President Donald Trump’s first weeks in office have put on alarming display his intent to infringe on our most cherished rights and values as Americans, from unveiling discriminatory executive actions apparently targeting Muslims and immigrants to announcing plans to launch an “investigation into voter fraud” that will no doubt be a full-fledged attack on voting rights.
More than ever, our country needs an independent Supreme Court to protect our rights and defend our laws — not one that will go along with a president’s actions if he violates the Constitution.
That makes it all the more concerning that, on Tuesday, Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States, someone whose far-right track record makes clear that he wouldn’t be able to carry out this critical responsibility.
In fact, a look at Gorsuch’s past rulings shows quite the opposite: He cannot be trusted to follow the Constitution rather than a political ideology tilted toward protecting the powerful.
Time and again, Gorsuch has acted to protect the interests of Wall Street and big corporations at the expense of ordinary Americans. He has worked to make it more difficult for Americans to come together and hold corporations accountable for harmful misconduct through class-action lawsuits.
In the Hobby Lobby case, he ruled that corporations are people and should be able to use religion as an excuse to refuse to offer contraceptive coverage for their workers. It’s no wonder that he was hand-picked by right-wing organizations funded by the oil billionaire Koch brothers; even when it harms workers and consumers, he’s a consistent friend to big business.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about his record on the core constitutional rights of ordinary Americans. He has criticized progressives for a supposed “overwhelming addiction to the courtroom” in order to advance rights such as marriage equality, as if our courts are somehow an inappropriate place to seek equal justice under the law.
He has ruled against women reporting gender-based discrimination at work. He argued that a police officer who used a stun gun on a young man who had not committed any violent acts, killing him, was not using excessive force.
It’s clear that Americans would not be safe in Neil Gorsuch’s hands — and neither would the Constitution.
Earlier this week Trump adviser Roger Stone said that “If Trump is going to be a transformational president, not a transitional president, he needs a supportive court, … Not a conservative court, not a right-wing court—a Trump court.”
In other words, in order to get away with a dangerous agenda that tramples on Americans’ rights and values, President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Milley warns of 'Sputnik moment' for China WSJ publishes letter from Trump continuing to allege voter fraud in PA Oath Keeper who was at Capitol on Jan. 6 runs for New Jersey State Assembly MORE will need a Supreme Court as extreme as he is. That’s a sentiment that should concern all of us, regardless of political affiliation.
Trump is looking for someone who will uphold his anti-democratic actions, and he clearly believes Gorsuch will do that. Our Supreme Court should never be a partisan entity rubber-stamping the agenda of an extreme president. Rather, it must play a central role in our checks-and-balances system that protects all of our fundamental constitutional rights.
This is always the responsibility of the Supreme Court. But when our rights, laws, and values are threatened by the actions of a president, it is more essential than ever before — and why the Senate must reject Judge Gorsuch’s nomination.
Marge Baker is the executive vice president of People For the American Way, a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values under attack, including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.
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