– (Oct. 10, 2023) -– Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach is asking the Chief Justice of the 10th
Circuit Court of Appeals to cease the practice of requiring those appearing before the court to use the preferred pronouns of counsel, litigants, and counsel during hearings.
“The government compelling specific speech is unconstitutional. But it’s particularly troubling in a courtroom, where the scales of justice should be balanced,” Kobach said. “The requirement gives the appearance that a judge has staked out a position on a controversial issue that is not yet settled in law.”
In the letter, Kobach writes that a handful of 10th
Circuit Justices require the use of preferred pronouns in their courtrooms. The letter argues that the practice may violate religious freedom of individuals who appear before the court. The letter notes that no courts required the practice prior to 2022.
“The courtroom is no place to dismantle science, butcher the English language, and deny constitutional rights in order to spare an individual’s feelings,” Kobach said.
According to the letter, enlisting the power of the state to force others to affirm a person’s selected pronouns crosses a line and raises major questions regarding compelled speech and the First Amendment. Specifically, the letter argues that compelling some Christians to use preferred pronouns in court violates their religious beliefs.
“…The spread of this novel requirement is both problematic and potentially unconstitutional. It has moved us to ask you to act,” the letter concludes.
Read the entire letter here