Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court poses a threat to the constitutionally enshrined principle of separation of church and state. Please contact your U.S. senators urging them to oppose him.
Gorsuch's record has revealed that he cannot be trusted to abide by well-established legal principles. His decision in Hobby Lobby highlighted his disqualifying misconception on what true "religious freedom" means. Other decisions, such has his opposition to "death-with-dignity" legislation and his dissent against rulings to eliminate religious expressions in public places, reveal that Gorsuch privileges one set of beliefs—those founded on the Christian faith—over others. By protecting certain religious beliefs over nonreligious ones, Gorsuch has already proven himself an untrustworthy defendant of our secular Constitution.
Gorsuch's confirmation hearing begins today, March 20. He first needs to be cleared by the Senate Judiciary Committee before the entire Senate will vote on his Supreme Count appointment. Read the questions FFRF provided the Senate to ask Gorsuch here. Please act now by contacting your U.S. senators to oppose Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court!
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(Keep reading if you wish to learn more about Gorsuch.)
Judge Neil Gorsuch, 49 years old, is currently on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. If approved, he will be the single Episcopalian on the Supreme Court alongside five Catholic and three Jewish justices. However, he was raised and schooled Roman Catholic, so his background does not signal an addition to diversity on the high court.
Gorsuch joined the now infamous Hobby Lobby decision by the 10th Circuit holding that for-profit companies have religious rights. The Supreme Court upheld the ruling, allowing corporations to trample women employees' contraceptive rights in the process.
Gorsuch bafflingly thinks the cross, the quintessential symbol of Christianity, stamped with state symbols is not a religious endorsement.
According to Eric Citron at the Peabody-winning SCOTUSblog, Gorsuch "is skeptical of efforts to purge religious expression from public spaces (like Scalia)." This antagonism is evident in two of Gorsuch's dissents. In each instance, the 10th Circuit decided not to rehear a case that a three-judge panel had decided. One such dissent was a case that removed roadside crosses as Establishment Cause violations. When the 10th Circuit decided not to rehear the case, Gorsuch wrote that it was a "biased presumption" to assume that roadside crosses erected by the government and bearing government insignia are unconstitutional endorsements of religion.
And when the 10th Circuit decided not to rehear a case that removed a Ten Commandments monument from a county courthouse in Oklahoma, Gorsuch stated in another dissent that he did not think the public display of the Judeo-Christian symbol was a violation of the Establishment clause. Gorsuch wrote, "the Ten Commandments can convey a 'secular moral message' about the primacy and authority of law, as well as the 'history and moral ideals' of our society and legal tradition." He also argued that the influence of the Ten Commandments is "undeniable" and an archetypal symbol for the law itself. Ridiculously, Gorsuch concluded that the monument did not violate the First Amendment.
Federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have recognized that the Latin cross is an exclusively Christian symbol. Yet Gorsuch would have upheld Latin crosses and the Ten Commandments — which begin, "I AM the LORD thy God, you shall have no other gods before me" — as not endorsing religion.
In his 2006 book, "The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia", Gorsuch makes his legal case for opposing assisted suicide for the terminally ill on moral grounds using Christian history as a precedent.
"With several states adopting death-with-dignity measures, it's inevitable Gorsuch, if confirmed, will be asked to vote on challenges to such legislation. It's clear he would rule against these laws," writes FFRF Co-president Dan Barker in a blog post on the subject. "His confirmation as a judge would give him a vote to retard the adoption of rational and humane regulations honoring the choice of gravely or terminally ill patients."
In short, Gorsuch is no friend to the separation of state and church. FFRF has about a dozen ongoing Establishment Clause lawsuits, several of which may be Supreme Court-bound. We cannot afford to give someone so hostile to FFRF's fundamental purpose a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.