- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

More than 100 civil rights groups signed a letter Wednesday asking senators to oppose Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, saying they feared he would work to cut off their access to the courts.

The groups, led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, pointed to a 2005 National Review article where the federal circuit judge criticized “American liberals” as having an “addiction to the courtroom.”

The groups said those comments showed a “hostility to the use of courts by discrimination victims.” They said it puts Mr. Gorsuch out of the mainstream of American legal thought.

“The American people deserve a Supreme Court justice who will be independent and not simply serve as a rubber stamp for the President who appointed him. Gorsuch also has an unacceptable record of putting powerful corporate interests above the rights of workers and ordinary people,” said Wade Henderson, head of the leadership conference.

But conservatives are pushing back, and suggest the letter is a political attack. They said some of the rulings cited in the letter as objectionable were cases where Democrat-appointed judges agreed with Mr. Gorsuch.

“Like Senator Schumer, they are extremists who will try every trick in the book to stop an exceptionally qualified, widely respected nominee who puts the law and the Constitution ahead of politics,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the conservative Judicial Crisis Network.

SEE ALSO: Neil Gorsuch, Supreme Court nominee, offers Chuck Schumer no hints on judicial philosophy

The letter comes just one day after another letter was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee from 39 of Judge Gorsuch’s former law clerks, who hold a variety of political views.

In their letter, they tout the jurist as “an extraordinary judge” who has “impeccable” qualifications, and has devoted himself to following the rule of law.

“He believes firmly that the role of the judge in our democracy is to apply the laws made by the political branches — that is, to adhere to our Constitution and the statutes our elected representatives have enacted, and not to confuse those things with a judge’s own policy preferences,” the law clerks wrote.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Wednesday that it’s up to Democrats whether they’ll force a filibuster. But, in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, he vowed that one way or another “Gorsuch is going to be confirmed.”

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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