Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court, took the opportunity Tuesday to clear up a former law student's claim that he'd implied women "intentionally manipulate companies" to receive maternity leave benefits, only to leave the company soon after the child is born. During the second day of his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, Gorsuch explained that the question the student referred to in her letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was pulled from a "standard" legal textbook.
"One of the chapters in the book confronts lawyers with some harsh realities that they're about to face when they enter the practice of law," said Gorsuch, who has taught a class on ethics and professionalism for several years at the University of Colorado. He explained one of the problems presented in the chapter is a question "directed at young women" about maternity leave.
"Suppose an older partner woman at the firm that you're interviewing at asks you if you intend to become pregnant soon? What are your choices as a young person?" Gorsuch said. "You can say yes, tell the truth — a hypothetical is that it's true — and not get the job and not be able to pay your debts. You can lie — maybe get the job — and say no. That's a choice too. It's a hard choice. Or you can push back in some way, shape, or form."
Gorsuch said students then engaged in a Socratic discussion, weighing the pros and cons of each response to this "very difficult question." Hear Gorsuch's full explanation below. Becca Stanek