Common Cause Joins With More Than 100 Groups In Urging Senators to Challenge Supreme Court Nominee on Troubling Money in Politics Record

Today, Common Cause joined with more than 100 organization in urging Senate Leaders challenge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, to clarify his position on the power of big money in politics.  The letter asks Senators to determine whether Judge Gorsuch believes the wealthy and powerful should be heard above the voices of everyday people and cites overwhelming public support for curbing the influence of big money in politics. The letter is signed by 121 democracy, civil rights, environmental, labor, and other local, state, and national organizations representing tens of millions of Americans.

The groups ask members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to press Judge Gorsuch about his troubling record on the power of money in politics at next week’s hearing.

“Americans are deeply troubled by the overwhelming impact of big money in our elections and by the influence it buys with elected officials,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause. “Senators owe their constituents a rigorous questioning of Judge Gorsuch repeated rulings for corporate business interests over everyday citizens and how that pattern would translate to his rulings on big money in politics. The electorate is fed up with those with the biggest checkbooks writing the rules in this country, and voters don’t want their Senators rubber-stamping another judge who will favor the very richest over the vast majority.” 

As the letter states:

“In future decisions, the Court might erase our few remaining protections against big-money influence in campaigns and policy making, or permit a balanced political system in which all voices are heard and currently marginalized communities have a full say in the decisions that affect their lives.

“Americans understand this, and 93% of voters think it’s important that President Trump nominates a Supreme Court justice who is open to limiting the influence of big money in politics. Unfortunately, Judge Gorsuch’s record on money in politics and corporate power is deeply troubling, and suggests he would support increasing the power of the wealthiest interests within the system.

“As the Senate Judiciary Committee considers whether Judge Gorsuch is fit to serve all Americans as a Supreme Court Justice, we ask that you vigorously pursue this essential question:

“Will Judge Gorsuch’s legal philosophy lead him to strike down even more protections against the use of corporate or personal wealth to influence elections, such as candidate and party contribution limits, or will he permit sensible limits on political money in order to ensure the voices and will of all Americans are fully represented within the political process?”

As detailed in a factsheet by the Campaign Legal Center and Demos, Gorsuch’s record shows a strong belief that corporations are people, has signaled openness to a legal standard that could lead to the end of campaign contribution limits, and opposed accountability for corporate bad actors as a private attorney–views that if acted upon, during  a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, would further weaken our democracy and tilt it in favor of the wealthy and powerful.

In polling conducted before Gorsuch’s nomination was announced, a majority of voters across political parties said it was “very important” to them that Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court would limit the influence of big money in politics. More than three-fourths of voters agreed the Senate should reject a nominee who would give the wealthy more influence in politics.

The letter was delivered today to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein.

To read the full letter, click here.

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