Trump’s Supreme Court nominee opposed by LGBT groups amid tough confirmation battle

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is undergoing a tough confirmation battle – and the Human Rights Campaign has vowed to oppose him.

President Trump has picked appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, citing his conservative values.

Judge Gorsuch is a strict originalist who is likely to reject arguments that interpret the Constitution as affording protections for LGBT rights, and is likely to upset the balance between liberals and conservatives on the court.

During his confirmation hearing in the Senate, Gorsuch avoided questions on LGBT rights, simply stating that “The Supreme Court of the United States has held that single-sex marriage is protected by the Constitution”. He did not clarify his actual legal viewpoints.

The Human Rights Campaign has opposed Gorsuch’s nomination this week, while GLAAD also voiced concerns.

HRC President Chad Griffin said: “Neil Gorsuch’s anti-equality record reveals a dark picture of a jurist who arbitrarily picks and chooses who deserves justice.

“We can’t trust him to stand up for transgender Americans who are already being targeted by the Trump administration. We can’t trust him to prevent our government from giving businesses a license to discriminate against us. Judge Gorsuch’s deeply alarming record on issues that have profound consequences for the LGBTQ community is, simply put, disqualifying.”

GLAAD said: “His record is fairly thin, but the open questions are concerning. If U.S. Senators are going to paint a robust portrait of this nominee, then LGBTQ rights must be a part of that painting.”

HRC cited his record on LGBT rights.

They summed up:

* Gorsuch’s 2004 dissertation from Oxford University revealed that he did not think the United States Constitution protected the right to marriage equality.
* Gorsuch called marriage equality part of the liberal social agenda, saying, “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom… as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide…”
* He joined the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, which asserted that that some private corporations are “people” under federal law and have a right to deny basic healthcare coverage if it violates their religious belief. This expansive ruling could allow employers to deny transgender employees access to hormone treatment, access to birth control and other crucial health care for LGBTQ people.
* Hobby Lobby could have negative long-term consequences beyond health care for the LGBTQ community. There are those who are already trying to use the decision to advance discrimination against LGBTQ workers.
* In 2015, Gorsuch joined a ruling against a transgender woman who was denied consistent access to hormone therapy while incarcerated. The ruling dismissed the prisoner’s claims that the denial of care amounted to cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution.
* He has advocated for eliminating Chevron deference, a critical administrative law doctrine that allows our federal system of regulations to function, which could result in the significant loss protections for LGBTQ people.