Confirming Gorsuch Would Be a Grave Mistake

On April 3, 2017, members of the Congressional Black Caucus spoke on the House Floor in opposition to the President’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, focusing on the impact of Gorsuch on the African-American community. Here are excerpts from my remarks:

Confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court would be detrimental to the interests of working Americans.

Just as President Trump’s agenda prioritizes special interests, Judge Gorsuch’s record shows that he favors powerful interests and businesses over regular people.

His hostility to class-action lawsuits would threaten protections for workers, especially African Americans and other minorities.

What is particularly concerning to me is Gorsuch’s opinion in what is known as the “frozen trucker” case.

Gorsuch ruled against an African-American truck driver who, after breaking down in freezing weather, ignored his supervisor by unhitching the broken trailer from his truck and driving away in search of assistance.


Gorsuch believed the employee should have followed orders, even though the driver’s life was at risk.

Gorsuch was the sole vote against the driver, who was put in the position of having to choose between freezing to death, driving an unsafe vehicle and endangering the lives of others, or unhitching his trailer and seeking help.

Judge Gorsuch’s record is also troubling when it comes to issues around police accountability.

Gorsuch believes in granting police qualified immunity, which protects law enforcement from being held liable for excessive use of force.

This is deeply concerning given the widespread use of excessive force against African Americans by police and the increasing number of police shooting deaths of unarmed African Americans.

This is particularly concerning to me — I come from Newark, New Jersey, and the police department is being overseen by a federal monitor following a 2014 review that determined officers had repeatedly violated citizens’ civil rights.

Additionally, Gorsuch’s record on civil rights is deeply troubling.

The National Bar Association — our nation’s oldest and largest national association of predominantly African American lawyers and judges — notes that Gorsuch has shown “a strong tendency to be biased in favor of powerful corporate interests and unapologetically biased against workers and victims of civil and human rights violations.”


The confirmation of Gorsuch would threaten the protections and rights of African Americans. Gorsuch is in lockstep with President Trump, favoring the wealthy over ordinary Americans. This is why I oppose his confirmation.

Even those who disagree that Gorsuch would bring a biased view to the court should see the necessity in delaying consideration of Gorsuch given the ongoing controversy over the Trump-Russia connection.

It is inappropriate to rush forward with a life-time appointment made by a president who is under investigation by the FBI and trapped in scandal.

The Senate should delay consideration of Gorsuch until an independent commission investigates Russia’s election interference and any ties between Russia and the Trump administration.

In closing, let me just say that Judge Gorsuch put on a very good show in front of the Senate, appearing to be very competent and thoughtful, but never really answering any of the questions that were asked of him.

We feel that this jurist should not sit on the highest court in the land, because of the bias that he has shown against working people and regular citizens in this country. Justice is supposed to be blind, but it seems that Gorsuch has a bias against the American working-class person, the minority looking for an equal break. To have him sit on the highest court in the land would be a grave mistake.

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