The Gorsuch Nomination And The Rule Of Law

Angie Massey
March 20, 2017

Senate Democrats are well aware that their most politically vulnerable incumbents have faced an onslaught of pro-Gorsuch ads. Indeed, the nominee in the supposed hot seat has been trained for weeks to talk a lot while revealing very little, literally running out the clock allotted for each senator's questions while executing what's been called the (Ruth Bader) Ginsburg "pincer movement": refusing to analyze hypothetical cases because those issues might come before the court and then declining to discuss broader doctrinal issues because judges should only deal in specifics.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, will preside over the hearing for Judge Gorsuch Monday. Jon Tester and Heidi Heitkamp, respectively, face reelection next year, more than 99.5 percent of all media money spent on the Supreme Court confirmation fight has gone toward supporting Gorsuch.

"We're gonna confirm him before the April recess", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., assured Politico reporters on March 9.

Nevertheless, Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland, a seemingly uncontroversial pick created to pressure Senate Republicans to cave.

More than 100 people attended the citizen's hearing for Gorsuch organized by Indivisible Charlottesville. The same critics conveniently fail to mention that in other cases he has heard big corporations have lost. In both cases, the complaint was that the BIA had changed the legal rules on the immigrants at issue and then applied those rule changes retroactively, implicating core fairness concerns, but no real issue of technical judgment or agency expertise.

The point is, cherry picking prevailing parties without any regard for the legal merits of a case is no way to rank a good judge.

Gorsuch is a "textualist", which means he considers only the language of the law being reviewed, and not whether the consequences are desirable or appealing. "We need you to do better".

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Gorsuch's supporters dispute such criticism and argue that the judge is exceptionally well-qualified by background and temperament, mild-mannered and down to earth, the author of lucid and well-reasoned opinions.

In a bid to place hurdles in the way of Gorsuch's expected confirmation by the Republican-controlled Senate, Democrats on the judiciary committee considering the nomination have said they will probe him on several fronts based mainly on his record as a federal appeals court judge and a Justice Department appointee under former President George W. Bush. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet when his confirmation hearing opens Monday.

Tiven wants Democrats to press Gorsuch for his views on watershed court victories by the LGBT community, like the 2003 Supreme Court ruling that struck down anti-sodomy laws in the United States.

Gorsuch's appointment really returns the court to the "status quo ante" - roughly the position it was in before Scalia's death - with one major difference: Scalia's successor does not share Scalia's expansive view of federal and executive power.

As he said at Trump's nomination announcement: "It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people's representatives".

Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network, thinks Gorsuch will likely get some support from Democrats. To the victors go the spoils, and the Republicans get to select their nominee. Conservative and GOP-related groups have outspent Democrats on TV by more than $3 million, according to Democrats and Republicans tracking the advertising figures. Rosen, of the National Constitution Center, who clerked on an appellate court with Gorsuch, said that while Scalia could be "acerbic", Gorsuch was "an incredibly nice guy, warm and friendly".

Other reports by GizPress

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