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120 Groups Ask: Will Gorsuch Defend The Rights of Everyday People to Be Heard Over Big Donors?

March 14, 2017 | Adam Smith

Letter Asks Whether Gorsuch Will Side With Ordinary Americans Over the Wealthy and Powerful

Washington, D.C.–Senators must challenge President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court 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.

The letter, organized by Demos and Every Voice, asks members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to press Judge Neil Gorsuch about his troubling record on the power of money in politics at next week’s hearing.

Adam Lioz, Counsel and Senior Advisor at Demos, said: “We need a justice who understands that in a true democracy the strength of our voices cannot depend upon the size of our wallets. Judge Gorsuch’s troubling record on money in politics shows he would not be such a justice, and renders him unfit to a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court. We are proud to stand with this diverse array of groups that represent millions of Americans to ensure our next Supreme Court Justice does not side with big corporations and wealthy donors against everyday people.”

Nick Nyhart, President and CEO at Every Voice Center, said: “Time after time, Judge Gorsuch has sided with the wealthy and powerful at the expense of everyone else. If promoted to the Supreme Court, Judge Gorsuch could hand even more influence to big donors and corporations in our elections. Senators have a responsibility to press Judge Gorsuch at his hearing on whether he will side with everyday Americans and ensure the influence of money in politics is kept in check.”

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?”

As detailed in a factsheet by the Campaign Legal Center and Demos, Gorsuch 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.

In polling conducted before Gorsuch’s nomination was announced, a majority of voters across political parties said it was “very important” to them that Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court would limit the influence of big money in politics. More than three-fourths of voters agreed the Senate should reject a nominee who would give the wealthy more influence in politics.

The full letter is available online and was delivered today to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein.

In addition to this letter, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and more than 110 of his House colleagues sent a letter to the Senate today urging a thorough investigation of Gorsuch’s views on money in politics.

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