WASHINGTON (CN) – With confirmation hearings not far off for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Senate Democrats spoke out Tuesday against the 10th Circuit judge’s record on employment cases.
Joined by workers’ rights and disability advocates, three Senate Democrats held a press conference this morning on cases where Gorsuch sided with corporate interests over the worker, drawing new lines in the battle for President Donald Trump’s choice to fill the vacant ninth seat on the Supreme Court.
“It is clear there’s a pattern here of Judge Gorsuch siding with employers and against workers, whether its dismissing workers’ safety concerns or his hostility towards upholding disability rights, and I’m very concerned that should he end up on the court he would side with conservative justices in continuing to undermine worker protections, safety and ability to organize,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., told reporters.
One decision the senators and activists mentioned repeatedly was the 2016 case TransAm Trucking Inc. v. Admin Review Board, where Gorsuch wrote in dissent that a truck driver was properly fired for abandoning his employer’s broken-down trailer to escape freezing cold temperatures.
The company had ordered the employee to stay with the trailer and wait for a repair crew, but the employee bailed because of the extreme cold.
“There’s simply no law anyone has pointed us to giving employees the right to operate their vehicles in ways their employers forbid,” Gorsuch wrote. “Maybe the department would like such a law, maybe someday Congress will adorn our federal statute books with such a law, but it isn’t there yet. And it isn’t our job to write one – or to allow the department to write one in Congress’ place.”
For Democrats, this decision, and others in Gorsuch’s record, demonstrate that he will put corporate interests ahead of working Americans if given a seat on the bench of the nation’s highest court.
The attack on Gorsuch’s record in employment cases is the latest attempt by Democrats to scuttle Trump’s court pick. Democrats at the press conference also questioned whether Gorsuch will be able to remain independent in cases involving the Trump administration and hit him for what advancing an “ultra-conservative agenda.”
“Now more than ever we need a justice who will stand up for the rights of all Americans against big corporate interests,” Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said at the press conference. “Unfortunately, Judge Neil Gorsuch is not that justice.”
Murray dodged a questions about whether she brought up the cases with Gorsuch during their meeting last month.
Gorsuch’s nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to begin on March 20 and last three or four days.