As political junkies will understand, in a post-Bork, post-Clarence Thomas-judicial-confirmation-world, every suspected pro-life Supreme Court appointee will be subjected to a “hazing” of excruciating proportions. The “logic” is that the proposed Justice hates women…and that his hating women is why he is pro-life.
Gorsuch doesn’t hate women. That didn’t stop people from trying to paint him that way.
First, there was the former-Democratic-staffer-Obama-Administration-employee-student who claimed that in a course Judge Gorsuch taught in Colorado, he said that employers should ask women about their plans for childbearing. She claimed that he also stated that women take advantage of employers for maternity leave all the time.
Another student disputed this hotly, claiming instead that Gorsuch was only asking all students, male and female, to reflect about how the practice of law could intrude on family life.
Gorsuch’s female law clerks offered further support regarding his treatment of women saying that he “treats and values women fairly and without preference or prejudice based on their gender, we do not say that in a vacuum.”
Another female clerk responded to the allegations saying: “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.” In fact, she said, “the Judge is usually the first person I go to for career advice. And the first words he has for me when I do are: ‘What can I do to help you?’ The suggestion that he ‘discounts the worth of working females’ is patently absurd.”
Former Democratic VP Candidate and Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia claimed that Gorsuch’s nomination “jeopardizes women” in a CNN editorial.
The basis? You guessed it!! Because Gorsuch agreed with the majority of Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby that employers shouldn’t have to violate their consciences to buy health insurance covering free abortifacients (Hobby Lobby concerned only the abortifacient drugs portion of the “mandate”). Kaine was also sweating because Gorsuch did not directly affirm Griswold v. Connecticut, the case in which the Supreme Court invented a “right to privacy”–not actually named in the text of the Constitution—that included the right to access contraception.
Now, there are very few people, myself included, who want to put the government in the business of entering people’s houses and hunting for contraception. But that’s not the question. States are not going to ban contraception anytime. The question is whether – as Griswold held – we want five unelected Justices “finding” stuff in what the Justices called (no joke!…) the “penumbras and emanations” of the Constitution. For those of you lucky enough ever to have seen the Australian comedy The Castle, this is just like the hapless attorney in that case trying to tell a judge that the right he is seeking is in the “vibe of the Constitution.” Gorsuch also dissented from his court’s holding that forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to facilitate free contraception insurance at the risk of massive fines was not a burden on their religious freedom.
When pressed (and pressed again!) by Democratic senators regarding legal abortion, Gorsuch said only that Roe is “the law of the land” and that he “accept[s] the law of the land.” While having written, of course, in his book on Euthanasia that “the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.” Every Court watcher knows the mark of the pro-life appointee: acknowledge that Roe is the law, while refusing to say (as Gorsuch refused to say) that it is the correct law.
I’m very excited to see what will happen at the Court with Gorsuch on the bench. For women, and for the unborn, and for religious freedom. One more Justice in addition to Gorsuch…and we have a clear majority, five to four, for overturning Roe!