The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on federal law and workplace discrimination – one of the biggest LGBT cases in history – could come down to the vote of Justice Neil Gorsuch, observers say.
The high court heard arguments Tuesday in three cases that will determine whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin, also bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Lower courts have split on the issue.
On Tuesday, the court’s four liberal justices – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer – appeared unified in voting for the LGBT workers in the cases.
But the court’s five conservative justices may be splintered. Court observers said Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Trump, seemed torn.
Amy Howe, at ScotusBlog.com, wrote that the “outcome” could hinge on Gorsuch, who “at times appeared sympathetic to the plaintiffs’ argument but also expressed concern about the ‘massive social upheaval’ that he believed would follow from a ruling for them.” At one point he called it a “close” call.
Greg Stohr of Bloomberg pointed out that Gorsuch said when a person is fired because of sexual orientation, that person’s sex is at least a “contributing cause.”
Mark Joseph Stern, who covers the…
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