Guest post from Ken Sagar, president of the Iowa Federation of Labor
Decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court have a direct impact on the livelihoods of working people – the right to a discrimination-free workplace, to safe working conditions, to be paid for the hours worked, to join with co-workers to form a union, and so much more.
The stakes for working people are high in who fills this vacancy on the Supreme Court. In recent years, the Supreme Court has decided significant cases, often by the narrowest of margins, with a dramatic impact on working people. The Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, struck down the core provision of the Voting Rights Act, and undermined workers’ collective bargaining rights.
Any nominee to the Supreme Court needs to have a record demonstrating that he or she is fair, open-minded, independent, and committed to protecting the legal rights, freedoms, and safeguards our Constitution and laws guarantee. A justice must appreciate the issues and challenges facing working families and the importance of upholding and enforcing our rights.
Instead, what we have gotten is a nominee by President Trump from among a group vetted and approved by anti-union, right-wing legal organizations. A nominee in the mold of the late Justice Scalia, who consistently ruled against working people’s interests.
Our review of Judge Gorsuch’s rulings to date raises very serious concerns about where he stands on issues like worker health and safety, equal opportunity in the workplace, and legal deference to the expertise of federal agencies.
We will continue to scrutinize the nominee’s record in the days ahead to see what we can learn about his views on working families’ issues. We have already found examples of him undercutting watchdog agencies such as OSHA, siding with employers against workers. He has repeatedly sided with corporations, apparently subscribing to the “corporations are people too” philosophy that clearly sifts the balance of power in favor of wealthy, deep pocket interests.
We call upon the U.S. Senate to study thoroughly Judge Gorsuch’s record and to question him closely during his hearing to determine whether he is a judge who will protect the rights of working people and uphold our constitutional values of liberty, equality and justice for all. The burden is on the nominee to demonstrate his qualifications for this lifetime appointment of such critical importance to working families.
We hope they come to the same conclusion we have; Judge Gorsuch is not the judge with the appropriate temperament for the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
by Ken Sagar