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Demanding Answers from Judge Gorsuch
"No matter what the issue, what happens with 'the Supremes' touches every corner of our lives and will affect generations to come," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "As it looks right now, Trump’s appointee to the court will be the deciding vote on cases affecting workers' rights, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, and the safety of our drinking water, our air quality, our planet and our democracy," Weingarten added.
Weingarten's comments refer to the lifetime appointment of a SCOTUS justice, raising the stakes when it comes to the public policy implications of their decisions. Justices appointed and confirmed since 1950 have averaged a tenure of 19.4 years; Judge Gorsuch, at just 49 years old, could serve even longer.
Click here for more on the tenure of past and current SCOTUS justices.
"The Supreme Court must be a check on the White House and Congress and their reactionary, anti-democratic agenda," said AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel. "Judge Gorsuch (above, left) gives us cause for real concern, especially in these challenging times. We don't need a justice who puts Wall Street over working people," added Hochadel, who taught physics and science in the Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS).
Hochadel's comments refer to concerns regarding Judge Gorsuch's record as a federal appellate judge — as well as President Trump's increasingly hostile agenda. Like Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, whose death last year cleared the way for his nomination, Judge Gorsuch has demonstrated an ideology that favors corporations over middle-class Americans and consumers.
Click here for more on Judge Gorsuch's record on issues affecting working people from the AFL-CIO.
In previous decisions, Judge Gorsuch has denied American women the right to reproductive health coverage and deprived students of the protections of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). He has also ruled in favor of corporate power and profits over of the health and safety of American workers.
Click here for a fact sheet on Judge Gorsuch's record from our national union.
“We need to mobilize our friends, family and fellow union members like never before," said Chris Willems, a science teacher at Metropolitan Business Academy in New Haven. "We have to build on the unprecedented level of public interest in — and public outrage over — the president's nominee for education secretary. This is a Supreme Court justice with a lifetime appointment, so the stakes couldn't be higher," added Willems, a delegate for our affiliated New Haven Federation of Teachers.
Willems' comments refer to unparalleled efforts earlier this year to expose Betsy DeVos' lack of qualifications and dangerous ideology during her confirmation hearing. Activism by union members, parents and education advocates moved Senators to ask tough questions and demand clear answers instead of providing a "rubber-stamp" typical for a presidential cabinet pick.
Click here for our previous report on engaging members and communities in the education secretary's confirmation process.
For the American people to have the same opportunity to see who Judge Gorsuch really is, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday must also ask the tough questions. To know who's side he'll really be on, the full Senate must have the judge’s answers before they ultimately decide on whether to grant him a lifetime appointment.
Click here to watch the confirmation hearings live online.