"Securing a 'Political Win' Was More Important Than Safeguarding the Rights of Millions of Americans"
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Judge Neil Gorsuch on Monday will be sworn is as Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Supreme Court. Republicans in the Senate confirmed the Colorado judge late Friday morning, after changing the 60 vote rule to a simple majority. The final vote was 54-45.
Gorsuch, given his history, is expected to be very bad for LGBT people's civil rights, for women, and minorities, across a wide spectrum of issues.
Here's how LGBT organizations are responding to today's news:
GLAD Executive Director Janson Wu:
"Today, our message to Justice Gorsuch is this: you have accepted a serious responsibility. Your job is to ensure that our laws respect the rights of all Americans – rights that are guaranteed and protected by our Constitution.
"Justice Gorsuch’s confirmation doesn’t change what we do here at GLAD: we will continue to use the law to fight for the rights of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV everywhere. And we will fight any and all attempts to turn back fundamental Constitutional rights, especially for the most vulnerable.
"And we have every right to expect our Supreme Court justices, like all judges, to take their responsibility seriously, and apply the law equally and fairly.
"From protections for people with HIV to queer youth, from transgender rights to marriage equality, from family protections to employment non-discrimination -we know that when our community stands together and makes the case, we win.
"And when we are before the Supreme Court again, we will argue what we know to be true: our U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection and liberty for all."
PFLAG Interim Executive Director Elizabeth Kohm:
"We remain concerned that Judge Gorsuch will now have a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. We thank our friend Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for his heroic efforts to elevate Judge Gorsuch’s longtime opposition to discrimination protections, which are so crucial to the wellbeing and safety of LGBTQ people and other similarly marginalized communities. PFLAGers everywhere will continue to educate about the real impact of decisions made in the judicial branch of government. Additionally, we will continue to participate in amicus briefs to the court to raise the unique and crucial family and ally voice by sharing the real stories of harm done to our LGBTQ loved ones."
GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis:
“Republicans in the Senate just destroyed a steadfast American tradition for the purpose of confirming a person to the U.S. Supreme Court who will most certainly vote in opposition to the safety and well-being of the LGBTQ community and many marginalized groups for his entire career on the bench. With his history of siding against transgender Americans and arguing against marriage equality, Neil Gorsuch is yet another reprehensible pawn in the Trump Administration’s goal of erasing the LGBTQ community from the fabric of America.”
National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.:
"To change the rules to ram through a Supreme Court nominee too extreme to garner 60 votes undermines the Senate’s historical role as a deliberative body. And with today’s appointment, Senate Republicans have jeopardized the core constitutional rights of millions of Americans.
"As veterans of the marriage equality fight, we understand how profoundly Supreme Court rulings can affect our daily lives. Judge Gorsuch’s record on some of our most fundamental constitutional freedoms—such as the right to privacy, equality under the law, and access to reproductive health care—is dangerous, troubling, and miles behind where we are today. We must not allow these critical freedoms to be lost or undone. In the wake of this disappointment, we join with millions of other Americans in renewing our commitment to a vision of this country and of our Constitution that looks forward, not back, and that promises freedom and equality for all."
Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur:
"The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the vote to eliminate longstanding Senate filibuster rules place the civil rights of every LGBT American at risk.
"Gorsuch’s opinion in the Hobby Lobby case embraced the use of religious exemptions, which opponents of LGBT equality across the country are attempting to use to gut hard-won LGBT civil rights protections. Gorsuch’s legal philosophy is far to the right of most Americans who believe in a woman’s right to vote or to reproductive freedom, a separation of church and state, equal protection, marriage equality for same-sex couples or civil rights protections for vulnerable communities. At a time when the LGBT community is facing a wave of laws across the country making it permissible to discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds, the stakes are higher than ever.
"In addition, with their invocation yesterday of the so-called ‘nuclear option’ to eliminate filibuster rules that have provided important limits on partisan extremism, Senate Republicans have sacrificed bipartisanship and the checks and balances on which our country was founded. Republican leaders have done away with a 200-year-old Senate institution to place a jurist on the Court who could not win sufficient votes to meet the Senate’s historic standard of 60 votes for confirmation because of his extreme views. We are especially disappointed in moderate and purple-state GOP senators who helped undermine our democracy and LGBT civil rights with their vote, in blind allegiance to Donald Trump’s agenda. These include Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and we plan to work with colleague organizations to hold them accountable to the best of our ability. This is a sad day for the LGBT community and for our country."
Lambda Legal Director of Strategy Sharon McGowan:
"The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it does not bend itself.
"When Judge Gorsuch was nominated in January, many people predicted that he would easily secure the 60 votes necessary for confirmation. We dispelled the #AlternativeFacts being peddled about Judge Gorsuch by working with progressive allies to expose his antigay, anti-trans, anti-woman, anti-choice and anti-worker agenda.
"While it is disappointing to have lost this particular fight, there is no longer any real debate over what kind of nominee President Trump put forth. And there is no longer any doubt that, to certain folks in Washington, securing a “political win” was more important than safeguarding the rights of millions of Americans.
"So it’s okay to be angry, sad, frustrated and disappointed. I am too. But know this:
"Lambda Legal was there. The voice of our community was heard. We made a difference.
"And we won’t stop. #WeObject"
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