Democracy Now! Blasts Gorsuch Over Dissent in Trucker Ruling
By Julia A. Seymour
Democracy Now! has done anything it could to attack the new administration and recently that included mudslinging against Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
On March 24, the homepage of the far-left website and TV program featured at least seven anti-Gorsuch stories or columns. Although those attacks weren’t environmental in nature, many left wing groups fear Gorsuch will jeopardize their eco-agenda. InsideClimate News previously warned that environmentalists and liberal groups were “worried” about the nominee since the Supreme Court will consider former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulations.
Democracy Now! often covers environmental issues from the left, including many stories supporting Dakota Access Pipeline protesters. Show host Amy Goodman was even threatened with arrest by North Dakota authorities over her coverage of some of those protests. So it is reasonable to think that could be part of the motivation behind extensive anti-Gorsuch coverage from Democracy Now!
One column by Democracy Now! host and executive producer Amy Goodman and her husband Denis Moynihan castigated the judge for “a cold, solitary vote against a worker who was fighting for his life” because of a dissenting opinion he wrote years ago.
“The magnitude of a Supreme Court nomination should not be underestimated; it comes with a lifetime appointment to the bench, with far-reaching, sometimes life-or-death implications. No one understands that better than Alphonse Maddin,” they wrote.
Truck driver Alphonse Maddin sued for wrongful termination after leaving his trailer to try to save himself from freezing to death after a brake failure forced him to wait for repairs, and the truck’s heater quit working. He won, and the appeal by TransAm Trucking came before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals where Gorsuch was a federal judge where Maddin ultimately won again — in spite of Gorsuch’s dissent.
The victory was not emphasized by Democracy Now! The one-sided way Goodman and Moynihan told the story strove to made Gorsuch look like a heartless judge who would side with a company no matter what. To do that they cited Maddin’s attorney who claimed Gorsuch was “hostile,” a senior fellow from the left-wing group People for the American Way, and Democratic Sen. Al Franken, Minn., all blasting Gorsuch.
In its quest to damage the Trump administration and attack his nominee, the story also conveniently ignored the judge’s actual dissenting opinion and the explanation he gave during the confirmation hearings.
Business Insider provided some of the defense and explanation Democracy Now! ignored. In his dissent Gorsuch wrote, “Our only task is to decide whether the decision was an illegal one.”
“There’s simply no law anyone has pointed us to giving employees the right to operate their vehicles in ways their employers forbid,” he added. In front of Congress for his SCOTUS confirmation hearings, he said he had sympathy for the trucker.
“[M]y heart goes out to him,” he said, according to Business Insider.
On March 21, NBC News reported that Gorsuch explained his dissent, “My job is to apply the law that you write. The law as written said he would be protected if he refused to operate. By any plain understanding, he operated the vehicle.”
He also said, “I said it was an unkind decision, I said it might have been a wrong decision, a bad decision, but my job isn’t to write the law, senator, it’s to apply the law. If congress passes a law saying the trucker in those circumstances gets to choose how to operate his vehicle, I’ll be the first in line to enforce it.”
When Gorsuch was nominated to the federal circuit court, he was praised by Democrats and Republicans alike and there is no evidence of dissent against his confirmation vote, Politifact admitted.
Goodman herself made headlines in 2016 when she was charged after trespassing while covering Dakota Access pipeline protests. She bragged about the charges on air and Democracy Now! claimed attempts to charge her were a violation of First Amendment rights. Charges were eventually dropped.
Three major left-wing foundations gave to Democracy Now! between 2012 and 2015: Park Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Wallace Global Fund.