As the Senate begins hearings today on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, a coalition of 60 pro-life groups is calling on the Senate to confirm his nomination.
Sixty national and state pro-life groups sent a letter to the U.S. Senate this morning calling for the swift confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
The letter was spearheaded by Susan B. Anthony List and signed by members of the Pro-life Court Coalition which has, for weeks, rallied grassroots online and on the ground in support of Judge Gorsuch. In addition to an online petition campaign, the coalition has focused its efforts on Senate Democrats up for re-election in 2018 states by holding rallies and press conferences in Ohio, Missouri, Indiana, North Dakota, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
The letter, whic this author signed, reads: “Judge Gorsuch is widely recognized as a jurist possessed of deep intelligence and true fairmindedness. In 2006 the U.S. Senate recognized these qualities, confirming Gorsuch without dissent to his current position on the 10th Circuit. After a decade of constitutionally sound and clearly written rulings and opinions, Judge Gorsuch deserves once again the swift approval of the Senate.”
The letter cites Judge Gorsuch’s opinions in the Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor cases, as well as his dissent in a case where a 10th Circuit panel sided with Planned Parenthood, America’s biggest abortion business. The letter also notes Gorsuch’s book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, where he states that “human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable” and that “the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”
The text of the letter follows:
On behalf of the millions of members of our national and state-based pro-life and pro-family organizations listed below, we urge your support for the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judge Gorsuch is widely recognized as a jurist possessed of deep intelligence and true fairmindedness. In 2006 the U.S. Senate recognized these qualities, confirming Gorsuch without dissent to his current position on the 10th Circuit. After a decade of constitutionally sound and clearly written rulings and opinions, Judge Gorsuch deserves once again the swift approval of the Senate.
Many will attest to Judge Gorsuch’s judicial temperament and his respectful treatment of everyone in proceedings before him. He has consistently applied an originalist approach to the Constitution, and a respect for the separation of powers, reminiscent of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. We believe that Judge Gorsuch’s thoughtful opinions illuminate how he would decide difficult questions on the Supreme Court. Many of our organizations applauded Judge Gorsuch when he evinced a keen understanding and respect for religious liberty in cases involving Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor, concluding that application of the Affordable Care Act’s preventive service mandate, coupled with massive fines on religious objectors to elements of the mandate, substantially burdens religious liberty.i ii
Judge Gorsuch dissented in a case where a 10th Circuit panel sided with Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider, when it overrode the factual finding of the federal district court and issued a preliminary injunction against the Governor of Utah’s decision to defund the abortion business over allegations of its involvement in potential violations of law regarding trading in fetal organs.iii Gorsuch faulted the 10th Circuit majority for failing to follow the appropriate standard of review and the customary deference to the factual findings of the court below.
Outside of the judicial context, Neil Gorsuch has proven himself to be a defender of the most basic human rights. He argues in his widely praised book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, that “human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable” and that “the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”iv Judge Gorsuch couples such personal convictions with a determination, as he said on the occasion of his nomination, to “administer justice equally to rich and poor alike, following the law as they find it and without respect to their personal political beliefs.”
Judge Gorsuch is made for such a time as this, and he has earned your support for elevation to the Supreme Court of the United States. We hope his convictions, writings, and values will lead you to the same conclusion. We urge his swift confirmation.
Marjorie Dannenfelser President Susan B. Anthony List
Carol Tobias President National Right to Life
Tony Perkins President Family Research Council
Penny Nance CEO & President Concerned Women for America
Gary Marx Senior Advisor Judicial Crisis Network
Austin Ruse President C-Fam
Tom McClusky President March for Life Action
Lila Rose President Live Action
Judie Brown President American Life League
Gary L. Bauer President American Values
Fr. Frank Pavone National Director Priests for Life
Janet Morana Co-Founder Silent No More Awareness Campaign
Frank Cannon President American Principles Project
Paul Weber President & CEO Family Policy Alliance
Jim Sedlak Founder STOPP International
Brian Fisher President Human Coalition
Dr. Carl Herbster President AdvanceUSA
Joe Ortwerth Executive Director Missouri Family Policy Council
Cole Muzio President and Executive Director Family Policy Alliance of Georgia
Emily Zender Executive Director Illinois Right to Life
Julaine K. Appling President Wisconsin Family Action.
