Today marks the second day of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s Senate confirmation hearings. In case you didn’t know: he’s a radical reactionary.
What’s going on?
When Justice Antonin Scalia died in early 2016, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, a moderate who would not have significantly upset the liberal/conservative balance of the court. The Republican Congress refused to consider him at all, deciding that the issue should wait until after the election, hoping that they would win–which they did.
Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch as one of his first official acts as President. Until yesterday, Gorsuch hadn’t even had a hearing in the Senate. Now, those hearings are underway and he is getting a lot more attention.
Gorsuch has gotten some favorable reviews even in liberal circles because he doesn’t seem to be openly bigoted or hateful. But his actual record shows him to a radical reactionary in the mold of Scalia. In college, he supported apartheid South Africa. Just last year, in his capacity as a law professor, he suggested during a lesson that women seek to extract maternity benefits from employers and such employers must protect themselves by identifying such women at the interview stage, presumably denying them jobs. He also supports allowing companies to decide how to interpret laws passed by Congress, rather than giving that discretion to regulatory bodies as has been the norm. Here, we see a clear pattern: soft on bigotry, distrustful of women, and out to put power into the hands of unaccountable corporations.
Why is it important?
Supreme Court appointments are for life. If confirmed, Gorsuch stands to influence American jurisprudence for decades to come. There is a high likelihood Trump will get at least one more nomination, as well, and it’s evident that Republicans have no interest in following American political norms. If they gain an opportunity to pack the court with hardcore conservatives, they will do so–and that will mean the end of abortion rights, civil rights for many minorities and oppressed groups, and the removal of even more constraints on companies that are already allowed to run amok far too often. Gorsuch is an extreme candidate who presents himself as a moderate.
What can I do?
There is still time: contact your Senators and tell them not to confirm Neil Gorsuch. Realistically, he will probably be confirmed, but it will only take a few Republicans rejecting him to put the kibosh on his appointment. So it’s unlikely but by no means impossible.