Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch's record is "fundamentally at odds with the notion that LGBT people are entitled to equality, liberty, justice and dignity under the law," Lambda Legal wrote, along with 18 other LGBT groups, in a letter addressed to Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reports BuzzFeed News.
The judiciary committee will begin confirmation hearings Monday. The letter asked senators to consider that Gorsuch's appointment would pose a "grave threat" to LGBT people and those living with HIV. "We wish to call to your attention the following aspects of Judge Gorsuch’s record and philosophy that are of particular concern to our organizations and our constituents, and that raise crucial questions of grave consequence to LGBT people, everyone living with HIV, and anyone who cares about these communities," the letter read.
Among the groups that signed the letter alongside Lambda Legal are the Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Transgender Equality, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, and Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.
They said Gorsuch's reputation as an "originalist" shows he is not likely to fight for the rights of LGBT people as a Supreme Court justice. An originalist philosophy "treats the Constitution as frozen in time, meaning that, unless the Constitution has been amended to explicitly protect certain rights, individuals have no more rights today than they did in 1789," the letter stated.
It referenced landmark cases on intimacy and marriage, such as Lawrence v. Texas, Windsor v. U.S., and Obergefell v. Hodges, and said that if Gorsuch had been on the high court when those cases were heard, he would likely have been on the anti-LGBT side. “Based on his extensive record, there can be no doubt that, had he been on the Court, Judge Gorsuch would have rejected each of these basic rights," wrote the LGBT groups.
In the past Gorsuch has publicly stated his disapproval of people going to the courts to settle civil rights cases. The letter referenced an op-ed Gorsuch wrote in 2005, saying, "American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom ... as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage" to other civil rights issues.
The letter called Gorsuch's views "even more extreme and outside the mainstream" than those of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who he would replace. In 2015 Gorsuch signed on to an opinion that stated that a transgender woman in prison did not suffer irreparable harm after her hormone therapy was interrupted. In 2009 he signed onto an opinion that rejected the right of a transgender woman to use the bathroom that corresponded to her gender identity because it caused "discomfort-based complaints of other students."