Today is a sad day for hard working Americans that help build our great country and keep us moving forward. Judge Neil Gorsuch – the most recent nominee to the United States Supreme Court – has a clearly demonstrated track record of issuing rulings and judicial opinions which side against working people and instead align with powerful corporations and the well connected.  On this basis alone, he should not be granted a lifetime appointment to the most important court in the land. From his judicial opinions and prior public statements, Judge Gorsuch has given no indication that he will fight against the harmful impact of dark money on our elections and for protecting individuals’ basic rights, including the right to vote without discrimination and fear of intimidation.

Judge Gorsuch has a clear anti-worker record and has shown little concern for how his decisions impact ordinary people and the real dangers workers in hazardous industries face every day.  His clearly stated and written beliefs on the Chevron standard indicate he will continue to be hostile to determinations by federal agencies such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration, EEOC, National Labor Relations Board and other agencies charged with protecting workers’ rights.  And his prior judicial opinions, which include siding with employers who were penalized for unsafe working conditions and cheated their employees out of wages and seniority rights, amplify this concern.  Having Judge Gorsuch join the Supreme Court would also be bad news for retirees, as a study of his opinions shows he has sided with corporations and against pensioners and benefit plan beneficiaries in 91 percent of cases.  Judge Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy and decisions are so extreme that the Supreme Court very recently, in a unanimous decision, overturned a ruling he made against students with disabilities.

Today marks a dark day in our democratic tradition of an independent judiciary. Senate Majority Leader McConnell recklessly abandoned 230 years of Senate tradition to fast track Judge Gorsuch to the court. The hypocrisy of this action is appalling, given that Leader McConnell refused to even give President Obama’s nominee Judge Merrick Garland a meeting, let alone a hearing.

Our constitutional democracy – which has been a symbol shown and shared worldwide – was founded on the principle that an independent judiciary would be above partisan politics.  The Senate required 60 votes as the threshold to advance Supreme Court nominees to encourage mainstream, consensus candidates. I fear the Senate’s recent actions will haunt us for many years. By eliminating the need to find consensus candidates, our government will only become more politicized and it will be harder to solve the problems our country faces.

We deserve a Supreme Court justice who will be fair, independent and committed to protecting the rights, freedoms and legal safeguards that protect every one of us. Today’s unfortunate actions by Senate Republicans moves us further away from that goal.