On Tuesday evening, Neil Gorsuch, a U.S. appellate judge from the 10th circuit, was nominated by President Donald J. Trump for the Supreme Court.
Gorsuch, 49, would fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed in February of 2016. His nomination to the highest court in the land is already receiving strong rebukes from liberal and progressive groups and Democrats.
U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) said Gorsuch is cut from the Scalia mold.
“If Mitch McConnell wanted to replace the late Justice Scalia with someone with equally or even more extreme views, he’s getting the pick he wanted,” Deutch said. “Judge Gorsuch’s far-right views fall so far outside the mainstream that he should not be confirmed for a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court.”
Gorsuch is perhaps best known for siding with Christian activists in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. where he essentially advocated against requiring employers to provide no cost contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Lambda Legal, the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization working on behalf of LGBT people and people living with HIV, released a statement calling Gorsuch’s record “troubling.”
“We absolutely must not confirm a Supreme Court nominee who has ruled that the religious beliefs of employers can trump the law,” said Lambda Legal spokesman Tom Warnke. “It is a short hop from birth control restrictions to restrictions on the intimate relationships and health care needs of LGBT people.”
A Colorado native, Gorsuch’s legal philosophy is often described as “textualism.” He is the youngest Supreme Court nominee since the nomination of Clarence Thomas in 1991.
Adding to the chorus of condemnation was the National LGBTQ Task Force, which issued its own statement Tuesday evening.
“Judge Neil Gorsuch’s record reveals a jurist who: believes that bosses should control their employees’ private health care decisions; supports the misuse of religion to legalize discrimination; and holds LGBTQ equality with disdain,” said Rea Carey, Task Force executive director. “He is also a darling of those who are vehemently opposed to marriage equality. He seems like someone who aligns perfectly with Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s view of the world, but is completely out of touch with the realities of most people’s lives.”
It remains to be seen if Democrats will be able to block Gorsuch’s nomination as effectively as the Republicans did to Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s choice to replace Scalia.
“Mitch McConnell defied history by blocking President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court for almost a year, and his unprecedented move has now paid off with President Trump's nomination of an extreme right-wing ideologue,” said Deutch, a senior member of the House judiciary committee. "Judge Neil Gorsuch's radical views on federal regulations fly in the face of long-standing Supreme Court precedent and will undermine crucial consumer protections, environmental protections, and labor safety protections. He sided with corporations in the Hobby Lobby decision defining them as people, giving corporations the right to deny women birth control in the name of religious belief."
Deutch added, "(Gorsuch) has publicly attacked everyday Americans for seeking access to our nation’s courts to protect and support their individual rights. His rulings supporting the use of excessive force by law enforcement will be a step-back in our nation’s effort to reform the criminal justice system. And he has consistently sided with corporations and their interests while quashing the ability of employees to protect their rights in the workplace.”