Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Miami Leaders Denounce SCOTUS Nominee Neil Gorsuch’s Extreme Legal Record Days Before Confirmation Hearing Begins

March 15, 2017
Blake Williams,

Miami Leaders Denounce SCOTUS Nominee Neil Gorsuch’s Extreme Legal Record Days Before Confirmation Hearing Begins

Miami, FL - Today in Miami, ahead of Monday's Senate hearings on his nomination, Miami leaders gathered to denounce Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch has made clear that he’ll put the interests of the wealthy and powerful above the rights of ordinary Americans. For Our Future joined representatives from Emerge USA, Sierra Club, SEIU 32BJ and New Florida Majority to discuss how, on the nation's highest Court, Gorsuch would prioritize the interests of corporations at the expense of everyday Americans and threaten the safety, stability and rights of Muslim, immigrant, black, and middle class communities.

Fmr. State Senator Dwight Bullard, Political Director of New Florida Majority
“We’re speaking out today because we have a serious and deep concern in regards to Gorsuch’s nomination. When we think of the Supreme Court we think of things like Brown v. Board, we think of things like ending the scourge of denying individuals the right to marry whom they love regardless of sexual orientation, we think about things like ending racial discrimination. One of my greatest concerns of Judge Gorsuch sits in the realm of criminal justice. Judge Gorsuch has been scored as too conservative in his previous role in the court of appeals and it’s a serious concern of mine as a black male that someone who has such a checkered past as it relates to racial justice would be sitting on the Supreme Court.”

Jonathan Ullman, Sierra Club
“If you care about environmental issues in Florida, you should be very concerned about Neil Gorsuch. The Sierra Club is urging all of our members to contact their Senators right now and say ‘reject Neil Gorsuch.’ Why is he bad for Florida? He has consistently pushed polluter rights over public rights. There’s a particular rule called the Chevron rule which is a common-sense rule that says courts should defer to the technical and scientific expertise of agencies charged with administering our laws. This Chevron doctrine came out of a Clean Air Act case in which the Supreme Court unanimously recognized that agencies like the EPA have the expertise to set standards for things like clean drinking water, air quality, and climate change - which is of particular importance to Florida - and if the laws are ambiguous, the court should defer to the agency's expertise. The Chevron doctrine is crucial to the ability of federal regulatory agencies to do their jobs to protect public health and safety, but Judge Gorsuch wants to do away with it because he believes it intrudes on the role of the Court. Removing the widely accepted Chevron doctrine would weaken the EPA's ability to carry out its mission and embolden polluters to constantly challenge our environmental safeguards.”

Khurrum Wahid, Criminal Rights Attorney & National Board Co-Chair of EmergeUSA
“Our Supreme Court is our last line of defense against the tyranny of the majority and against elected officials who rely on that tyranny to create bad policy just because it’s popular. Popular law is not always right law, and we have to make sure that we have a backstop in place. That backstop is our judiciary. We have seen over the last several months how lawyers and judges have been able to uphold the constitution against an executive order or orders that our bad for the country and are unconstitutional. If we do not hold fast and make that sure our Supreme Court nominee is similarly someone who will uphold the constitution and uphold the values of America, then we have collectively lost what we value as Americans.”

Angela Stanley, 32BJ SEIU member
“My concern today is that Donald Trump’s nominee Neil Gorsuch would be a repeat of Scalia. Gorsuch says he is an admirer of Scalia and my eyebrow raises, and as a union member I am concerned that Trump’s court would be a threat to unions and working people. Republicans are attacking our rights and trying to make it difficult for unions to collect dues. Gorsuch’s record shows that he’s sided with employers over workers time and again, including when Gorsuch sided with employers that refused to pay a woman paid leave benefits after she got cancer. We want someone who puts our needs before wealthy corporate interests.”

Juan Carlos Carabantes, Immigration activist
“I have a few questions for Gorsuch, will he promise to make sure immigrants aren’t exploited? Will he allow extreme labor conditions without fair pay? Will he favor a million-dollar farm company over a farmer who lost a limb? Will he stand up for immigrants who are afraid to avoid abusive jobs and abusive supervisors? Or will the money and power speak louder to him? If Gorsuch is nominated, there’s no nice way of saying this: he is just not welcoming to the immigrant community. ”

BACKGROUND: Gorsuch’s Extreme Legal Record Is Out-Of-Step 
Judge Gorsuch has a troubling record of consistently favoring the wealthy and powerful whether the power lies with wealthy corporations, the police, a supervisor, or those trying to perpetuate religious and racial discrimination. Gorsuch was part of the original Hobby Lobby ruling that said corporations are people and can refuse birth control coverage to their employees on religious grounds. He ruled that it wasn’t excessive force when a police officer killed a young man with stun gun for fleeing although the man hadn’t committed a violent crime and has argued that it should be harder for regular people to band together in order to hold Wall Street and huge corporations accountable for fraud and other wrongdoing.

At a time when the President is openly attacking the independence of our judiciary and implementing unlawful and un-American immigration policies via executive order, now more than ever we need independent judges who will be a check on President Trump when he violates the law or the Constitution.  Unfortunately, Gorsuch’s troubling history of deference to executive power shows that he will not be that independent voice. Trump outsourced his nominee search to right-wing organizations with a political agenda out-of-step with the values of most Americans. These groups hand-picked Gorsuch, calling into question his independence and commitment to fairness and an open mind. Gorsuch is not helping ease those concerns with his refusal to answer fair and direct questions from Senators about his legal philosophy, deliberately keeping the American people in the dark about his judicial approach and what kind of justice he would be.

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