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120 Groups to Senate Judiciary Committee: Press Gorsuch on Money in Politics Views

March 14, 2017 | Adam Smith

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President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court must be forced to clarify his position on the power of big money in politics and whether he believes the wealthy and powerful should be heard above the voices of everyday people, according to a letter signed by 121 democracy, civil rights, environmental, labor, and other local, state, and national organizations representing tens of millions of Americans.

As the letter states:

“In future decisions, the Court might erase our few remaining protections against big-money influence in campaigns and policy making, or permit a balanced political system in which all voices are heard and currently marginalized communities have a full say in the decisions that affect their lives.

“Americans understand this, and 93% of voters think it’s important that President Trump nominates a Supreme Court justice who is open to limiting the influence of big money in politics. Unfortunately, Judge Gorsuch’s record on money in politics and corporate power is deeply troubling, and suggests he would support increasing the power of the wealthiest interests within the system.

“As the Senate Judiciary Committee considers whether Judge Gorsuch is fit to serve all Americans as a Supreme Court Justice, we ask that you vigorously pursue this essential question:

“Will Judge Gorsuch’s legal philosophy lead him to strike down even more protections against the use of corporate or personal wealth to influence elections, such as candidate and party contribution limits, or will he permit sensible limits on political money in order to ensure the voices and will of all Americans are fully represented within the political process?”

In addition to Every Voice, Demos, Democracy 21, and other government reform organizations, signers include a diverse cross section of organizations representing a broad set of issues. Signers include environmental groups like Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, civil rights groups NAACP and the National LGBTQ Task Force, labor organizations NEA and CWA, and other national, state, and local groups. The groups were joined in raising these issues today by Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and more than 110 of his House colleagues in expressing similar concern.

As detailed in a factsheet by the Campaign Legal Center and Demos, Gorsuch has a troubling record on these issues. He believes corporations are people, has signaled openness to a legal standard that could lead to the end of campaign contribution limits, and opposed accountability for corporate bad actors as a private attorney–views that if acted upon, during  a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, would further weaken our democracy and tilt it in favor of the wealthy and powerful. Or, watch this two-minute explainer:

Adam Smith

Adam Smith is Every Voice's communications director.