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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Editorials and Opinion


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Printed Letter: Neil Gorsuch clearly lacks sense of justice (Daily Sentinel [CO], 04/21/17)
Rudolph J. Textor: The most striking disqualifying element of Neil M. Gorsuch’s character is that he has no sense of, and no interest in, justice. If he did, he would have publicly stated that Merrick B. Garland was the legitimate candidate for the recent Supreme Court justice vacancy. Additionally, he would have publicly repudiated the past 13 months of vicious Republican Party machinations by which his illegitimate nomination and installation were engineered.

[Editorial] Neil Gorsuch and the State’s Power to Kill (New York Times, 04/21/17)
"In short, the first significant decision by Justice Gorsuch, who was sworn in to office less than two weeks ago, was the most consequential any justice can make — to approve a man’s killing by the state. That man, like so many others condemned to die around the country, was a walking catalog of reasons the American death penalty is a travesty. Evidence that Mr. Lee was intellectually disabled and suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome was never introduced into court, mainly because he had egregiously bad representation.... That 4-to-4 split effectively gave the deciding vote over Mr. Lee’s life to Justice Gorsuch, sitting in a seat that by all rights should be occupied not by him but by President Barack Obama’s doomed nominee, Merrick Garland. During his confirmation hearings, Justice Gorsuch talked a lot about his respect for the rule of law, and the importance of sticking to the plain text of the Constitution and of statutes. But he didn’t have to rewrite the Eighth Amendment to see, as Justice Breyer did, that Mr. Lee’s case exemplified “how the arbitrary nature of the death penalty system, as presently administered, runs contrary to the very purpose of a ‘rule of law.’ ” Neil Gorsuch held the power of life and death in his hands Thursday night. His choice led to Ledell Lee’s execution, and gave the nation an early, and troubling, look into the mind-set of the high court’s newest member.

Clive McFarlane: Will of the people a relative concept? (Telegram & Gazette [MA], 04/21/17)
"That obstructionism culminated in these lawmakers denying Mr. Obama his constitutional obligation to appoint Judge Merrick Garland of the Washington D.C. Circuit to the U.S. Supreme Court following the untimely death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Republicans claimed that their 14-month strategy to block Judge Garland’s nomination was to let the will of the people speak during the 2016 elections. Of course, a combined 135.4 million people voted to elect Mr. Obama in 2008 (69.5 million) and to re-elect him in 2012 (65.9 million). Donald Trump captured the White House with fewer than 63 million of the popular vote in 2016 (some two million fewer than his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton), but according to the logic of the Republicans, Mr. Trump’s total is a better measure of the people’s will."

McConnell further divided Senate (Missoulian [MT], 04/20/17)
Chuck Aker, Letter to the Editor: I am disappointed in U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell! ... McConnell started this battle when he would not allow the Senate to reject or confirm President Obama’s candidate for the Supreme Court. McConnell was more interested in further dividing the Senate, rather than allowing senators to work as statesmen/women. McConnell is not a statesman and his action invoking the nuclear option on April 6 has further created a Senate divided. McConnell has misused his Senate majority power and needs to be replaced.

Letter: Never forget the name Merrick Garland (Santa Cruz Sentinel [CA], 04/19/17)
Ronald T. Beebe: Now we have a Thief Justice, sitting in the stolen Supreme Court seat that should rightly have gone to Merrick Garland. Let us never forget his name, Merrick Garland. As for the new guy, don’t mention his name at all. For the rest of his life always refer to him as the Thief Justice and everyone will know exactly who you are talking about.

Justice Gorsuch and the Failure of the Senate (American Constitution Society Blog, 04/18/17)
Jim Brosnahan, Guest Post: Nothing in what now-Justice Gorsuch testified to or what the ten million dollars in TV ads supporting him said gave the slightest assurance he will uphold the Constitution against this president.... what should be the standards for Supreme Court nominees?... First, being in the habit of applying reasonable doubt about the proper outcome of any matter as the case is first addressed....Second, a talent and love for both induction and deduction. ... Thirdly, an empathetic sense of the effect of a ruling on persons negatively impacted by it. ... Justice Gorsuch struck out on all three of my criteria.

