Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, is widely considered to be aligned with the conservative judicial interpretations of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, someone he greatly admired.
Adding a conservative justice to the Supreme Court is concerning, particularly as folks in Georgia are trying to get anti-gerrymandering laws passed and voter suppression continues to be a problem across the South — issues that conservative justices have historically been hostile to.
The conservative justices on the Supreme Court, in general, have been pretty reluctant to overturn policies that further voter suppression, or to intervene in partisan gerrymandering. As a federal appellate judge, Gorsuch, “does not have an especially thick record on voting rights and gerrymandering,” ThinkProgress reports, however his alignment with Scalia and this trend among the Supreme Court’s more conservative members does not bode well.
Currently, there are efforts underway in the State House and Senate to end partisan gerrymandering and introduce an independent body to redraw districts after the 2020 census. This legislation already faces an uphill battle, what will it mean if the nation’s leading court is hostile to such measures?
There’s also a lawsuit moving through the courts challenging racist voter suppression tactics used in Sparta, Ga.
Sparta is a small town, perched between Macon, Athens and Augusta, and many black voters faced an unexpected surprise when sheriffs came by their homes to serve them with orders to appear in court and prove their voter registration data was accurate. Over 15 percent of registered voters were targeted, but nearly all of the targeted voters were black.
According to ThinkProgress, “every single Republican justice rejected a challenge to voter ID laws, one of the most common forms of voter suppression. Every single Republican voted to reinstate North Carolina’s omnibus voter suppression law, most likely the most aggressive law of its kind since Jim Crow.”
Would Gorsuch really vote any differently if Georgia’s racist voter suppression tactics are ever challenged?
What indications there are of his personal and legal opinions also do not bode well for LGBTQ people or defending access to abortion and birth control. Latino legal groups have also expressed concern about Gorsuch becoming the next Supreme Court justice.
An opinion piece on The Hill makes this impassioned plea against his nomination:
It would empower an authoritarian president bent on imposing his will on the nation and the judiciary. And it would elevate to the highest court in the land a judge who seems unlikely to provide the independent check on executive power that will be demanded from the Supreme Court in the next four years as never before in our nation’s history.
Both Senators from Georgia — David Perdue and Johnny Isakson — have released statements in support of Gorsuch.
Perdue even said in a speech to members of Congress:
President Donald J. Trump promised the American people he would nominate an unwavering supporter of the United States Constitution to the Supreme Court. He has now kept that promise.
I personally applaud the president for nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the United States Supreme Court. He is an outstanding choice.
Bloggers and commentators have been mulling the question of whether or not Democrats might try to block his nomination; none failing to mention the too recent history of Republicans blocking Merrick Garland, Obama’s Supreme Court pick.