It should surprise no one that the National Education Association does not want Judge Neil Gorsuch seated on the U.S. Supreme Court. He could very well be the fifth vote that puts an end to agency fees and creates a crisis for the union.
But the Gorsuch nomination offers a case study in how NEA tailors its external and internal messages differently. When Gorsuch was named, NEA sent out a press release that read, in part:
As educators, we have concerns about Judge Gorsuch’s record. He has ruled against students with disabilities who seek public education, and he has consistently sided with big business at the expense of working Americans.
We call on the Senate to diligently perform its duty to thoroughly vet the nominee to ensure the Supreme Court will protect all of us.
One week later, these talking points were distributed internally:
Much of it mirrors the language of the press release, but there are some additions. Judge Gorsuch has “embraced and promoted extreme views.” The Senate now “must demand answers” from him. And there is the final bullet: “NEA has grave concerns about Judge Gorsuch and will oppose his nomination unless those concerns are satisfactorily addressed.”
It’s safe to assume that nothing Judge Gorsuch says between now and his confirmation hearing will lead to NEA support, or even neutrality. But as with many issues of public importance, NEA walks a line between forcefully fighting for its agenda and feeding the public perception of it being the No to Everything Association.