Gorsuch on the Supreme Court Would Be an Attack on Families Like Mine

By Kalpana Krishnamurthy, Policy Director at Forward Together

I will fully admit that I’m a nerd. I go to state capitols — and I go on the tours. I have written three legislative report cards — and I would love to write more. So yes, I’m paying attention to the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch. But my passion for policy goes beyond my super nerd habits, because what happens in the Supreme Court touches my life in a very personal way. As a South Asian person, the daughter of immigrants, the mother of two sons, the Supreme Court has been setting the table for what I experience in America since before my parents and my community even got here.

Kalpana Krishnamurthy’s parents in the 1970s.

For most of this country’s history, my parents weren’t allowed to enter. Racial quotas have long been used to control who entered the US, to minimize people of color and maximize White European immigrants. In two cases in the early 1920s[1], the Supreme Court found that only “free white persons” could be naturalized citizens. Read that again. None of the rest of us — Asian people, Latinx people, indigenous and Native people — were allowed to become US citizens with the ability to vote and full protection of the US constitution. In Thind and Ozawa, the Supreme Court basically said “Let’s use the commonly understood definition of White in deciding if you can be a citizen.” What a surprise then, that changes to our immigration laws around the racial quotas didn’t happen until the height of the civil rights movement in 1965.

For most of this country’s history, my marriage wouldn’t have been allowed. I fell in love and got married in 2003. Our marriage is interracial and it would have resulted in our jailing in all but nine states. Yes, 41** states have had laws on the books banning interracial marriage. And in 1967, when the Supreme Court took on the Loving case, 17 Southern states still had anti-miscegenation laws on the books. Loving was an affirmation of love and a resounding rejection of White supremacy.

I rely on decisions made by the Supreme Court every day to live my life. For the ten years that my partner and I lived together as an unmarried couple, we needed access to birth control [2] because we knew we weren’t ready to have children. If our birth control had failed at that time, we would have seriously considered having an abortion.[3] My biracial sons go to integrated schools[4] and eventually they might go to public universities, where their mixed race identities can be considered as factor in their admission and in helping create a diverse higher education environment.[5] My son’s closest aunties are queer couples, and we talk often about the rights and recognition that LGBTQ families have only recently won.[6]

But when the Supreme Court has gotten it wrong — which it has done and continues to do — my family and our communities feel the impact with fewer rights and recognition. Whether it was upholding the round-up of Japanese Americans in concentration camps[7] or striking down key parts of the Voting Rights Act[8] or recognizing free speech for corporations,[9] when the Supreme Court gets it wrong, boy do they get it wrong. Decisions about what to count, like votes in an election[10], or who counts, like if Black people** are citizens[11], which people can reproduce[12], or what is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act[13], have had a lasting impact on communities most at risk: people of color, LGBTQ communities, immigrants, low-income people, and people with disabilities.

When it comes to the Supreme Court, we have to get it right. Neil Gorsuch is the wrong guy for this job. In over 10 years on the federal bench, Gorsuch has proven to be a conservative ideologue who has consistently ruled against civil rights, women’s rights, and workers’ rights. He has ruled in favor of protestors blocking access to Planned Parenthood clinics, and that a boss can decide whether employees can access birth control. He has been a staunch opponent of LGBTQ rights, creating ways for employers to discriminate against the LGBTQ community through religious exemptions. He thought that an officer firing a stun gun at an unarmed person’s head deserved immunity, instead of accountability for police misconduct. He has consistently ruled against students with disabilities trying to access the services to which they are entitled.

Who’s for Gorsuch? Try the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation, and the Susan B. Anthony Foundation (an anti-abortion group). The Judicial Crisis Network is spending $12 million on ads trying to convince us that Gorsuch is a “moderate.” If we judge a person by the friends he keeps — his friends should give us all pause. Meanwhile, every day I get another chance to sign Forward Together onto letters opposing Gorsuch. From the National Abortion Federation to the National LGBTQ Task Force to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights — all of them oppose Gorsuch’s nomination.

Not to mention, President Trump nominated him. For that alone, we should oppose him. Remember Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee? Republican Senators literally wouldn’t even meet with him. They didn’t have the common courtesy to open their office doors and meet the man, hold a hearing, or hold a vote on his nomination. Let’s be clear, the Republicans stole this Supreme Court nomination so they can push through an extremist agenda that hurts families like ours.

TAKE ACTION

This is the moment. If approved by the Senate, Gorsuch could sit on the Supreme Court for thirty years. Thirty years of tipping the scales to conservative and outdated values that hurt families like mine. And yours.

You can stop Neil Gorsuch. Dial 1–866–986–9020 to contact your U.S. Senators. We’ll give you a script and automatically connect you — it’s easy! Most calls take just two minutes.

Join us in stopping Gorsuch.


Kalpana Krishnamurthy is the Policy Director at Forward Together. She’s not a lawyer, and has not been inside of a court room. She has protested outside the Supreme Court.

**Correction: An earlier version of this piece misstated that 43 states had laws banning interracial marriage. It was 41. The earlier piece also misstated that the Dred Scott decision considered whether slaves were citizens, when in fact it considered whether Black people were citizens.

[1] Ozawa vs. United States (1922) and US vs. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923)

[2] Griswold v Connecticut (1965)

[3] Roe vs. Wade (1973)

[4] Brown vs. Board of Education (1954)

[5] Fisher v. Texas (2016)

[6] One, Inc vs Oleson (1958), Romer vs Evans (1996), Lawrence vs. Texas (2003), United States vs. Windsor (2013), Ogberfell vs Hodges (2015)

[7] Korematsu v. United States (1944)

[8] Shelby County v. Holder (2013)

[9] Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)

[10] Bush v. Gore (2000)

[11] Dred Scott vs. Sandford (1857) [Note: an earlier version of this piece misstated that the decision address if slaves were considered citizens, when in fact it considered whether Black people were citizens.]

[12] Buck v. Bell (1927)

[13] Sutton v. United Airlines (1999), Murphy v. UPS (1999), Albertsons v. Kirkingberg (1999)

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