Letter on nuclear option: How it happened (Wichita Eagle [KS] , 04/18/17)
Wayne Powers: After five years of obstruction, including 79 of Obama’s appointments having been blocked, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., changed the rules of the Senate to require 51 votes instead of 60 for judges to be confirmed, not including Supreme Court justices. Then Justice Antonin Scalia died, ...Immediately McConnell said there was not going to be an Obama Supreme Court nominee brought to the floor for a vote. Reason: He was in the last year of his presidency. Nowhere in the Constitution is this mentioned. Obama nominates Merrick Garland, a judge who had been confirmed by a large, bipartisan margin ... And then President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch. Democrats, possibly stinging from the treatment given by the Republicans to Obama’s nominee, did not get on board. So on April 6, McConnell launched the bomb that brought down the “greatest deliberative body in the world.”

Warren had good reason to filibuster (Lowell Sun [MA], 04/17/17)
Letter to the editor, William Metcalf: The Democrats first exercised the "nuclear option" because the GOP refused to even consider President Obama's judicial nominees for the U.S. appellate courts. The GOP exercised the "nuclear option" because, while Democrats considered President Trump's Supreme Court nominee they refused to vote in the affirmative for him. The Democrats were willing to vote (if only to reject), while the Republicans were unwilling to hold a vote they couldn't win. The adult thing to do would've been to present an acceptable nominee or practice bipartisan politics as it's been practiced for centuries.

Gorsuch already trying to blow up the Supreme Court (Daily Kos, 04/17/17)
Joan McCarter: If you watched any of the hearings then you won't be surprised to learn that Gorsuch is as smug, arrogant, and entitled as an associate justice as he was as a nominee. His first case, fittingly, is about worker rights and how much you can screw them and he is just so into it.... "His questions drew pushback from Justice Elena Kagan, who said that position would mark a "revolution," though in a technical area of law."

Gorsuch is the face of the new not-normal (Philadelphia Tribune [PA], 04/17/17)
Rachel Sklar: when things are not normal, you cannot behave as though they are. That is why Senate Democrats were right to filibuster the nomination and reject it

Susan Collins: The Senate moderate who wasn’t (Seacoastonline [Southern ME & NH], 04/16/17)
Column By Douglas Rooks: She saw it differently for Gorsuch; a single nomination was worth abandoning Senate rules. She cited as precedent the 2013 decision by Democrats to end the filibuster for presidential nominees except the Supreme Court, though the situations weren’t comparable. In 2013, Senate Republicans, stunned by Obama’s re-election, filibustered all of his nominees for important posts. ... It’s hard to see what else Democratic Leader Harry Reid could have done, given this wholesale rejectionism. ... She said Judge Gorsuch was mainstream, yet his decisions reflexively favor corporations over employees, even in the case of the trucker fired for driving his big rig out of a snowstorm because he feared freezing, or the Hobby Lobby case, where one corporate CEO’s sensibilities overrode the health care needs of 32,000 employees.

The Public Pulse: GOP has politicized the Supreme Court (Omaha World-Herald [NE] , 04/16/17)
Marylyn Felion: I do not recall any time when Democrats stonewalled a Republican nominee until the Republican president was out of office, thereby stealing a Supreme Court seat. What was done to Merrick Garland was unprecedented and unfair. It may signal the end of securing politically nonpartisan Supreme Court justices. Very sad.

Letter: We have had quite enough of Hatch (Salt Lake Tribune [UT], 04/16/17)
Ryan Hinkins: Hatch's efforts in concert with his party in denying a vote to Judge Merrick Garland's Supreme Court nomination was nothing short of denying the will of the people. President Barack Obama was elected for a four-year term and was expected to serve all of it, which he did. That included nominating Supreme Court judges.

Letter to the editor: Rethink Collins’ suitability as senator after her support for Gorsuch (Portland Press Herald [ME] , 04/15/17)
Diane Herrle: I was saddened to see Susan Collins choose power and partisan politics over the people of Maine. She voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. This is a judge who ruled to deny a decent education to disabled children. Luckily, his decision was recently struck down by the existing Supreme Court. He has a history of deciding judgments for corporations instead of individuals. This very defective judge will now sit on the court forever because of her choice.

Shame on Democrats? No, shame on McConnell. (Washington Post, 04/15/17)
Larry Sternbane, Letter to the Editor: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in blaming Democrats for the “direct attack on the traditions of the Senate” that led his conference to change Senate rules, conveniently left out the fact that the Senate, under his control, abdicated its constitutional responsibility to advise and consent with regard to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Under Mr. McConnell’s watch, Mr. Garland did not even get the courtesy of a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, much less an up-or-down vote on the floor of the Senate.... This despicable act, to which the Senate Republican Conference acquiesced, was a remarkable showing of disrespect for a sitting president and for Mr. Garland, a well-qualified nominee.

