HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow Slated to Testify at Senate Hearing; Will Detail Equality Case Against High Court Nominee
Washington -- Last month, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, took the unprecedented step of opposing President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court of the United States before his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing because of his disturbing record. With the hearing slated to begin on Monday, HRC is reiterating its opposition.
“Neil Gorsuch’s anti-equality record reveals a dark picture of a jurist who arbitrarily picks and chooses who deserves justice,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “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.”
HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Gorsuch’s nomination, and will detail the equality case against the nominee. Media interested in speaking with Warbelow may email Aaron Rodriguez at Aaron.Rodriguez@hrc.org, or call 202-772-3888.
Gorsuch has a long and troubling career opposing civil rights, including for LGBTQ people:
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.
Given this record, HRC has taken the extraordinary step of opposing this Supreme Court nominee prior to his confirmation hearing -- a first for the organization. Gorsuch has been endorsed by The Heritage Foundation, a right wing and anti-equality think tank that has opposed every LGBTQ equality case that has come before the high court. Judge Gorsuch’s record, coupled with Trump’s discriminatory executive actions, his other anti-LGBTQ appointees, and the campaign promise to appoint a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia
leave no room for anyone to doubt that Trump’s pick will be dangerous for the LGBTQ community.
So many of the LGBTQ community’s hard-fought rights have been secured in the nation’s highest court:
Romer v. Evans (1996) which stopped states from forbidding nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people
Lawrence v. Texas (2003) invalidated laws criminalizing same-sex relationships
United States v. Windsor (2013) required federal recognition of same-sex marriages
Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) brought nationwide marriage equality to every state
We cannot afford a Supreme Court justice who will be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump’s discriminatory actions. We must demand a Supreme Court Justice who embraces equal justice under law and who will apply a compassionate, impartial, and inclusionary interpretation of the Constitution faithful to its drafters’ vision.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.