Eric Teetsel President Family Policy Alliance of Kansas
Mark Jorritsma President and Executive Director Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota
Maria McFadden Maffucci Editor Human Life Review
Troy Newman President Operation Rescue
Lauren Muzyka Executive Director Sidewalk Advocates for Life
Steven Ertelt Editor LifeNews.com
Curt Smith President Indiana Family Institute
Kristan Hawkins President Students for Life
William A. Estrada, Esq. Director of Federal Relations Home School Legal Defense Association
Eric Scheidler Executive Director Pro-Life Action League
Jenifer Bowen Spokeswoman for Iowa Right to Life and President and Founder of Life Right Action
Scott Valencia Chief Operating Officer Iowa Right to Life.
Marc Tuttle President Right to Life of Indianapolis
Matt Lockett Executive Director Bound4LIFE International
Denise Leipold Executive Director Right to Life of Northeast Ohio
Tami L. Fitzgerald Executive Director NC Values Coalition
Jeanette Burdell Executive Director St. Joseph County Right to Life
Melissa Ortiz Founder & and Principal Able Americans
Monica Migliorino Miller, Ph. D. President Citizens for a Pro-Life Society
Bradley Mattes President Life Issues Institute
Nicole Theis President Delaware Family Policy Council
John Helmberger Chief Executive Officer Minnesota Family Council
Rev. Jason J. McGuire Executive Director New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms
David Fowler President Family Action of Tennessee
Eva Andrade President Hawaii Family Forum
James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr. President Hawaii Family Advocates
John Stemberger President & General Counsel Florida Family Policy Council
Aaron Baer President Citizens for Community Values
Carroll Conley Executive Director Christian Civic League of Maine
Dale A. Bartscher Executive Director Family Heritage Alliance Action
Oran P. Smith, PhD President Palmetto Family Alliance Columbia, SC
Star Parker President Center for Urban Renewal and Education
Jerry Cox President Arkansas Family Council
Derek McCoy Executive Vice President Center for Urban Renewal and Education.
Debbie Chaves Executive Director Colorado Family Action
Len Deo Founder & President New Jersey Family Policy Council
Mike Fichter President and CEO Indiana Right to Life
Victoria Cobb President The Family Foundation of Virginia
Allen Whitt President Family Policy Council & Family Policy Institute of West Virginia
President Donald Trump nominated the federal appeals Court Judge with strong support from pro-life organizations that point to his track record as supporting religious freedom for pro-life organizations refusing to be forced to pay for abortions. They also noted his opposition to assisted suicide and his support for a state fighting to defund Planned Parenthood abortion business.
The abortion giant slammed Gorsuch for supporting Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor in their bids to not be forced to pay for abortion-causing drugs in their employee health care plans.
“Gorsuch has also worked to undermine access to essential health care — ruling that bosses should be able to deny women birth control coverage. His record shows a disturbing willingness to let ideology overrule his constitutional duty to uphold and respect clearly established precedent protecting our fundamental liberties, including Roe v. Wade and Whole Woman’s Health,” Planned Parenthood said.
The 49-year-old Judge Gorsuch, if confirmed, would replace pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia – who supporting overturning Roe v. Wade and allowing states to once again provide legal protection for unborn children.
Justice Gorsuch is currently a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which includes the districts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, as well as the Eastern, Northern and Western districts of Oklahoma. He has served as a federal judge since August 2006 and was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed unanimously by the Senate.
The pro-life legal scholars who know him best say he is a strong originalist, believing that the Constitution should only be interpreted as the Founding Fathers intended. That would him squarely in the legal camp of Justice Scalia.
One of the biggest problems pro-life advocates have with the Supreme Court is that it invented a so-called right to abortion in Roe v. Wade. But Gorsuch’s writings indicate he opposes that kind of thinking. In a 2005 National Review article, Gorsuch wrote that liberals rely on the courts too much to made social policy.
