Democratic lawmakers and liberal groups are mobilizing to ramp up their opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil M. Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s embattled choice to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the nation’s top appellate bench.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., organized a news conference at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday that introduced three Americans who were negatively impacted by decisions the federal judge from Colorado made in recent years.
Many Democrats have signaled staunch opposition to the president’s choice since it was announced Jan. 31, and although Republicans control the Senate Gorsuch still could face an uncertain confirmation outcome.
“Judge Gorsuch may act like a neutral, calm judge but his record and his career clearly show he harbors a right-wing, pro-corporate, special interest agenda,” the New York senator said. “He enacted it time and time again on the 10th Circuit, and if given the chance I have no doubt he would do it again on the Supreme Court.”
Joining Schumer Wednesday were three people who have personally been affected by rulings from Gorsuch in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado — a man fired from his job in 2009, a woman who had a medical device implanted incorrectly and a cancer patient who was also fired from her job after treatment. In each case, Gorsuch ruled against their favor.
“He expresses a lot of empathy and sympathy for the less powerful but when it comes time to rule, when the chips are down, far too often he sides with the powerful few over everyday Americans trying to just get a fair shake,” Schumer said. “Judge Gorsuch repeatedly sided with insurance companies and wanted to deny disability benefits to employees. In employment discrimination cases, Bloomberg found he sided with employers 60 percent of the time.
“In one of the few cases he sided with an employee it was a Republican woman who alleged she was fired for being a conservative.”
The senator’s comments came at a time many liberal groups are trying to get congressional Democrats to fight harder against Trump’s pick.
“Gorsuch’s nomination represents an imminent threat to America’s most cherished rights and most vulnerable citizens, and millions of Americans across the country are demanding that Democratic leadership use everything in their power to block it,” The People’s Defense, a coalition of progressive groups, said. “We must be clear: this fight is not about defensive electoral politics, it’s about our rights as Americans and our democracy as a whole.”
The liberal group was joined on the steps of the Supreme Court building Wednesday by Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley.
“We can’t let Judge Neil Gorsuch become the crucial 9th vote on this Supreme Court,” Markey tweeted. “In the Hobby Lobby [case] he ruled that corporations are people whose religious beliefs are more important than rights and health of women.”
Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned craft chain, sued the federal government in 2013 over a federal mandate that forced it to provide health coverage for for emergency contraception, of the “day after pill,” for female employees. Appellate courts and the Supreme Court ultimately struck down the federal mandate.
Gorsuch needs 60 votes in the Senate for confirmation. Last month, Trump asked Senate Republicans to invoke a little-used procedural rule that would allow confirmation with a simple majority of just 51 votes if Democrats try to stall his nominee.
“If a nominee cannot get 60 votes, you don’t change the rules, you change the nominee,” Schumer said.
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