More controversy surrounding Donald Trump‘s nominee for U.S. Supreme Court. Shocker.
In a letter submitted on Friday just ahead of the judge’s confirmation hearings, Neil Gorsuch‘s former student from the University of Colorado Law School, Jennifer Sisk, raised a few concerns about the SCOTUS nominee based on what she witnessed in the classroom.
One red flag in particular was a conversation Gorsuch once led about maternity leave benefits and women in the workplace.
During an assignment from his Legal Ethics and Professionalism class, the group discussed a hypothetical law student who wanted to pay off her debt while also starting a family.
“[In the reading,] a female student had large debt and wanted to work at a firm to pay back her loans. She also intended to start a family with her husband in the near future. The hypothetical raised the question of what she should tell future employers about her plans.”
During the discussion, Gorsuch allegedly expressed how women often take advantage of companies’ maternity plans, and how companies should be able to inquire about their pregnancy plans in order to protect itself:
“At least one student countered that an employer could not ask questions about an interviewee’s pregnancy plans. However, Judge Gorsuch informed the class that that was wrong. Throughout this class, Judge Gorsuch continued to make it very clear that the question of commitment to work over family was one that only women had to answer for.”
In case you’re unfamiliar, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a potential hire because of family plans — BUT just asking about those plans IS legal. So they obviously are doing it anyway.
Back in January, when Gorsuch was picked as Trump’s nominee, Sisk took to Facebook to say:
“Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch was my ethics professor last year. He is someone who has a sharp judicial mind and believes in facts and legal reasoning. However, in our class he was very comfortable discussing the fact that women use their companies and unfairly treat their employers by having children, therefore employers need heightened protections against women and need lax employment law before hiring women. He was firm in expressing his belief that only professions that made a hefty salary were worth pursuing and that anything related to non-profit or public service would make you sad and a disappointment. He does not support FMLA, women as equal citizens, and values corporations above people. He’s still better than the rest of the choices.”
Ever since her letter, other students and clerks have come out in defense of the controversial judge.
Another student, Will Hauptman, wrote:
“Although Judge Gorsuch did discuss some of the topics mentioned in the letter, he did not do so in the manner described. The judge was very matter-of-fact in that we would face difficult decisions; he himself recalled working late nights when he had a young child with whom he wished to share more time. The seriousness with which the judge asked us to consider these realities reflected his desire to make us aware of them, not any animus against a career or group.”
A group of 11 female former law clerks for Gorsuch added:
“We each have lived long enough and worked long enough to know gender discrimination when we see it. Some of us have experienced it professionally on occasion. When we collectively say that Judge Gorsuch treats and values women fairly and without preference or prejudice based on their gender, we do not say that in a vacuum. We say it with the perspective of those who know that unfortunately, even in 2017, female lawyers are not always treated as equals … The judge has spoken of the struggles of working attorneys to juggle family with work obligations; not once have we heard him intimate that those struggles are, or should be, shouldered by one gender alone.”
You can read all of Sisk’s letter AND more defense of Gorsuch HERE.
What do U think of this debate, Perezcious readers???
[Image via MSNBC.]