Trump’s Supreme Court Pick a Threat to Racial Equity

Donald Trump has picked a Supreme Court nominee modeled after the late Justice Scalia—although even more extreme.  Judge Neil Gorsuch’s overall record reveals that time and again he sides with the wealthy and powerful over ordinary Americans.  And, his dissents show that when he disagrees with his colleagues it’s almost always in favor of big business or questioning constitutional rights.

A new Demos Explainer details the role of the Supreme Court in shaping a system where the strength of our voices depends upon the size of our wallets and color of our skin.  This Explainer further demonstrates how big money politics is a key barrier to people of color achieving equal representation in our democracy, and how Judge Gorsuch’s record on money in politics threatens racial equity in the U.S. 

Centuries of racist policies have created a staggering racial wealth gap—and big-money politics translates this gap in economic power into a similar gap in political voice.  Nearly 95 percent of federal election donors who give $5,000+ are white. And, ninety percent of elected officials are white, even though people of color make up nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population.

Putting Judge Gorsuch in a lifetime seat on the nation’s highest court would make racial bias in political voice in this country even worse—by further empowering the wealthy, white donor class over the rest of the population.  Gorsuch’s troubling record on money in politics suggests he would vote to shred the few remaining protections against corporations and wealthy donors translating economic might into political power.

At a time where immigration raids target Latinos in their homes, schools, hospitals, and places of employment across the country, and anti-Muslim bias is official White House policy, it is even more critical to have policies that level the playing field for all people and advance racial equity.

This is why dozens of civil rights leaders and allied organizations have opposed Judge Gorsuch’s nomination, while others, including NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Sherrilyn Ifill, have expressed serious concerns.

The clear conclusion: building a fair system “where people of all incomes and backgrounds can effectively run for office and lobby our elected officials requires keeping Judge Neil Gorsuch off the United States Supreme Court.”