On Tuesday, Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch gave a powerful answer refuting false accusations made against him on the eve of his hearing by a former student who was also a former political appointee in the Obama administration.
Jennifer Sisk, who graduated from the University of Colorado Law School, wrote a letter the Senate Judiciary Committee, which alleged Gorsuch “told his class that employers, specifically law firms, should ask women seeking jobs about their plans for having children and implied that women manipulate companies starting in the interview stage to extract maternity benefits.”
Several women who worked as law clerks for Gorsuch immediately stepped forward to defend Gorsuch’s integrity while another student from that class disputed Sisk’s claims entirely.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Gorsuch about these allegations and whether they are true during the second day of testimony.
“No, Senator, and I would be delighted to actually clear this up,” Gorsuch told Durbin.
“I teach from a standard textbook that every professor — I don’t know if every professor, a number of professors use, an excellent textbook,” Gorsuch began. “There is one problem in the book, and I would be happy to share with you the book and the teacher’s manual, so you see for yourself Senator, which asks the question, and it’s directed to young women because, sadly, this is reality they sometimes face.”
Gorsuch then laid out the question from the textbook for Durbin: “Suppose an older partner woman at the firm that you’re interviewing at asks you if you intend to become pregnant soon. What are your choices as a young person? You can say yes, tell the truth, hypothetical, is that it’s true, and not get the job, and not be able to pay your debts. You can lie, maybe get the job, you can say no, that’s a choice too. It’s a hard choice. Or you can push back in some way, shape or form, and we talk about the pros and the cons in a Socratic dialogue so they can think through for themselves how they might answer that very difficult question.”
“Senator, I do ask for a show of hands, not about the question you asked, but about the following question, and I ask it of everybody. How many of you have had questions like this asked of you in the employment environment? An inappropriate question about your family planning. And I am shocked every year, Senator, how many young women raise their hand,” Gorsuch told Durbin.
Gorsuch talks about discrimination that his own mother experienced and told Durbin, “I am shocked it still happens every year that I get women, not men, raising their hand to that question. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify that, senator.”
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