The moment Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, Lambda Legal’s Fair Courts Project released a comprehensive review of Judge Gorsuch’s judicial record.
We found that his views on civil rights issues are antithetical to Lambda Legal’s mission. His anti-LGBT record drove our decision to oppose his nomination from that first moment, before confirmation hearings, a first for our organization.
In the weeks ahead, the Senate has the responsibility to closely scrutinize Judge Gorsuch’s record and to use the confirmation hearings to ask him serious questions—and get answers. The burden is on Judge Gorsuch to demonstrate that he is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.
Below are questions emerging from Lambda Legal’s scrutiny of Judge Gorsuch’s record on the freedom to make personal and intimate choices to which LGBT people and everyone living with HIV need answers.
We need to know. We are not going back.
Judge Gorsuch’s Record
- Judge Gorsuch has allowed concerns of religious parties to override the freedom of all people to make personal and intimate choices without interference.
- Even the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby weighed the business owners’ religious liberty claim against Congress’s interest in protecting women’s health, and acknowledged how limiting access to contraception can inflict harms on female employees and dependents. Troublingly, Judge Gorsuch’s opinion does not even see this as a problem.
- How will Judge Gorsuch protect the most personal and intimate choices we may make in our lifetime, like whether or not to marry or to get an abortion?
Why It Matters
- Reproductive rights matter to everyone who needs access to reproductive health care, including abortion services.
- The landmark Supreme Court cases on which both LGBT people and all women (whether LBT or not) depend for vindication of their constitutional guarantees of liberty and equality share a common doctrinal foundation.
- As LGBT people know all too well, when government interferes with individual autonomy in decisions about family life, intimacy, and procreation, government stigmatizes people and deprives them of equal dignity.
We Need To Know: Does Judge Gorsuch believe that the concerns of religious parties override the freedom of all people to make personal and intimate choices without interference?
Here are the questions Judge Gorsuch needs to answer:
- Do you agree with the analysis of the plurality of the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, affirmed by the majority in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, that “a statute which, while furthering [a] valid state interest, has the effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman’s choice [to terminate a pre-viability pregnancy] cannot be considered a permissible means of serving its legitimate ends” and that “[u]nnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right”?
- Do you agree with the analysis of the majority of the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges that the fundamental liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause extend to personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs?
- Do you agree with the analysis of the majority of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade that the constitutional right to privacy encompasses a woman’s decision whether or not to continue a pregnancy?
- Do you agree with the analysis of the majority of the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas that the right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives individuals the right to engage in private, adult, consensual sex without interference by the government? If so, do you agree with the analysis of the majority of the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas that the right belongs equally to all people regardless of sexual orientation?
- Do you agree with the opinion of the Supreme Court in Griswold v. Connecticut that laws prohibiting the sale or use of contraceptives violate the constitutional right to privacy for married couples? And with the Court’s decision in Eisenstadt v. Baird that this right belongs equally to those who are not married?
What You Can Do
Our best opportunity to find out what Judge Gorsuch believes is at his Senate confirmation hearing on March 20th. Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee will be the ones asking him questions during his hearing.
Tweet at them now to make sure they ask Judge Gorsuch these extremely important questions addressing his anti-LGBT record!
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA, Ranking Member)
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA, Chair)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Sen. Michael Lee (R-UT)
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Lambda Legal’s Fair Courts Project works to advance an independent, diverse and well-respected judiciary that upholds the constitutional and other legal rights of LGBT people and everybody living with HIV.