This overweening addiction to the courtroom as the place to debate social policy is bad for the country and bad for the judiciary. In the legislative arena, especially when the country is closely divided, compromises tend to be the rule the day. But when judges rule this or that policy unconstitutional, there’s little room for compromise: One side must win, the other must lose. In constitutional litigation, too, experiments and pilot programs–real-world laboratories in which ideas can be assessed on the results they produce–are not possible. Ideas are tested only in the abstract world of legal briefs and lawyers arguments. As a society, we lose the benefit of the give-and-take of the political process and the flexibility of social experimentation that only the elected branches can provide.
He said liberal activists rely on the judicial system “as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide to the use of vouchers for private-school education.”
On direct pro-life matters, Gorsuch sided with the state of Utah in its attempt to defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
Gorsuch sided with pro-life Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s effort to defund Planned Parenthood. After his decision, the 10th Circuit Court decided against re-hearing Planned Parenthood v. Gary Herbert, after the court previously ordered Utah to fund Planned Parenthood. Gorsch dissented in the case and wrote:
Respectfully, this case warrants rehearing. As it stands, the panel opinion leaves litigants in preliminary injunction disputes reason to worry that this court will sometimes deny deference to district court factual findings; relax the burden of proof by favoring attenuated causal claims our precedent disfavors; and invoke arguments for reversal untested by the parties, unsupported by the record, and inconsistent with principles of comity. Preliminary injunction disputes like this one recur regularly and ensuring certainty in the rules governing them, and demonstrating that we will apply those rules consistently to all matters that come before us, is of exceptional importance to the law, litigants, lower courts, and future panels alike. I respectfully dissent.
As National Review pro-life legal scholar Ed Whelan notes:
I’d like to take note of his remarkable failure to acknowledge, much less credit Gorsuch for, Gorsuch’s powerful dissent (see pp. 16-27 here) one month ago from the Tenth Circuit’s denial of rehearing en banc in Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Herbert. As the faithful reader will recall from these posts of mine, in the aftermath of the Center for Medical Progress’s release of videos depicting various Planned Parenthood affiliates’ ugly involvement in harvesting body parts, Utah governor Gary Herbert directed state agencies “to cease acting as an intermediary for pass-through federal funds” to Planned Parenthood’s Utah affiliate. But after the district court denied Planned Parenthood’s request for a preliminary injunction against Herbert’s directive, a divided panel, on very weak reasoning, ruled that Planned Parenthood was entitled to a preliminary injunction. Gorsuch’s dissent dismantles the panel majority’s reasoning.
Would a Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch be inclined to overturn the decades-old decision fostering abortion on demand? His record suggests he is open to doing so.
In the panel ruling in Games-Perez, Gorsuch did indeed regard himself as bound to abide by controlling circuit precedent, just as nearly every circuit judge not named Stephen Reinhardt also does. But Gorsuch didn’t stop there. In a 20-page opinion, he urged the en banc Tenth Circuit to reconsider and overrule the wrong precedent.
Gorsuch also has made pro-life comments about abortion and strongly opposes assisted suicide. He has written a book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, which (as Princeton University Press puts it) “builds a nuanced, novel, and powerful moral and legal argument against legalization [of assisted suicide and euthanasia], one based on a principle that, surprisingly, has largely been overlooked in the debate—the idea that human life is intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong.”
Meanwhile, as National Review reports, “Gorsuch wrote a powerful dissent from the denial of rehearing en banc in a case involving funding of Planned Parenthood.” NR indicates Gorsuch has written “human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable, and that the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”
Democrats have already promised to filibuster any Supreme Court nominee.
Sen. Jeff Merkle, a pro-abortion Oregon Democrat, said in an interview on Monday morning that he will filibuster any pick other than pro-abortion Judge Merrick garland — who pro-abortion president Barack Obama named to replace pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia.
“This is a stolen seat. This is the first time a Senate majority has stolen a seat,” Merkley said in an interview. “We will use every lever in our power to stop this.”
Gorsuch is 49 years old. He and his wife, Louise, have two daughters and live in Boulder, Colorado.