A former female student of US Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee this past weekend accusing the judge of “encouraging firms to engage in sexist and possibly illegal hiring practices.”
University of Colorado Law School graduate Jennifer Sisk alleges Gorsuch told his students that “‘many’ women manipulate their employer’s maternity benefits after giving birth,” according to a report in The Daily Signal.
Sisk worked for the Obama Interior Department and for Colorado Senator Mark Udall — a fact she did not disclose in the letter.
She writes that in a conversation with students, Gorsuch “implied that women intentionally manipulate companies and plan to disadvantage their companies starting from the first interview.”
She wanted the Judiciary Committee to be aware of this incident because the nominee’s comments “were concerning” and needed to be “explored further during his confirmation hearings.”
Yesterday, however, eleven former Gorsuch law clerks — all female — sent their own letter to Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein defending the judge.
“We feel compelled … to convey our unanimous experience that Judge Gorsuch has treated us—as he has all his law clerks—with abiding respect during our clerkship years and beyond,” their letter stated.
Janie Nitze, who worked for the Justice Department under President Barack Obama and also clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, is one of [the eleven].
In a statement to The Daily Signal, she said:
I served as a clerk for Judge Neil M. Gorsuch for a year, working day in and day out with him in chambers. Not for one second did I ever feel that he treated me with anything other than the utmost respect—as he did all law clerks. And he has continued to be an invaluable mentor to me over the years, playing a critical role in each of my career advances.
As I noted in an interview weeks before the current allegations surfaced, the judge is usually the first person I go to for career advice. And the first words he has for me when I do are: ‘What can I do to help you?’
The suggestion that he ‘discounts the worth of working females’ is patently absurd, and refuted entirely by my decade long experience with him and by the experiences of all of his former female law clerks, who collectively sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on this topic.
Will Hauptman, who was in the same class as Sisk, says she is “misrepresenting” what had transpired in the class:
“The judge was very matter-of-fact in that we would face difficult decisions; he himself recalled working late nights when he had a young child with whom he wished to share more time.
“The seriousness with which the judge asked us to consider these realities reflected his desire to make us aware of them, not any animus against a career or group.”