Dismissing concerns by educators and everyday Americans, Senate GOP confirms Gorsuch

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Image: ©2017 Patrick G. Ryan/NEA. All Rights Reserved

The Senate GOP, casting aside longstanding Senate procedure, yesterday confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The final vote was 54-45.

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Gorsuch came under widespread criticism by educators for his extreme record as a judge on the U.S. 10th Circuit of Appeals in cases involving students with disabilities. Judge Gorsuch ruled against students with disabilities in eight out of 10 cases.

“In his court decisions, Judge Gorsuch endorsed the lowest of expectations for students with disabilities, which allowed public schools to provide our highest-needs students with the bare minimum educational benefit. We should all be concerned by this troubling trend in Gorsuch’s record,” said Utah teacher and National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García.

In one case, Gorsuch failed to hold schools responsible when they segregated students with disabilities in abusive conditions. One of Gorsuch’s most problematic rulings is a case that involved an autistic student named Luke. Gorsuch overruled the findings of a hearing officer, an administrative law judge, and a federal district court that all found the school violated its duty to provide Luke with a “free appropriate public education.” Gorsuch held that Luke was only entitled to make progress that was slightly above the lowest possible standard, or “merely more than minimis.” The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected Gorsuch’s minimal standard last month.

In rushing through the lifetime appointment, Senate GOP leadership, despite overwhelming condemnation, decided to override the rule that a Supreme Court nominee meet a 60-vote threshold. The rule was instituted to encourage mainstream justices and to foster bipartisan cooperation among senators.

Reader Comments

  1. The real issue with Gorsuch seems to be should a justice follow the law or his heart. There is no room for law with liberals when the law seems to conflict with a tug on the heart strings. Without laws the country will devolve into a mess, like Europe and the rest of the world. If you do not like the law, get it changed. No other options

  2. Hard to kow the right answer isn’t it? Seems essentially 100% of the Dems ‘approved’ Gorsuch as a district judge a few years ago. What changed in that time?

    1. I think what changed was that we got to know more about him. The Transcom Trucking case showed his Scrooge-like tendencies and the case refusing Luke P adequate special education services should be of concern to educators.

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