Los Angeles, CA- Please attribute the following statement to MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz:
“Earlier this week, MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) issued a statement opposing the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court because his record shows a lack of understanding of or appreciation for the legal issues of greatest concern in the Latino community. The revelation that Gorsuch has refused to meet with Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, the first Latina to serve in the United States Senate, strongly reinforces our previous conclusion.
The refusal to meet with Senator Cortez Masto seems to demonstrate unwarranted hostility, extreme obtuseness, or acquiescence in a political strategy marked by disrespect for the Latino community. Published reports that Gorsuch also has refused to meet with Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a state with a significant Latino population, suggests an even more disturbing pattern of disrespect for women of color duly elected by voters in significant states.
Again, it matters little whether the refusals to meet represent Gorsuch’s own decision or his acceptance of the advice of handlers detailed by a president whose own troubling pattern of slandering members of the Latino community already raises questions about his nominees for high office. In either case, Gorsuch has reinforced the conclusion from his judicial record – that he is not fit to serve on the Supreme Court during decades in which the Latino community will be a growing and significant segment of our national community.
While we hope that mere oversight may explain Gorsuch’s refusal to meet with the two senators, the record to date suggests otherwise. Nonetheless, Gorsuch should be given the opportunity to rectify the situation, and the Nation deserves to understand the grounds for his refusal. MALDEF therefore calls upon Senate leadership to postpone a Judiciary Committee vote on Gorsuch’s nomination until he has an opportunity to meet with Senators Cortez Masto and Duckworth, or until he publicly declines to do so.”