(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
By Hillary Larson and Sarah Brooks
Around Colorado, we’ve noticed a fair amount of support for Neil Gorsuch. He is, of course, a homegrown Coloradoan who has served on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver for over a decade. Despite Gorsuch’s lengthy tenure on the bench, his decisions have not always reflected the views of his constituents.
Coloradans have consistently supported protective environmental legislation that safeguards this beautiful state and our public health. Additionally, access to reproductive health resources has long been a top priority for Coloradans. Will Gorsuch represent these values while serving the Supreme Court?
We have our doubts; here’s why.
During his time on the 10th Circuit, SCOTUS nominee Gorsuch repeatedly sided with employers and companies, citing their own religious beliefs as the basis for denying contraception access to their women employees. Yet Colorado has consistently been a pro-choice state, which directly conflicts with Gorsuch’s anti-reproductive rights perspective on the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case. This case resulted in Hobby Lobby stores denying its female employees access to contraceptives under company health insurance.
Most mapping shows that Gorsuch is actually further to right on the political spectrum than his predecessor, Anthony Scalia1, who regularly opposed environmental protections. A New York Times editorial cited Gorsuch’s surprising position on deference courts: “He [Gorsuch] is even more conservative than Justice Scalia in at least one area—calling for an end to the deference courts [courts that allocate decisions to alternate parties, such as a government agency] additionally show to administrative agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency, that are charged with implementing complex and important federal laws.”
In the next four years, there will likely be cases in which supreme court justices must side with environmental protection and corporate interest. With the climate-change denying, environmental regulation opposing Scott Pruitt as the new administrator of our Environmental Protection Agency, Gorsuch will become the 5-4 tiebreaker on our nation’s highest court. Do we really want someone who won’t defend our natural landscapes, clean air and water in that position?
We need the court to safeguard our environmental protections because we certainly can’t rely on President Donald Trump, or Scott Pruitt, to do so. The next four years are crucial in terms of creating protective, preventative environmental legislation. If Gorsuch is confirmed and opposes more stringent protection, it will sent a precedent of neglect amongst the Supreme Court.
As Coloradans, we’ll proudly shout from the rooftops that we live in one of the best states there is. If one of our judges is going to represent the nation, they should have a far better track record for protecting our human rights and environment than Neil Gorsuch.
But wait, we could still do so much worse!
We agree, Gorsuch is most likely not the actual devil. Given Trump’s cabinet and advisor selection, many people argue that he could have chosen a more destructive nominee, therefore we should hold our nose and deal with Gorsuch.
It is possible for Trump to have picked a worse nominee, but are those really the standards we’re holding ourselves to right now? If we start judging our nation by the worst possible outcome, we will fail. We will fail our state, we will fail our families and we will fail the planet. So let’s fight for the best.