Capitol Alert

Californians on Gorsuch: ‘eminently qualified,’ ‘an immediate threat’ to gay rights

Bee Capitol Bureau

Get to know Trump's SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch

President Donald Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch is a U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judge. He was born in Denver and is 49 years old. He’s the youngest Supreme Cour
Up Next
President Donald Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch is a U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judge. He was born in Denver and is 49 years old. He’s the youngest Supreme Cour

Here are some reactions from California groups and politicians to President Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California:

“Evaluating Supreme Court nominees is among our most important responsibilities as senators and over the last few days we’ve seen the importance of an independent judiciary. I’ve repeatedly stated that the next justice must have respect for precedent, be within the mainstream and protect the fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution. Judge Gorsuch has a long record and it will take time to conduct a thorough review.

“I firmly believe the Supreme Court must be a fair arbiter of the law—not simply another political body that makes decisions based on ideology or partisanship. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans have played politics with this seat by refusing to hold courtesy meetings, hearings or even debate on Chief Judge Garland, who had an impeccable 20-year record of service.

“I am deeply concerned that throughout his campaign the president promised to use litmus tests when choosing his nominee. Last October, when asked about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, then-candidate Trump said ‘That will happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.’

“Then tonight, President Trump declared, ‘I am a man of my word.’ That’s exactly what I’m afraid of. Judge Gorsuch voted twice to deny contraceptive coverage to women, elevating a corporation’s religious beliefs over women’s health care.

“At a time when public trust in our institutions is at an all-time low and our country is bitterly divided, a thorough and fair review is vitally important.”

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California:

“I am troubled by the nomination of Judge Gorsuch and will fight to ensure the voice of the American people is heard in this process. The next justice will have a profound impact on money in politics, voting rights, immigrant and women’s rights, and more. This SCOTUS seat belongs to the people – and we need someone who will uphold our civil rights.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield:

“Congress and the American people don’t want a liberal Supreme Court justice or a conservative Supreme Court justice. We want a justice who will decide cases based on the law and the Constitution as they are written. Neil Gorsuch appears to fit that mold. There are few things more important to the health of our nation and the people’s trust in their government than ensuring that our laws are judged blindly and in adherence to the written text of the Constitution, unaffected by one’s political opinions, wealth, race, or beliefs. Neil Gorsuch has not only demonstrated that fairness, but is also an eminently qualified judge with years of experience. I think it says a lot about him that he was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit without a single dissenting vote in the Senate. He has legal vision, clarity, and a deference to our Constitution, and I believe he is a nominee that all Americans can support.

“I urge the Senate to immediately being its important work to vet Neil Gorsuch once again so that a confirmation vote can be scheduled as soon as possible and the Supreme Court can continue its work with all nine justices.”

Jessica Grennan, national director of political affairs & advocacy, Compassionate Choices:

“Judge Gorsuch vehemently opposes end-of-life choices – as indicated by his book and his writings – so we are very concerned about what that means for terminally ill people across the country.”

Rick Zbur, executive director, Equality California:

“Judge Gorsuch gained national attention for his opinions in two federal cases supporting an employer’s right to refuse to pay for contraception as part of employee health coverage if doing so violates the employer’s religious beliefs. That bodes ill for LGBT people who are facing an onslaught of laws sanctioning discrimination in the name of religious liberty.

“Judge Gorsuch’s opinions in prior cases such as Hobby Lobby leave us deeply concerned about his willingness to uphold laws protecting LGBT people from bias, not to mention protecting the separation of church and state. The stakes could not be higher. Gorsuch’s hard-right ideology and zeal to dramatically expand religious exemptions poses an immediate threat to the advances that LGBT Americans have recently achieved.

“These expansive exemptions on religious grounds are often the means by which anti-LGBT policies are framed, in a false narrative that Christians are persecuted for their religious beliefs. It appears that President Trump has embraced this narrative as he calls upon millions of evangelicals to defend conservative social values in an era of rapid change. Allowing exemptions from civil rights protections on other grounds would immediately be deemed absurd. After all, employers, including religiously affiliated contractors, are not allowed to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability, even when that employer has religious beliefs that advance such discrimination. There is no reason that the nation’s civil rights protections should be any different for LGBT people.

“If religious exemptions are expanded, millions of LGBT Americans could face profound discrimination in health care, public accommodations, and employment. The danger is clear, and so is Equality California’s position: We oppose Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista:

“Neil Gorsuch is an impeccable jurist and an exemplary choice for the Supreme Court. He is an unyielding defender of the Constitution as it was originally written and a worthy heir to the monumental vacancy left by Justice Scalia. Judge Gorsuch is among the nation’s most brilliant legal minds, a captivating writer and is eminently qualified for the nation’s highest court. Through his work, he’s built both respect and approbation from those all across the ideological spectrum. In his appointment to the court of appeals, Neil earned the unanimous support of the Senate and deserves to be confirmed once again with little delay.”

Judie Brown, president of American Life League:

“We are excited about the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. We firmly believe that he will be a fitting person to fill the seat formerly occupied by Justice Antonin Scalia. Judge Gorsuch shares the same values and commitment to life as American Life League and its supporters. We look forward to doing everything we can to see that this exemplary man is confirmed by the Senate and takes his seat as soon as possible.”

Amy Everitt, state director of NARAL Pro-Choice California:

“Once again, Donald Trump is delivering on his campaign promise to attack women’s reproductive health. A lifetime appointment for this anti-choice nominee means Trump’s dangerous, harmful policies will reverberate for years, and that should frighten every American. From supporting the disastrous Hobby Lobby decision that inserted employers in women’s healthcare decisions to condoning funding for anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers, his record shows that Gorsuch would be a disaster for women in California and across the country.”

Deborah Burger, co-president, National Nurses Union:

“National Nurses United will oppose the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court and called on Democratic members of the Senate to follow the standard set by the Senate majority last year in taking whatever steps they can, including the use of the filibuster, to block the confirmation of Gorsuch.

“With the refusal of the U.S. Senate to hold hearings on the last Presidential nominee for the Court, there can be no justification for a rush to judgment on this nominee. A new standard has been set that no howls of ‘obstructionism’ today can obscure.

“Gorsuch should also be opposed because of a far right record that is consistently hostile to the rights and protections of working people. Last year in blocking President Obama’s nomination, Republicans said the court could function just fine with only eight members. Let’s hold them to that now.”

Tom Steyer, president NextGen Climate:

“The Senate owes no deference to Donald Trump, a popular vote loser who is in the position to nominate a Supreme Court justice only because his fellow Republicans stole the opportunity from a president twice elected with clear majority support.

“The Supreme Court is one of the last lines of defense at this perilous time for our country. Fundamental principles of our democracy – voting rights, freedom of the press, and equal treatment – are under attack. It is now the duty of the Court to defend the constitution and the rights and freedoms it guarantees all Americans. Our highest court should reflect the values we have always held in highest regard: justice, equality, and the rule of law.

“The Senate must thoroughly vet Trump’s nominee. In light of Trump’s despotic tendencies and Russia’s role in his election, the Senate must reject any nominee whose allegiance to our Constitution and our most fundamental rights is in doubt.”

Related stories from Sacramento Bee