Kalpana Krishnamurthy is the Senior Policy Director at Forward Together. There, she develops and implements Forward Together’s policy shift and civic engagement strategies. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity.
As a South Asian daughter of immigrants and a mother, the Supreme Court has been setting the table for my personal experience since before my parents and my community even got to America. Nominee Neil Gorsuch is a threat for families like mine.
For most of this country’s history, people like my parents weren’t allowed to enter. Racial quotas minimized entry for people of color and maximized White European immigration. In the early 1920s, both Thind and Ozawa found that only “free white persons” could be naturalized citizens. None of the rest of us — Asian, Latinx, indigenous and Native people — could become voting US citizens protected under the Constitution. This only began to change after the height of the civil rights movement in 1965.
For most of this country’s history, interracial marriages like mine weren’t allowed. Forty-one states made interracial marriage a crime. When the Supreme Court heard the 1967 Loving case, 17 Southern states still had anti-miscegenation laws. Loving was an affirmation of love and a resounding rejection of White supremacy.
Daily, I rely on decisions made by the Supreme Court. For over a decade I relied on access to birth control because I wasn’t ready to have children. Had I needed it, I held abortion as a valued option. Today, my biracial sons go to integrated schools and may go to public universities where mixed-race identity can impact admission. We talk often about the rights and recognition that LGBTQ families like my son’s queer aunties have only recently won.
Whether upholding Japanese-American internment or striking down key parts of the Voting Rights Act or giving corporations free speech, when the Supreme Court gets it wrong, boy, do they get it wrong. Decisions about counting electoral votes or if Black people are citizens, which people can reproduce or what is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, have had a lasting impact on people of color, LGBTQ communities, immigrants, low-income people, and people with disabilities.
We have to get Supreme Court appointments right. Neil Gorsuch is the wrong guy for this job. In over ten years on the federal bench, Gorsuch has acted as a conservative ideologue, consistently ruling against civil rights, women’s rights, and workers’ rights. He has favored protesters blocking Planned Parenthood clinics and the right of employers to restrict birth control access. A staunch opponent of LGBTQ rights, he has promoted religious exemptions that help employers discriminate against the LGBTQ community. In his opinion, an officer firing a stun gun at an unarmed person’s head deserved immunity, not accountability for police misconduct. He has consistently ruled against students with disabilities accessing services.
Who’s for Gorsuch? Try the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation, and the Susan B. Anthony Foundation. If we judge a person by the friends he keeps , Gorsuch’s friends should give us pause. Meanwhile, every day I get another chance to add Forward Together’s name to letters opposing Gorsuch. From the National Abortion Federation to the National LGBTQ Task Force to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights — all of them oppose Gorsuch’s nomination.
Remember President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland? Republican Senators didn’t have the common courtesy to meet the man, hold a hearing, or hold a vote on his nomination. Let’s be clear, President Trump nominated Gorsuch after Republicans stole the nomination in order to push through an extremist agenda that hurts families.
If approved by the Senate, Gorsuch could sit on the Supreme Court for thirty years, tipping the scales to conservative and outdated values that hurt families like mine. And yours.
You can stop Neil Gorsuch. Dial 1–866–986–9020 to contact your US Senators. We’ll give you a script and automatically connect you — it’s easy! Most calls take just two minutes.
Join us in stopping Gorsuch.
Kalpana Krishnamurthy is the Policy Director at Forward Together. She’s not a lawyer, and has not been inside of a courtroom. She has protested outside the Supreme Court. A longer version of this article is available here.
Forward Together envisions a world where all people have the rights and resources to not just survive but thrive. We are building a vibrant community of social change-makers to make that vision a reality for each person, family and community. Forward Together works nationally with grassroots leaders to build relationships across lines of race, gender, and sexuality to transform culture and policy and catalyze social change.