Women Lawyers Express Concern Over Trump's Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch

(MEDIA ADVISORY) Please be advised that 72 of the individual women lawyers who spoke about the importance of abortion access in their lives and careers during the Whole Woman’s Health case have sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary expressing their concern over the nomination of Judge Neil M Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Specifically, the women lawyers—who were part of a groundbreaking amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court in January 2016 against the Texas clinic shutdown law that the Court later struck down —note that they “had the courage to speak publicly about what this right has meant to us personally, despite the stigma associated with abortion, including for us as women lawyers. Judge Gorsuch, in contrast, could try to obscure his views—as others have in the past—in order to avoid this difficult discussion.”

The signers urge the Judiciary Committee to thoroughly question Judge Gorsuch about his interpretation of abortion jurisprudence, pointing out that “we have taken personal and professional risks to publicly disclose our abortion stories to the justices of the Supreme Court, the members of the U.S. Senate, and the American people.” The letter notes that nothing is known about Judge Gorsuch’s views on abortion – even while his record on contraception is troubling--and “studied silence on this subject is not acceptable.” Furthermore, “[f]ull-scale questioning of judicial nominees—including questions relating to the nominee’s views on the constitutional right to contraception and abortion—aims to elicit important aspects of their understanding of the Constitution and the role of the courts, which they will carry with them into a lifetime appointment.”

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights has also called on the Senate to ask the nominee questions about our basic rights, stating the Senate must “get clear answers from Judge Gorsuch that constitutional protections—not politics or ideology—will prevail when our fundamental reproductive rights are on the docket.”

President Trump has promised that his nominee for the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, which first acknowledged a woman’s constitutional right to access safe, legal abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that right time and again, including just last year in the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Supreme Court victory in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which the court rejected medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion access as unconstitutional. 

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