Time and again throughout his career, Judge Neil Gorsuch has interpreted the law to narrow women’s reproductive rights and side with corporations over people, according to a powerful new report released today by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The in-depth look at the U.S. Supreme Court nominee’s record finds that, whether the issue was sex discrimination or worker safety, Judge Gorsuch regularly sided with corporations. He also has ruled to undermine the rights of immigrants and LGBTQ individuals, among others, and supported for-profit corporations’ right to deny their employees insurance coverage for birth control.
Those are among the reasons “The Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court: A Threat to Women, Workers and All Those Who Face Discrimination” concludes that confirmation of Gorsuch poses a clear threat to the rights and laws that protect women, workers and others who seek to vindicate their civil rights in court. Confirmation, it warns, could lead to an America in which corporations are allowed to excuse themselves from basic civil rights protections and safety measures; well-resourced employers are permitted to defeat a person’s right to present evidence of discrimination to a jury; any so-called religious objections shield corporations that have infringed upon people’s equal rights under the law; and women, once again, are denied autonomy over their own bodies and futures.
“Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation would be devastating for all who care about women’s health and rights and about stopping discrimination,” said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. “His record on women’s reproductive rights is far out of the mainstream of legal thinking in this country. His rulings indicate that he would try to make the country less fair for women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals and all those who face bias. Put simply, Judge Gorsuch is wrong for the court and wrong for the country. Every senator who cares at all about women’s rights and about protecting those who face discrimination must reject this nominee.”
Among the findings in the new report:
- In two cases of job-related sex discrimination, Judge Gorsuch voted to deny the victim the chance to have her case heard by a jury. In Strickland v. UPS, the plaintiff suffered increased and unfair oversight by her supervisor after she returned from medical leave, and in Pinkerton v. Colorado Department of Transportation, the plaintiff experienced egregious sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting it.
- In Zamora v. Elite Logistics, Inc., Judge Gorsuch joined an opinion in which a closely divided 10th Circuit, sitting en banc, found against an employee who alleged race and national origin discrimination.
- In an especially callous ruling in Hwang v. Kansas State University, Judge Gorsuch affirmed a district court decision denying a disability discrimination claim brought by a seriously ill employee who was struggling to survive cancer.
- Judge Gorsuch demonstrated gross insensitivity to employees in his dissent in TransAm Trucking v. Administrative Review Board, in which an employee was fired because he disregarded his supervisor’s instructions in order to seek help when his life was in jeopardy; and in Compass Environmental v. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, in which Judge Gorsuch would have refused to uphold a fine against a company that failed to properly train a new worker about the dangers of a high voltage line, resulting in the worker’s death.
- Judge Gorsuch ruled to deny basic protections to transgender plaintiffs, in Kastl v. Maricopa County Community College District and Druley v. Patton, undermining their rights to participate fully and equally in society.
- Judge Gorsuch voted to allow employers to use religion to discriminate and to deny women birth control coverage, in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius and in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell. His approach would effectively give employers veto power over their employees’ reproductive health decisions.
- In Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Herbert, Judge Gorsuch sought to undermine women’s access to reproductive health care, including sexually transmitted infection testing and sexual health education, by siding with anti-choice politicians and against Planned Parenthood.
- Judge Gorsuch has criticized the Supreme Court’s abortion rights jurisprudence, and has made clear that he does not believe the Constitution should protect personal autonomy.
“The evidence is overwhelming that Judge Gorsuch poses a threat to the rights and legal protections that are essential to fairness and equal opportunity in our country,” added Judith L. Lichtman, senior advisor at the National Partnership. “By nominating Judge Gorsuch, President Trump delivered on his promise to appoint a justice who is fundamentally hostile to reproductive rights. His confirmation would be a tremendous setback for our country. The Senate must vote ‘no’ on this nominee.”
The full report, “The Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court: A Threat to Women, Workers and All Those Who Face Discrimination” is available here.