Civil rights, human rights groups denounce Senate’s confirmation of Gorsuch

By Wade Henderson

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement following the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States:

The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is an unhappy day to those Americans committed to justice and equality for all. His confirmation will forever be tainted by the Republican Senate majority’s callous disregard for the historic rules and traditions of the Senate. Judge Gorsuch’s ascension to the Court was abetted by his refusal to answer questions on his views on basic settled law like Brown v. Board of Education.

When it became clear that the nominee, backed by the Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society and other right-wing special interest groups, could not meet the 60-vote threshold, Leader McConnell kowtowed to President Trump and altered the protections of the minority party by changing the rules in the middle of the game.  This action may pave the way for ending the legislative filibuster in order to allow Trump’s agenda to move forward, unfettered by input from the Democrats.

Republicans demanded a 60-vote threshold for many of President Obama’s lower court judicial nominations. Leader McConnell determined that a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land was not worthy of that same standard. The change in the long-standing Senate rules on Supreme Court nominations is a far cry from the action taken by Democrats in 2013, which only came after years of obstruction by the Republicans.

It is patently unfair and deeply disappointing that those who abused Senate rules to block President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland and then changed Senate rules to approve Judge Gorsuch will be rewarded for their bad behavior. The American people should long remember these alarming and unprecedented actions.