Judge Neil Gorsuch has been proclaimed a “natural successor” to former justice Antonin Scalia on the US Supreme Court, and, unfortunately, would likely continue Scalia’s work to dismantle many of the protections extended to workers, the public, minorities, and the disabled.
In contrast to most of his colleagues, Gorsuch has restricted the laws protecting workers and the public by narrowly interpreting such laws and by refusing to defer to agencies enforcing them. As a result, he has generally ruled in favor of employers and corporations.
For example, in one case Gorsuch denied a federal discrimination claim brought by a professor who lost her job after taking time off to recover from cancer. Gorsuch also argued in a dissent that a company was permitted to fire a truck driver for refusing to drive a tractor trailer with faulty brakes and instead leaving the trailer and driving his truck to a safe location, and he ruled against a family seeking reimbursement under a federal disabilities law for the cost of sending a child with severe autism to a specialized school.
On constitutional matters, Gorsuch sees a need for more freedom for corporations to play an even greater role in politics, and has ruled to overturn a number of campaign finance laws. Similarly, we are concerned that he may follow Scalia’s apparent inclination to rule that employees who are not members of a union should be free to take the services of the union without being required to pay anything for those services.
Therefore, the appointment of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court could result in major steps backwards in the areas of civil rights, worker protection, and health and safety legislation.