HB2 defense lawyer may head DOJ’s Civil Rights division

Legal rumors abuzz about John Gore’s potential power

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amid numerous controversial cabinet picks, another has arisen that may give LGBTQ advocates pause. The National Law Journal recently noted that lawyers from the Jones Day law firm would be taking key positions in the Trump administration. Among the twelve lawyers named was John Gore, known recently as the legal defense counsel for the University of North Carolina fighting claims of discrimination against transgender individuals.

Gore was named on Jones Day’s website as the next Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights division of the Department of Justice, but the claim has not yet been confirmed by the new President’s administration. There has been no formal nomination yet, but Gore’s appointment would continue the series of controversial cabinet picks put in place since the election.

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Historically, John Gore has faced some contentious cases. An election law blog lists his successes defending local and state governments from voters’ accusations of redistricting bias. His satisfied clients include Republicans from Florida, New York, and South Carolina. He defended Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s attempt to purge non-citizens from the voter registry, which so happened to purge a number of legal, left-leaning voters.

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Gore took over the defense of HB2 after then-Attorney-General Roy Cooper refused to take up the case in court. Now-Governor Cooper’s office steadfastly refused to defend the law, which discriminates against transgender people and nullifies local nondiscrimination ordinances. Gore withdrew from Carcaño v. McCrory on Jan. 17 on the basis that he was leaving Jones Day. This seems suggestive of a new career opportunity arising.

If his nomination for the Department of Justice is made official, Gore would hold a position of great power in upcoming legal controversies. The Deputy Assistant Attorney General has historically presided over a number of decisive cases in American history, including the marriage equality case Obergfell v. Hodges.

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