Newly appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s hand-selected, was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He will now sit on the highest court in the land for the remainder of the foreseeable future, preserving the conservative majority on the Supreme Court, which was briefly at stake following the death of former Justice Antonin Scalia during the Obama administration.

The merits of the nearly year-long Republican blockade of Merrick Gardland’s nomination to the court is now a moot point. In the case of Gorsuch’s confirmation, it is important to acknowledge the damage this blatant power grab did to the American political character.

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It is painfully evident a party must now have control of both the Senate and the presidency to successfully confirm a Supreme Court pick. By making the judicial branch — an institution that is meant to be free from political leaning, passion and bias — a victim of blatant partisanship, the Republicans threaten the very heart of the court itself.

While many Democrats are discouraged by Gorsuch’s confirmation, it is not a reason to lay down and allow the court the reverse the progress our country has made, or stifle progress yet to come.

Democrats must work hard to gain back majorities in the House and Senate in 2018 and 2020. We must work hard to ensure the conservative agenda, which prioritizes corporations and millionaires over families and students, never reaches the Supreme Court. We must ensure this kind of destructive legislation never even makes it past a floor vote.

With the confirmation of Gorsuch, the Supreme Court will be more anti-choice and pro-corporation. Gorsuch has repeatedly sided with big companies over their employees. Not only does he side with corporations like Hobby Lobby and dark money groups that flooded campaign coffers after the Citizens United decision, Gorsuch also has a “consistently narrow view” of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

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Gorsuch overturned a lower court decision and ruled against a child with disabilities who had regressed socially and academically when enrolling in a new school district that did not meet his needs. Gorsuch absolved the school district of all responsibility in the situation.

With Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos at the helm of our nation’s education system, it is now more important than ever to have a court committed to protecting the right to education for all children, and ensure students have their individual needs met by their school to have an equal chance at success. It is clear that DeVos has no allegiance to the Obama-era education regulations which fought for these principles, and it is painfully obvious that with Gorsuch as a justice, the Supreme Court is much less likely to provide a strong opposition to the education secretary.

Now more than ever, Democrats must fight for our values of equality and opportunity. Vote, get involved in local campaigns, talk to your legislators and fight for the change that our country so desperately needs; a change our president clearly will not give us.

Eliana Locke ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science. She is the press secretary for UW College Democrats. 

Read the counterpoint from UW College Republicans here.