Trump's Gorsuch: A record of not putting the American people first
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Judge Neil Gorsuch is not what the country needs on the nation’s highest court. He may be highly qualified, well-respected, and even have been confirmed in a bipartisan manner in the past for his current position, but that does not mean Democrats should line up to confirm him.

We are in politically uncharted territory. Republicans argue that Democrats need to fall in line behind this nomination because Judge Gorsuch is qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice, and because President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE deserves to have his nominees confirmed.

You know who else was highly qualified? Judge Merrick Garland. You know who else deserved to have their nominee confirmed? President Obama.

ADVERTISEMENT

Now before you go on to complain that Democrats are simply whining because we lost the election and that we are now looking for payback because of the atrocious, irresponsible, disrespectful inaction on Judge Garland — yes, admittedly there is some of that going on — I will tell you, Democrats are focused on bringing to light Judge Gorsuch’s record and its impact on the American people.

 

That is why Democrats should oppose him.

By every measure based on his record, American workers, women, the environment, middle class families, and the safety of communities, will be in jeopardy if Judge Gorsuch is confirmed. And it will have a detrimental effect that can last for decades.

The cases that the Supreme Court hears, may seem esoteric to many Americans. But to those whom the cases impact, it is anything but.

In fact, for many Americans, the Supreme Court is the court of last resort entrusted to protect the hard-won rights and more level playing field for everyday Americans when those rights are threatened or trampled upon whether by insurance companies, energy companies, financial corporations, school districts, universities, law enforcement, etc.

For women who believe strongly they should keep the right to make decisions over their own bodies and reproductive choices, Judge Gorsuch is particularly worrisome.

In several cases involving access to contraception for women, Judge Gorsuch repeatedly sided with restricting that access to women in several instances including being an employee of a secular company who chose on the basis of religious freedom, not to pay for contraception in the health plans of their employees offered through the Affordable Care Act (Burwell vs.Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.).

Judge Gorsuch also sided with the governor of Utah in his efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, therefore taking away vital health care services including cancer screenings to thousands of women who would not be able to get that care elsewhere.

On environmental issues, the Sierra Club’s executive director, Michael Brune, warns, “Judge Gorsuch’s dangerous views favor polluters and industry over the rights of the people. His record shows that he will limit the access of everyday Americans to the courts and prevent agencies like the EPA from fulfilling their mission and doing their job to protect our air, water, and health. He’s even been described as more extreme than Justice Scalia.”

On issues having to do with criminal justice, civil rights groups are rightly concerned about a case where Gorsuch sided with the excess use of a stun gun by a police officer that resulted in a dead victim.

No doubt that Democrats will bring up every single one of these cases where Gorsuch appears to repeatedly side against the individual, the worker, and the environment, to rule in favor of corporations.

At a moment when Donald Trump could have cooled the spreading fever of a deeply divided nation, that he himself incited during 18 months of a bigoted, nationalistic campaign, he chose instead to deepen that divide with a nominee in the spirit of one of the most conservative, anti-choice, anti-environment and anti-worker Justices there ever was — Antonin Scalia.

Trump promised his justices would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade, the settled law of the land, and cornerstone of reproductive health and equal rights for women.

As such, Judge Gorsuch should face tough and pointed questions about whether he would indeed try to overturn this monumental decision that has given women the freedom they deserve to make their own decisions, along with their families and physicians, about the health of their bodies.

He should also face detailed questions about where he stands on the right of every American to have clean air, clean water and healthy communities in which to raise their children.

In the era of an incompetent, run-away White House who seems impervious to the limits that exist for the Executive Branch, Democrats should judge Judge Gorsuch on whether he will be a credible independent check in this out of control Oval Office.

Will he be able to side with Americans’ interests and not corporate interests? Will he be able to side with workers and not CEOs? Will he be able to protect the environment over profits?

I am sure Judge Gorsuch is brilliant, and articulate, and well-qualified for this job. You know who was more so? Judge Merrick Garland.

Maybe Democrats should give President Trump the exact same courtesy they extended to President Obama when it came to his last Supreme Court pick.

Short of that, Judge Gorsuch will face the test of a lifetime based on a life time of judgement calls and judicial decisions where he has not placed people first.

Based on his dismal record, Democrats should put Americans first, and oppose Judge Gorsuch’s nomination for the Highest Court in the Land.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.


The views of contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.