Neil Gorsuch on Civil Rights



Ruled against claimants in employment discrimination cases

Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett have not ruled on affirmative action cases as appellate judges. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito have opposed racial preferences in the past while Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are viewed as generally supportive.

Civil rights groups were worried about Gorsuch when he was nominated to the high court mainly because of his rulings in employment discrimination cases that often went against claimants, and an article he wrote in 2005 in the conservative National Review. In that article, he took a narrow view of civil rights impact litigation, writing that "American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box" as the chief means for their social agenda.

Source: National Law Journal on 2022 SCOTUS Affirmative Action , Jan 24, 2022

Protections for gender apply to transgender people too

[The Bostock v. Clayton County ruling in favor of transgender employment rights] was a surprising one from an increasingly conservative court. Gay and transgender rights groups considered the case more important than the right to marry, because nearly every LGBTQ adult has or needs a job.

Equally surprising was that the decision was written by Neil Gorsuch, who was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and the court's four more liberal members to form a majority. "An employer who fired an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex," Gorsuch wrote. "Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision. Those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result," he wrote, adding that that's "no reason to ignore the law's demands. Only the written word is the law, and all persons are entitled to its benefit."

Source: NBC News on BOSTOCK v. CLAYTON COUNTY, GEORGIA , Jun 15, 2020

Desegregation lawsuits won critical civil-rights victories

There's no doubt that constitutional lawsuits have secured critical civil-rights victories, with the desegregation cases culminating in Brown v. Board of Education topping the list. But relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box [is dangerous] as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide to the use of vouchers for private-school education. This overweening addiction to the courtroom as the place to debate social policy is bad for the country and bad for the judiciary. In the legislative arena, especially when the country is closely divided, compromises tend to be the rule the day. But when judges rule this or that policy unconstitutional, there's little room for compromise: One side must win, the other must lose. In constitutional litigation, too, experiments and pilot programs--real-world laboratories in which ideas can be assessed on the results they produce--are not possible.
Source: National Review column by Neil Gorsuch , Feb 7, 2005

Gay marriage might win lawsuits but loses at ballot box

The Left's alliance with trial lawyers and its dependence on constitutional litigation to achieve its social goals risks political atrophy. Liberals may win a victory on gay marriage when preaching to the choir before like-minded judges in Massachusetts. But in failing to reach out and persuade the public generally, they invite exactly the sort of backlash we saw in November when gay marriage was rejected in all eleven states where it was on the ballot.

During the New Deal, liberals recognized that the ballot box and elected branches are generally the appropriate engines of social reform, and liberals used both to spectacular effect--instituting profound social changes that remain deeply ingrained in society today.

Source: National Review column by Neil Gorsuch , Feb 7, 2005

Other Justices on Civil Rights: Neil Gorsuch on other issues:
Samuel Alito(since 2006)
Amy Coney Barrett(since 2020)
Stephen Breyer(since 1994)
Neil Gorsuch(since 2017)
Ketanji Brown Jackson(nominated 2022)
Elena Kagan(since 2010)
Brett Kavanaugh(since 2018)
John Roberts(since 2005)
Sonia Sotomayor(since 2009)
Clarence Thomas(since 1991)

Former Justices:
Merrick Garland(nominated 2016)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg(1993-2020)
Anthony Kennedy(1988-2018)
Antonin Scalia(1986-2016)
John Paul Stevens(1975-2010)
David Souter(1990-2009)
Sandra Day O'Connor(1981-2006)
William Rehnquist(1975-2005)

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Page last updated: Mar 21, 2022