Trump’s SCOTUS nominee is no friend to working people

The following is an editorial piece by Al Ekblad, Executive Secretary of the Montana State AFL-CIO, which represents 50,000 Montana workers and their families.

Working Montanans should be deeply concerned by President Trump’s choice for the U.S. Supreme Court seat. Federal Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch’s record shows he’s comfortable using the law to enrich Wall Street bankers and trampling the rights of working people.

Lifelong consequences will come with the confirmation of the next justice on the highest court in the United States. We cannot afford to permanently install an ideologue who will favor the wealthiest one percent of Americans. With corporate interests already entrenched in Trump’s cabinet and well represented in Congress, an independent judiciary is more important than ever to balance the extreme agenda that’s being carried out in Washington.Gorsuch appears to believe in legal theories that are well outside the mainstream and that would hinder the federal government’s ability to effectively address national problems affecting Americans across the country. If confirmed, he would likely continue to endanger important protections for workers, as well as clean air, water and basic safety regulations for food and medicine. He’s demonstrated he will represent corporate interests over everyday people at a time when America needs a justice who will protect the rights of all of us.

As a Tenth Circuit judge, Gorsuch joined the majority in the original Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, arguing that for-profit corporations are people and have a right to exercise their religious beliefs under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. His ruling – narrowly upheld by the Supreme Court – meant that Hobby Lobby won the “freedom” to deny female employees birth control coverage. The last thing we need is a Supreme Court justice who believes that corporations are people with more rights than women.

Gorsuch has argued against workers in a case imposing a Labor Department fine against a company that failed to adequately train a worker and caused his death. He also dissented from a decision that allowed back pay for an employee whose wages were improperly reduced. Further, he dissented from a decision against a company that fired a truck driver for not taking action that could very well have killed him, and he argued against a female UPS driver in a ruling that denied her the chance to prove sex discrimination on the job. The examples from Gorsuch’s anti-worker record go on and on.My union parents taught me the value of working people to this country. Union wages and benefits gave our family the opportunity to live in a new house and the chance for my sister and me to attend college. Those benefits and protections are increasingly under attack by the Trump administration, and we need our senators to stand up for an independent and fair Supreme Court. Moving forward, the court may be the last bastion of hope for civil rights and basic employment protections that working people rely on.

Join me in calling U.S. Sen. Steve Daines at (406) 453-0148 and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester at (406) 452-9585 and urging them to oppose Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation.

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