Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Neil Gorsuch Hearings

They should not have taken place at all, given that Merrick Garland was appointed by a lawfully elected president and never got a hearing.  If being a lame duck president is a valid excuse for something like that, then surely we have much  more valid excuses for refusing to give Gorsuch a hearing, what with the Russian connections, under investigation, and the possibility that Vlad "the Impaler" Putin put a finger or two on those election scales?  Whose candidate IS Gorsuch, after all? 

Well, we know that he is the candidate of the corporations and the extremely wealth handful of extremist right-wing families which fund most of our politics now:  The Koch brothers, the Mercer son-and-daughter, and so on.  But did any foreign power affect that particular choice?

That's preposterous from me.  Of course it is, but we live in an era where sarcasm is impossible, because what is happening is so much more extreme than most things I can create in the sick part of my brain.

Back to Gorsuch.  He is also the candidate of the forced-birthers, of course.  Then there are the questions how he views the rights of pregnant women, based on a law class he held.

One of the students who were present in that class, Jennifer R. Sisk, stated this:

H]e asked the class to raise their hands if they knew of a female who had used a company to get maternity benefits and then left right after having a baby. Judge Gorsuch specifically targeted females and maternity leave. This question was not about parents or men shifting priorities after having children. It was solely focused on women using their companies.
I do not remember if any students raised their hands, but it was no more than a small handful of students. At that point Judge Gorsuch became more animated saying “C’mon guys.” He then announced that all our hands should be raised because “many” women use their companies for maternity benefits and then leave the company after the baby is born.

When one student objected that employers can’t ask about family plans during a job interview, Sisk said Gorsuch denied that this was true: “Instead Judge Gorsuch told the class that not only could a future employer ask female interviewees about their pregnancy and family plans, companies must ask females about their family and pregnancy plans to protect the company.”
The university later confirmed to the committee that Sisk had raised these objections with them shortly after the class discussion.

Gorsuch, when asked about this incident at the hearings, insisted that his point had been the reverse:

Instead, Gorsuch said, he asked for a show of hands of how many students had been asked “an inappropriate question about your family planning” in an employment context.
“I am shocked every year how many young women raise their hand,” Gorsuch said.
Gorsuch also dodged questions from Durbin about whether he thinks it’s legally inappropriate to ask questions like these, and whether a company should be able to take a woman’s family choices into consideration during the hiring process.
Nor did Gorsuch address Sisk’s claims that he had told his law class companies must ask women these questions out of protection.

Hmm.  Won't it be wonderful when Gorsuch removes his hearings-mask and reveals his true opinions about whose side he might take in a legal case where the two sides are corporations and pregnant women?  I can hardly wait, sigh.

P.S.  I have earlier written about  parental leaves as a reason for firms not to hire young women.  Some of those problems could be removed or reduced by requiring new fathers to take some parental leave, too, and in those countries where the employers pay some of the costs of parental leave, requiring that the employers of the man who fathered the child chip in half the money.