Chanting “Our bodies. Our Lives. Our families. We decide,” and “Voting is a basic right, not just for the rich and white,” demonstrators gathered in West Market Square in Bangor on Thursday night to oppose President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Gorsuch’s name has been put forward after Republicans in the Senate engaged in an unprecedented, nearly year-long blockade of President Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, to fill the seat left vacant following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
“In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that my relationships are not inferior. That my love is not second class. That if we are truly equal, our love must also be equal,” said Meagan Cloutier of Old Town. “We need a Supreme Court nominee that moves the rights and dignity of all people forward, not one that clings to the bigotry of the past.”
In addition to expressing concerns about civil rights for LGBT Americans, speakers at the rally organized by the Maine People’s Alliance faulted Gorsuch for his positions on women’s reproductive freedom, voting rights for minorities, collective bargaining rights for unions and corporate influence on elections.
“A few years ago, in a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court gutted the voting rights act, opening the floodgates for hundreds of laws making it harder for African Americans, young people, and poor people to vote,” said Zach Arey of Brewer. “This supreme court justice vacancy will determine whether or not millions of people of color will be turned away from the voting booths in the next presidential election.”
Gorsuch will face a confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate. Both of Maine’s Senators, Susan Collins and Angus King, have said they will reserve final judgement on the choice until after that body has held its normal course of hearings.
“The late Justice Scalia cast the deciding vote that has given millionaires and billionaires unprecedented power to influence American elections. We need a Supreme Court that is not in the hands of billionaires and special interests. We need a supreme court that ensures that our democracy treats all people as truly equal,” said Dick Bissell of Bangor.
Photos via Jeff Kirlin.