This week marks the start of a potential turning point in the highest court in the land, as the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch proceed. While the hearing is only expected to run the course of a few days, the repercussions of Gorsuch's confirmation could steer the interpretation of our country's Constitution for decades to come. With Gorsuch expected to tip the Supreme Court scales toward conservatives, Democrats are especially concerned about what Gorsuch will mean for a number of traditionally liberally causes, including women's reproductive rights.
In order to be confirmed, Gorsuch needs a majority 60 votes. since there are 52 Republicans, this would require eight Senate Democrats to confirm him, SO there is still the possibility that Democrats will filibuster Gorsuch's nomination, with the hope that Trump eventually withdraws Gorsuch and replaces him with another nomination. However, even with a filibuster, there is still the possibly that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would use the "nuclear option," which would only require 51 votes for Gorsuch to be confirmed.
Despite the odds against Democrats, progressive groups gathered at the first day of the Supreme Court hearings on Monday to start a campaign urging Democrats to do everything in their power to stop Gorsuch.
At the helm of the campaign is the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Ilyse Hogue, who chatted on the phone with Bustle about the campaign, and how important it is to block Gorsuch at all costs.
"I think there’s a number of decisions that he’s rendered that make it clear to us that he will deliver on Donald Trump’s campaign promise to overturn Roe v. Wade."
"I think it was telling how much the Republicans are relying on the fact that Gorsuch is a charming guy to win the day," Hogue tells Bustle. "Our position at NARAL Pro-Choice America is that he might be a 'super nice guy,' but that is way too low a bar to actually put someone in the Supreme Court when Americans are extremely anxious about the stakes of our fundamental rights."
One of prime examples Hogue points to is when Gorsuch sided with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert who wanted to defund Planned Parenthood. While justifying his ruling, Gorsuch cited the already debunked Planned Parenthood videos from summer 2015 as support for Herbert's withdrawal of grants from the clinics. "I think there’s a number of decisions that he’s rendered that make it clear to us that he will deliver on Donald Trump’s campaign promise to overturn Roe v. Wade," Hogue says. "In his upholding the Planned Parenthood decision, he was relying on videos that were widely debunked as being false. If there’s anyone we need to really crowd out the noise and focus on facts, it’s Supreme Court justices."
During the hearing on Tuesday, when pressed by the committee chairman Sen. Charles E. Grassley about the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade during the hearing on Tuesday, Gorsuch responded, "A good judge will consider that precedent worthy as treatment of precedent like any other." He also denied ever being asked by Trump to overturn Roe v. Wade, saying, "I would have walked out the door. It's not what judges do. They don't do it at that end of Pennsylvania Ave. and they shouldn't do it at this end either, respectfully."
While Gorsuch's response did not exactly fulfill pro-choice advocates' worst fears, Hogue has made it clear that it wasn't good enough for NARAL. In a statement released shortly after Gorsuch's remark, Hogue said:
Whether Senate Democrats agree with Hogue remains to be seen.