CBC Submits Testimony Opposing Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to U.S. Supreme Court

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Washington, DC, March 23, 2017 | comments

Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and CBC Judicial Nomination Working Group Chair Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today submitted testimony, on behalf of the CBC, to the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Richmond criticized the Senate Judiciary Committee for not affording a CBC member the opportunity to present testimony in person. The testimony is attached and can be found online here.

Richmond said that the CBC is concerned about Judge Gorsuch’s record in a number of different areas, but the CBC testimony primarily addresses his record on race and related matters.  The CBC examined Gorsuch’s tenure as Principal Deputy to the Associate Attorney General at the Department of Justice, with jurisdiction over the Civil Rights Division, and analyzed his decisions as on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and other writings.

The CBC testimony said, “We have looked at Judge Neil Gorsuch’s body of work to understand his record and how he would review cases as a Supreme Court justice…We have discovered a record on race and related matters and an even more troubling hostility to constitutional and equal rights litigation that does not merit the support of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) or the Senate...[H]e elaborated on his views on constitutional litigation in a telling op-ed on the conservative website National Review Online.  Although Gorsuch conceded that that constitutional lawsuits have yielded important civil rights gains, he lamented that ‘American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda’… Judge Gorsuch’s statements concerning overreliance of the courts and his preference for the political process along with his restrictive anti-discrimination and procedural rulings, make it impossible to support his nomination.”

“The Constitution is supposed to be a living and breathing document,” Chairman Richmond said. “Interpreting the Constitution as it was originally intended in 1787 does not usually work out well for African Americans and other marginalized communities. This is why the Congressional Black Caucus cannot support Judge Gorsuch’s nomination. Judge Gorsuch’s record is one of hostility to the rights of African Americans, women, workers, and others. Interpreters of the law should be committed to fairness and justice, not a strict system of beliefs.” 

 “Judge Neil Gorsuch has demonstrated throughout his career, first at the Department of Justice and later as a federal judge, a callous understanding of discrimination in the United States,” said Congresswoman Norton said.   “His strict reading of anti-discrimination statutes is at odds with the broad interpretations of the U.S. Supreme Court.  This record, together with his advice to look to the political process instead of the courts, on which African Americans have been compelled to depend, make it impossible for those of us in the Congressional Black Caucus to support his nomination.”

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