Why Young People Should Fear a Justice Neil Gorsuch

This is the last chance to have your voice heard on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, and I urge you to take advantage of that opportunity right now.

Earlier this week, I attended a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. There, I heard numerous Senators discuss the importance of the Court to our democracy and the pressing need for an independent judiciary. Only a day later, I attended a press conference on the nomination, where I heard more on Judge Gorsuch’s abysmal record on workers, reproductive rights, and people with disabilities.

Right-wing groups have hand-picked Judge Gorsuch to be on the Supreme Court, and dark money groups have spent millions of dollars to ensure his confirmation. These are not the voices of everyday people. These are the voices of the moneyed elite who trade in power and influence. Neil Gorsuch is their judge.

After four days of hearings and numerous meetings with individual Senators – except, of course, with the three women of color Senators who are not on the Judiciary committee – Judge Gorsuch could not earn 60 votes on his nomination. Instead of conceding that Gorsuch had failed his job interview, Republicans changed the rules of the Senate to allow Gorsuch’s nomination to proceed. In other words, they changed the rules in the middle of the game to push through a nominee approved by the same right-wing that opposes unions, wants to curtail reproductive freedom, and supports voter suppression.

I am a twenty-one-year-old woman from a liberal city, with liberal parents. I went to a high school where there was reasonable social and political awareness, and I am about to graduate from what is generally considered a politically active, left-wing university. My Facebook feed is an endless flow of political articles, particularly the 2016 elections.

Yet, I have noticed a lack of attention among my age group to the nomination of Neil Gorsuch. I understand: President Trump’s atrocious behavior is certainly distracting, and there is some evidence showing that the Supreme Court and its legal proceedings remain unknown or unclear.

This is problematic because there is a lot at stake with Gorsuch ruling in the Supreme Court. There is a lot of stake for me as a woman. There is a lot at stake for my LGBTQ neighbors and friends. There is a lot at stake for people with disabilities. There is a lot at stake for minorities of any identity. But I think it is very critical to realize that there is a lot at stake for my generation, as an age group.

In particular, I am struck by Gorsuch’s terrible record on women’s rights. Gorsuch has reportedly made several comments, recently, that openly reveal his low opinion of women and women workers. He also has a troubling record on reproductive rights, and here, I am referencing the right simply to access birth control.
The two are, of course, related. Loss of access to contraception would have a tremendous impact on women’s ability to access education and economic opportunities. The loss of birth control would fundamentally change the way we are able to live our lives.

Sometimes it seems that my generation, especially folks in my state, takes these rights for granted because we have always had them, but with a hostile Congress and Supreme Court, these rights can easily be chipped away or stolen all together. We must always be aware of how quickly and drastically our lives could change.

The same is true for LGBTQ rights. The country has been moving toward making LGBTQ communities more visible. There is still a lot of work to do, but the LGBTQ movement has steadily grown in strength and has made tangible progress in many areas. We cannot go backwards. People’s lives depend on it. Yet, Judge Gorsuch has had a disturbing record on LGBTQ rights, and has been opposed by Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Human Rights Campaign, and other major groups.

Now that the rules have changed and the game has been rigged, Judge Gorsuch will likely become a Supreme Court justice later today. This, however, is no time to sit on the sidelines; in fact, it’s the time when we need to keep up the pressure the most.

So, I urge you to tell your Senators how you feel about the Gorsuch nomination. Let your voice be heard. Then, tell your Senators how you feel about the rule change. Thank those who stood up for our basic rights, and let the others know that you are watching and that you vote.

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