A former student of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s at the University of Colorado Law School claimed that he once argued women use maternity leave to take advantage of their employers.
The account came in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee published Sunday, one day ahead of the start of Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill.
The student, Jennifer Sisk, wrote that Gorsuch told students during a discussion about work-life balance in April 2016 that “‘many’ women use their companies for maternity benefits and then leave the company before the baby is born.”
“Judge Gorsuch’s comments implied that women intentionally manipulate companies and plan to disadvantage their companies starting from the first interview,” Sisk wrote in the letter. “Judge Gorsuch outlined how law firms, and companies in general, had to ask female interviewees about pregnancy plans in order to protect the company.”
Another student at the University of Colorado Law School disputed Sisk’s account in his own letter to the committee.
“Although Judge Gorsuch did discuss some of the topics mentioned in the letter, he did not do so in the manner described,” Will Hauptman wrote, according to NPR. “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.”