Why Neil Gorsuch's Women's Rights Record Should Disqualify Him
The Democrats have a lot of reasons to block Donald Trump's nomination to the Supreme Court. However, Neil Gorsuch's women's rights record alone should disqualify him, especially when viewed in the light of the rest of his history. Gorsuch's record has given the country every reason to believe that he will always side with corporations' rights over the rights of living, breathing humans.
Women, who still have to fight tooth and nail for equal pay, reproductive rights, and equal recognition in the workplace (just to name a few), do not need a Supreme Court Justice who could spend the next several decades obstructing their path.
Gorsuch's record on reproductive rights in particular has gotten a lot of attention. He took part in two high profile cases and sided against women having access to birth control in both of them.
- In Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged vs. Burwell, he wrote that asking the nonprofit to sign a form opting out of providing birth control for its female employees was an unjust burden on religious freedom.
- In Hobby Lobby Stores v. Sebelius, Gorsuch essentially ruled that a secular corporation could hold a religious belief, and that providing female employees with birth control through their federally mandated health insurance was too much of a burden on religious freedom.
Nowhere, it seems, did Gorsuch consider the unjust burden that he was placing on women who rely on their employers for health coverage. But take a moment to think about the Hobby Lobby case in particular — not only did he follow in the long conservative tradition of favoring "religious freedom" over women's rights, he also said that the religious freedom in question is that of a corporation. A corporation can't pray, sing a hymn, or go into a house of worship, but its religious beliefs can trump a woman's right to the full range of healthcare through her employer.
Gorsuch's tendency to side with corporations didn't stop or end with Hobby Lobby, and it would surely continue if he makes it onto the Supreme Court. His conservative backers see this as a feature, not a bug. He also doesn't think much of seeing liberal social issues in court — and that definitely includes things like gay marriage, and could easily turn out to include things like equal pay as well.
Women don't need a constitutional originalist like Gorsuch, especially when it's an originalist who seems to think the framers were thinking about big companies when they wrote the First Amendment. Don't be fooled by the Democratic senators who have started saying that they will support him; Gorsuch is just another prong in the Republican party's strategy to go back in time on women's rights. When it comes down to it, the fact that Republicans are trying to install him in a stolen seat comes in secondary to all of the Americans who would be negatively affected if they pull it off.