Gorsuch Has Not Proven Himself To Be A Feminist

by Lani Seelinger
Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has been surrounded by powerful, intelligent women for his entire life. His mother led the EPA for two years. He and his wife both studied at Oxford. And yet, those things evidently did not make Neil Gorsuch a feminist.

This is something you've no doubt seen many times before when it comes to conservative politicians, but it's even more important here. Gorsuch could, if he's confirmed by the Senate, serve as a one of nine Supreme Court Justices for three decades. If you're female, and you're concerned with getting your equal rights, that's a long time to wait.

Gorsuch doesn't seem to have said anything outright about his position on feminism, but some of his decisions speak for themselves. As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi forcefully argued, this nominee is "hostile to women's rights." She's basing that on cases where he's clearly put that touchy and changeable idea of religious freedom over a woman's right to make her own choices about her body.

The most famous of these was the Hobby Lobby case, followed closely by Little Sisters of the Poor Home for The Aged v. Burwell. In both cases, the organizations in question were arguing that it was unconstitutional for the ACA to force them to provide birth control for their employees when it was against their deeply held religious beliefs. Gorsuch sided with the organizations, saying that the ACA could not force them to "underwrite payments for drugs or devices that can have the effect of destroying a fertilized human egg."

Besides how that statement really shows how little Gorsuch knows about the science behind birth control, it was also part of a decision that saw Gorsuch treat a corporation, Hobby Lobby, as a person that could hold religious beliefs. The decision also allowed the corporation to force its own religious beliefs onto its female employees by letting it deny them the birth control of their choice.

Gorsuch hasn't yet made a ruling concerning Roe v. Wade, but given his previous rulings, it's likely that he wouldn't side with women's access to healthcare if a case were to come up concerning that either. Trump promised to name someone similar to Scalia who opposed abortion, and it's altogether likely that Gorsuch will end up being exactly that person.

While Gorsuch could very well surprise the world with a textual reading that upholds the precedent that Roe v. Wade set, for now it seems that Gorsuch is a feminist in the same way that Donald Trump is a sane and rational person. And considering the way the president has acted towards women throughout his life, this aspect of his choice is absolutely no surprise.