posted at 5:01 pm on March 14, 2017 by John Sexton
Earlier today Ed wrote about the left’s struggle to find something with which to attack Judge Gorsuch. So far it seems they have been able to come up with very little. But at least one leading faction on the left is demanding Gorsuch be kept off the Supreme Court. A coalition of 55 groups who support abortion, including NARAL and Planned Parenthood, have sent a letter to Senators warning he represents a “grave danger” to “our constitutional rights.” Politico published the letter which reads in part [emphasis in original]:
We implore senators to do everything necessary to block this nomination. Gorsuch has demonstrated he will go to extraordinary lengths to reach a result that would block women’s access to basic reproductive healthcare…Based on his record, writings, and the circumstances of his nomination, we believe Gorsuch would put reproductive freedom in grave danger and pose an imminent threat to our constitutional rights.
The letter goes on to cite a handful of specific cases including Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius:
Gorsuch joined the decision that laid the groundwork for the Supreme Court’s now infamous decision in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius. Citing Citizens United, the Tenth Circuit held that corporations like Hobby Lobby – a craft store chain employing more than 13,000 people – can be “persons” with religious beliefs under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and employers can use those religious beliefs to block employees’ insurance coverage of birth control.
Of course, the real concern here is that once he is on the Supreme Court, Gorsuch might work to limit or even overturn Roe v. Wade. That’s not something the court is likely to do with Gorsuch replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia. However, the next Justice to resign from the court is likely to be one of the reliable liberals. If that happens within the next four years and Trump nominates a replacement, then Roe v. Wade could be vulnerable.
What’s not clear is why these groups want to bother with what is looking like a lost cause. Democrats do not appear eager to keep Gorsuch off the court, at least they have no strong argument to do so. Even if they did, it’s unlikely Republicans would allow him to go down. The Senate would expand the nuclear option and pass him through with 52 votes. So, again, what is the point of this exercise? If I had to guess I’d say Planned Parenthood is thinking about its own political base, which is demanding this show of opposition even if wiser heads know it’s not going to matter. They already know they are going to lose but they want it to look like they went down fighting.