LatinoJustice President Juan Cartagena Statement Opposing Judge Gorsuch Nomination as Supreme Court Justice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 1st, 2017
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Below is a statement from Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel at LatinoJustice, opposing Judge Gorsuch's appointment to the Supreme Court.
The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court cannot be assessed simply by looking at his judicial record – a record that apparently shows that he has antipathy for plaintiffs who seek to expand civil rights protections to be more inclusive of our diverse society, that he will likely side with business interests over workers’ rights, and that he may imperil women’s rights and reproductive rights. Indeed, as an extremely conservative jurist, his record is alarming to many of us who recognize the impact of nominating a person of his relatively young age to the highest court. For LatinoJustice PRLDEF his decision in Wilson v. City of Lafayette, in particular, is enough to raise serious red flags about his commitment to enforcing constitutional protections for marginalized communities. There he upheld the abuse of force by police which resulted in the death of a suspect who fled after allegedly admitting to the nonviolent offense of growing marijuana. What we know of Judge Gorsuch’s record is more than enough to give us pause and his nomination will not serve to unify the country.
But in the context of a Senate that defied its duties of “advice and consent” when President Obama submitted his nominee with a year left in his second we should expect more than just business as usual. The actions of the majority of the Senate last year was an affront to our democracy which cannot be simply ignored. Moreover, in the context of the kind of cabinet nominees that the current President has made to date – including nominee Jeff Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General who himself was rejected to sit on a federal bench by a Senate that denounced his racist views – this nomination by this President has all the makings of an adherence to far-right conservative ideology, an ideology that continues to harm in devastating ways communities of color, workers, women, the LGBT community, and immigrants.
The next few weeks will surface enough information to determine if this nomination is consistent with the nation’s values of creating a diverse society where all nationalities, creeds, and beliefs are welcome and reflected in a government that honors and respects them and with adherence to the protections that the Constitution currently bestows this country’s Latina and Latino residents. If the full record demonstrates what on the surface appears likely, then a filibuster is a rational response given how this Senate majority denigrated the constitutional authority of the previous President and locked the Supreme Court into its current 8-member composition.
As a civil and human rights organization, LatinoJustice PRLDEF recognizes that the minimum qualifications for any member of the judiciary be that they show a willingness to ensure that the federal courts remain committed to enforcing individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution. For all of these reasons, at this time LatinoJustice PRLDEF opposes the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.