The Rebellious Lawyering Conference (RebLaw) began yesterday at Yale Law School, bringing together law students, lawyers, and community organizers to discuss a plethora of social justice issues. The author attended two of the sessions, which were amazing and yielded interesting legal perspectives and strategies worth elaborating on (and of course there were many simultaneous sessions which you can check out here). And tomorrow I’ll give a similar summary of the sessions I attend today.
The moment my colleagues and I have been dreading has finally arrived. Tonight, President Trump announced the appointment of Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to fill the seat of the Supreme Court opened by the death of Justice Scalia. But Judge Gorsuch must still be confirmed by the Senate to become Justice Gorsuch, and per Supreme Court appointment rules the Democrats could block his appointment by filibuster. But this post is not about whether the Republicans “deserve it” after the treatment of Judge Garland or some such punditry: instead I want to focus on what the legal consequences of a Justice Gorsuch would be as distilled from court dynamics and his record. After all, at 49 years old, Judge Gorsuch has the potential to be on the Court for decades upon decades.
UPDATE: Judge Persky has come under increasing fire, especially from anti-racism activists, for giving a 3 year sentence to Salvadoran immigrant man who committed a similar crime as Brock Turner. #RecallPersky takes off in response.
This post is inspired by the recent petition by Deputy Public Defender Sajid A. Khan and signed by an impressive roster of other public defenders. The petition seeks to defend Judge Aaron Persky, who handed down the six month county jail sentence to Brock Turner for three sexual assault offenses. Because judges are given wide discretion in sentencing, many feminists have gone after Judge Persky for what they see as patriarchal leniency. Others have noted the treatment of Brock Turner differs from what happens to many Black men charged with similar crimes, a dark reminder that the legacy of stereotyping Black men as sexually dangerous remains.