President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nominee, Neil Gorsuch, founded and led a student group called the “Fascism Forever Club” at his elite prep school back in the day.
The Daily Mail reveals Gorsuch set up the club as a protest against the “left-wing tendencies” of his professors at the private Jesuit all-boys high school near Washington D.C. Today, the $30,000–$50,000-a-year school is one of the most select in America.
Gorsuch attended the school during the 1980s, and was president of the “Fascism Forever Club” right up until he graduated in 1985, according to his senior yearbook.
The book described the club as an “anti-faculty student group that battled against the ‘liberal voices of the school administration,'” the Daily Mail notes.
Gorsuch’s former school, Georgetown Preparatory, boasts a handful of U.S. congressmen, one U.S. Senator, and many members of the Kennedy family among its alumni.
— Michael J O’Loughlin (@MikeOLoughlin) February 1, 2017
The bombshell news comes two days after Trump nominated the conservative, 49-year-old U.S. appellate judge Gorsuch in a prime-time ceremony on Tuesday, January 31, to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year.
If he goes on to be approved by the Senate, Gorsuch would become the youngest justice since Clarence Thomas joined the court in 1991 at age 43.
Even before news of Gorsuch’s “Fascism Forever” club trickled into the press, Democrats, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown, Ron Wyden, Kirsten Gillibrand, and the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, publicly stated that they will oppose Gorsuch’s nomination.
However, only Merkley vowed to filibuster any Trump nominee. Also on Wednesday, the Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer told the floor that he has concerns about Gorsuch and that he will have to meet the 60-vote threshold to be confirmed to the court. However, Schumer didn’t use the same language as Merkley.
SCOTUS now rests in a delicate balance. We cannot allow it to be further captured by corporate influence or bullied by Executive overreach.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 1, 2017
Trump’s nomination comes amid pronounced polarization of the right and the left in the U.S. following an ugly race for the White House last year. Accusations of voter fraud by undocumented residents followed from the right, and finger-pointing by the left at Trump and his advisers over their reluctance to acknowledge the official U.S. intelligence report confirming the Russian government attempted — and did — interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.
More recently, Democratic fury and Republican confusion over many of Trump’s executive orders has added to the increased partisan face-off in Washington and the rest of the U.S.
It was a no-brainer that Gorsuch’s likely confirmation wasn’t going to be an easy ride. Most, if not all, Senate Democrats remain angry that the GOP successfully stopped the ex-President Obama’s Supreme nominee, Merrick Garland, from getting a vote or a hearing in a 10-month block last year, irrationally arguing that no president can nominate a Supreme Court judge in their final term. As such, Democrats consider the vacant Supreme Court judge position as a stolen seat.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell asked Democrats on Tuesday to give Gorsuch the support they gave him back in 2006 when he was unanimously confirmed onto the Court of Appeals.
“I hope members of the Senate will again show him fair consideration and respect the result of the recent election with an up-or-down vote on his nomination,'” McConnell said.
Now, with revelations of Gorsuch’s past “Fascism Forever Club” scandal, it’s unlikely the Democrats won’t seize on it as evidence of the nominee’s unfitness to serve in the U.S.’ highest court. Conservatives and right-leaning interest groups have delightedly endorsed the Denver-born candidate. These include the Heritage Foundation, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, the National Rifle Association, and more.
— Wilfred Chan (@wilfredchan) February 2, 2017
But others are adamant that Gorsuch — who is known to favor literal interpretations of the constitution — is a dangerous pick for women’s rights, LGBT rights, the progress of civil rights, and individual when facing off with the state or corporations.
Senator Warren has said she opposes Gorsuch’s appointment because he was chosen “by far right activist groups that were financed by big business interests.”
Pelosi slammed Gorsuch as “well outside the mainstream of American legal thought.”
Senator Bernie Sanders insists Trump’s choice needs to “explain his hostility to women’s rights, support of corporations over workers and opposition to campaign finance reform.”
Documentarian activist and liberal, Michael Moore, tweeted a stark promise to any Senate Democrats who doesn’t block President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee with primary challenges in their next election.
Senate Dems, let’s be very clear: You will filibuster & block this SC nom or we will find a true progressive and primary u in next election.
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) February 1, 2017
This Supreme Court pick was Obama’s to make and it was stolen by Republicans. Democrats had better block this and demand a nom we approve.
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) February 1, 2017
Various voices in the media are having their say too. Some argue that Gorsuch isn’t the best candidate to be an impartial judge, despite being highly qualified, respected, and having enjoyed bipartisan support for his present job.
Over at the Hill, one op-ed claims Gorsuch’s judicial record shows the rights of women, American workers, the environment, middle-class families, and the safety of communities “will be in jeopardy if Judge Gorsuch is confirmed. And it will have a detrimental effect that can last for decades.”
Noting that the U.S. Supreme Court is the court of last resort for most in America, it’s been revealed that in several cases centering on access to contraception for women, Judge Gorsuch repeatedly chose to restrict that access.
This is particularly important as during his campaign, Trump promised his justices would try to overturn Roe v. Wade, considered as a pivotal case upholding reproductive health and equal rights for women.
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) February 2, 2017
Gorsuch also backed the governor of Utah to defund Planned Parenthood, which took away vital health care services including cancer screenings to thousands of women unable to receive that care anywhere else.
In matters of the environment, the Sierra Club’s executive director, Michael Brune says, “Judge Gorsuch’s dangerous views favor polluters and industry over the rights of the people.”
He went on to add, “His record shows that he will limit the access of everyday Americans to the courts and prevent agencies like the EPA from fulfilling their mission and doing their job to protect our air, water, and health.”
Civil rights groups have cited one case where Gorsuch condoned the excessive use of a stun gun by a police officer that resulted in the death of a victim.
Lambda Legal claims Gorsuch has demonstrated hostility towards “LGBT people and other marginalized communities” in cases. This is the first time Lambda Legal has formally opposed a Supreme Court nomination before a confirmation hearing.
The firm cited Gorsuch’s numerous anti-LGBT rulings and his worrying record on issues such as religious exemptions.
— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) February 1, 2017
The Hill also notes that Gorsuch repeatedly “sides” with corporations in legal fights with individuals, the workers, and the environment, and that his declared hero, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was “one of the most conservative, anti-choice, anti-environment and anti-worker Justices there ever was.”
With checks and balances needed more than ever and the U.S. possibly under threat from espionage within, let alone outside its borders, is a man whose conservatism could certainly be described as reactionary, and who founded and presided over a “Fascists Forever Club” as a teen (and perhaps still, ideologically), really the best choice for the crucial role as a Justice on the Supreme Court?
— Senator Ben Cardin (@SenatorCardin) February 2, 2017
That’s the big question, among many, for U.S. Democrats and Republicans at this time. Given that it is being reported that some Democrats do not have an issue with Gorsuch being confirmed, will this new shocking information change the minds of those with the power to vote nay or yay?
Weigh in with your opinions in the comments below.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]