National Consumers League

NCL statement in opposition of Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch

April 04, 2017

Media contact: NCL Communications, Cindy Hoang, cindyh@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneering consumer and labor advocacy organization, has announced its opposition to the confirmation of President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, citing concerning decisions he made as a federal judge that seem to always favor large corporations over the interests of workers and consumers.

“Indeed, Judge Gorsuch has displayed a callousness toward workers and consumers,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “In one example, Gorsuch supported the firing of a truck driver who was forced to leave his broken down truck in order to avoid freezing to death in subzero weather after calling for help to no avail. In another case, in which an employee was killed by electrocution and the company had not given him full job safety training, OSHA decided the employer failed to properly train its worker, and fined the employer. Judge Gorsuch disagreed with the fine. His argument: that the case was an example of a health-and-safety watchdog agency having too much power.”

On consumer issues, Gorsuch ruled against a patient who was severely injured by a medical implant that was supposed to help her recover from spinal surgery. When the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was concerned that strong, small magnets in products were causing serious injury to kids who swallowed them and created regulations to reduce the risk, Judge Gorsuch sided with the manufacturer of the magnets, ruling that the CPSC could not regulate the products, in spite of the Commission’s evidence that kids were at risk.

Finally, Judge Gorsuch’s opinions have suggested that he fully supports the right of corporations to force employees and consumers who have been harmed into arbitration—through clauses in the “fine print” of lengthy contracts—preventing them from taking their cases to court. Gorsuch wrote that arbitration clauses should be enforced even when the parties don’t agree on the details of the arbitration. “There is significant evidence that arbitration in these situations almost always favors the employer or corporation, because the ordinary safeguards of litigating a case in court are not available,” said Greenberg.

Former President Barack Obama outlined what he believed made a person qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, and NCL agrees that fine academic credentials are not enough.

Obama noted the importance of having Justices with "experience that suggests he or she views the law not only as an intellectual exercise, but also grasps the way it affects the daily reality of people’s lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly changing times."

“In both his labor and consumer decisions, Judge Neil Gorsuch fails the test of sympathizing with—and protecting the rights of—the average worker and consumer,” said Greenberg. “For these reasons, the National Consumers League opposes the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States.”

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.