Donald Trump announced Tuesday night that he was nominating Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacant seat on the United States Supreme Court. The vacancy that has been sitting empty since the death of Antonin Scalia in February of 2016.
Gorsuch’s nomination, however, is a nightmare if you believe that the US Constitution is a secular document and hoped for a judge who understood that.
In a statement released to the press moments after his nomination, Larry Decker, the executive director of The Secular Coalition for America said:
“The nomination of Judge Gorsuch by President Trump signals a clear intent by the Administration to shape the nation’s highest court in an ideological fashion that threatens religious liberty and pushes an agenda at odds with the majority of Americans. Prior to making its way to the Supreme Court, the case of Hobby Lobby v. Burwell was brought before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Gorsuch ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, asserting that business owners with sincerely held religious beliefs could deny their employees access to healthcare benefits they were guaranteed by law under the Affordable Care Act. The result of the Hobby Lobby decision has been disastrous, granting business owners an unprecedented the unprecedented power to impose their personal beliefs on employees and setting a dangerous legal precedent that elevates religious belief above the law.”
“In the case of Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell, a Catholic nonprofit claimed that even requesting a religious exemption from the Department of Health and Human Services infringed on their religious freedom. The 10th Circuit Court denied the Little Sister’s a hearing but Gorsuch dissented in an opinion which predicted that ‘the doctrine of the panel majority will not long survive.’ If appointed to the Supreme Court, Gorsuch may fulfill his own prophecy. It is imperative that the Supreme Court safeguard the secular character of our government by ensuring that religious freedom is used to protect, not impose, belief on others. Given his past decisions, we are greatly concerned that Justice Gorsuch is not up to this task.”
The National Review, a far-right publication hailed Gorsuch as a great replacement for Scalia.
American Atheists legal director Amanda Knief said in a press release:
“American Atheists has grave concerns about the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve a lifetime appointment on the United States Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch’s expansionist view of religion as a ‘Get Out of the Law, Free’ card is fundamentally at odds with the history of American jurisprudence and would allow religion to be used as a weapon against women, LGBT people, atheists, and others.
“I strongly urge members of the United States Senate to fulfill their Constitutional obligation to look deeply at Judge Gorsuch’s record and determine whether or not his views about religious liberty are in line our American values.
“Having examined his record myself, it is clear to me that Americans deserve better than a judge who would prioritize the ‘religious beliefs’ of a corporation over the right of a woman to make healthcare decisions for herself and the bigotry of some over the fundamental human rights of vulnerable communities.”
All hope for resisting Gorsuch appointment now lies with Democrats.