We Know Judge Gorsuch Dislikes Litigation to Protect Civil Rights. Now We Need Answers.

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March 3, 2017
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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 statements on the role of courts to which LGBT people and everyone living with HIV needs answers.

We need to know. We are not going back.

Judge Gorsuch’s Record

  • Judge Gorsuch has expressed disapproval of civil rights impact litigation, writing in 2005 that “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom … as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage” to other issues.  
  • Does Judge Gorsuch believe that the courts are the appropriate place to protect individual civil rights or does he believe that minority rights should be put to a vote?

Why It Matters

  • Lambda Legal’s mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of LGBT people and everyone living with HIV. We are entitled to equal protection, liberty and dignity under the law. And we will continue to challenge all barriers in our path to equality in courts.

We Need To Know: Does Judge Gorsuch believe that the courts are the appropriate place to protect individual civil rights or does he believe that minority rights should be put to a vote?

Here are the questions Judge Gorsuch needs to answer:

  • Do you agree with the analysis of the majority of the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges that the courts are the appropriate place for individuals to obtain remedies for violations of their fundamental rights and that the political process should not be used to decide whether the fundamental rights of individuals have been violated?
  • Do you agree with the dissenting opinion authored by Chief Justice Roberts in Obergefell v. Hodges that it should have been left to the political process to determine whether same-sex couples have the same right as different-sex couples to marry?
  • Do you agree with the dissenting opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, authored by the late Justice Scalia, that it should be left entirely to the political process to decide whether a state may enact laws making it a crime for adult lesbians and gay men to engage in private, consensual sexual relationships?
  • Do you agree with the analysis of the majority of the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor that, when determining if a law is motivated by animus, courts must give “careful consideration” to whether the law was enacted in an unusual way or addresses a subject that it is unusual for the legislative body that enacted it to address?
  • Do you agree with the analysis of the majority of the Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Carhart, affirmed in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, that courts retain an independent constitutional duty to review factual findings where constitutional rights are at stake”?​

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)

.@SenBlumenthal Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)

.@SenatorDurbin Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE)

.@ChrisCoons Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

.@JohnCornyn Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)

.@MikeCrapo Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

.@SenTedCruz Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA, Ranking Member)

.@SenFeinstein Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

.@JeffFlake Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)

.@senfranken Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

.@LindseyGrahamSC Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA, Chair)

.@ChuckGrassley Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

.@orrinhatch Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)

.@maziehirono Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)

.@senjohnkennedy Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

.@amyklobuchar Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

.@SenatorLeahy Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Michael Lee (R-UT)

.@senmikelee Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)

.@bensasse Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)

.@thomtillis Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

.@SenWhitehouse Courts are crucial for protecting equal rights of #LGBT people. Does Judge #Gorsuch agree? http://bit.ly/2lIw3Ec

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.