son Barron he can’t make him a baron.”
An archived tweet shows First Lady Melania Trump’s response.
A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.
— Melania Trump 45 Archived (@FLOTUS45) December 4, 2019
According to the Federalist Society, Karlan is an “award-winning teacher” and “co-director of Stanford’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, where students litigate live cases before the Court.” She is a legal expert on voting and the political process. She also serves as a “commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission, an assistant counsel and cooperating attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.”
Karlan is a leading advocate for LGBTQ rights and argued her case in front of the Supreme Court in October of 2019. She argued that civil rights law protects employees from discrimination due to sexual orientation. She took the case because she believes that workers’ performance should be based on the “quality of their work and not on the basis of who they are.” The Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision on June 15 that the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” also applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
When Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it was not intended to address sexual orientation as a protected class. The Trump administration argued that the Supreme Court acted out of its bounds because it is not a legislative body.