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Gorsuch Said Women “Manipulate” Maternity Benefits

Shot of a pregnant businesswoman giving a presentation on a monitor to colleagues in an boardroom

March 20, 2017

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, told students in a course at the University of Colorado Law School last year that employers, specifically law firms, should ask women during the interview stage about their plans for having children, according to a letter written by former student Jennifer Sisk. Sisk, a 2016 graduate of the University of Colorado Law School, said in the letter that Gorsuch implied that women manipulate companies to extract maternity benefits. The National Employment Lawyers Association and the National Women’s Law center posted Sisk’s letter over the weekend, ahead of Gorsuch’s nomination hearings this week. The letter was sent on Friday to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Edit (March 24, 2017): Asked about the letter at his confirmation hearing March 22, Gorsuch vehemently denied the claims made in the letter. Gorsuch said he had asked in class for a show of hands to see if law firm applicants generally were being asked at job interviews about their plans to have a family. “I knew this stuff happened when my mom was a young practicing lawyer, graduating law school in the 1960s,” Gorsuch told Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) “I am shocked it still happens every year that I get women, not men, raising their hand to that question.”

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