Letter to the editor: King’s vote against Gorsuch was well-reasoned (Portland Press Herald [ME] , 04/15/17)
Bruce Bartrug: Sen. King’s public forum concerning the nomination of Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, … Over 600 people attended, … Of the 77 persons who spoke at the forum, only 13 supported Gorsuch. In an article in the Press Herald on April 4, Sen. King clearly indicated his reasons for deciding not to vote for Gorsuch. Those reasons included his research into Gorsuch’s judgments, as well as the way Gorsuch responded to questions at his nomination hearing.

Letter to the Editor by Vincent Miragliotta (Washington Post, 04/15/17)
"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s April 9 op-ed, pleading for the Democrats to cooperate, should be snipped from print copies and tacked to the walls of any political office where interns are to be taught how cleverly crafted hypocrisy, in the presence of enough voter ignorance, can justify otherwise reprehensible behavior.... leave out how you decided that the Senate majority could, nearly a year from an election, dodge its collective responsibility to confirm your opponent’s Supreme Court nominee, for no reason other than “a president of a different party had nominated him.”"

Letter to the Editor by Benjamin Hollander (Washington Post, 04/15/17)
"Surely there can be no other reason than that it was then-President Barack Obama making the nomination for Mr. McConnell himself to deny Mr. Garland those same basic considerations he now feels are so important, given Mr. Garland’s long history of bipartisan support in the Senate. Although Mr. McConnell would like to pretend that Mr. Gorsuch’s nomination happened in a vacuum, we must not forget Mr. McConnell’s reprehensible conduct in 2016, when he was presented with a true consensus candidate."

Letter to the Editor by Marijane Hynes (Washington Post, 04/15/17)
"Sen. Mitch McConnell’s nauseating op-ed about Democrats needing to work with the Republicans came from the man who said in 2010 that his top priority in government was making Barack Obama a one-term president. ... McConnell will go down in history as one of the major stonewallers of government of our time."

Letter to the Editor by Myron Beckenstein (Washington Post, 04/15/17)
"Even if the Democrats planned to filibuster the nomination, it did not follow that the “nuclear option” had to be invoked. That was discretionary. In his op-ed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not mention Judge Merrick Garland, even though Mr. McConnell again stretched the limits of what could be done just to deny Mr. Garland a seat on the Supreme Court. It isn’t fairness Mr. McConnell is seeking; it is partisan supremacy no matter the cost to the nation."

Letter to the Editor by Margaret McKelvey (Washington Post, 04/15/17)
"The Senate majority leader’s op-ed was stunning in its hypocrisy, given his treatment of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Even scarier: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) either is blind to his own political behavior and believes what he wrote, or he knows full well that he was being hypocritical but thinks the American people are stupid enough to be taken in."

Jeff Flake Probably Regrets Hosting This Town Hall: He took serious heat for healthcare and boxing out Merrick Garland. (Esquire, 04/14/17)
Jack Holmes: Flake also touched on the issue of Supreme Court nominations. How'd that go? "What happened to Merrick Garland's vote?!" Jeff Flake's constituents overwhelm him w/ boos over Gorsuch talk —via @Morning_Joe — Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 14, 2017 While the tactic Republicans used to deny Merrick Garland a confirmation vote for nearly a year might not have been a filibuster, the effect was the same—and it was unprecedented. Flake's smile while trotting out this excuse betrays the fact that he knows this as well as anyone. The cynicism that now dominates Beltway politics—particularly among Mitch McConnell and his caucus—is really breathtaking.

Letter attacking Kaine, Warner the height of hypocrisy (News Virginian [Waynesboro, VA], 04/14/17)
William D. Trent, Letter to the Editor: Republicans in the Senate “failed their mission” by refusing to even hold hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, last year. In fact, they didn’t just fail their mission to the citizens they represent. They failed their mission — failed their solemn oath, even — to do the job mandated of senators by the U.S. Constitution.

MINI: This is why Democrats opposed Gorsuch (Sioux City Journal [IA], 04/14/17)
Thomas E. Hudek, Letter to the Editor: Democrats opposed Mr. Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court because: 1) It was a stolen seat. Merrick Garland should at least have had an up-or-down vote. 2) Gorsuch has sided with corporations over working-class people 100 percent of the time.

Opinion How Mitch McConnell stole a Supreme Court seat (Los Angeles Times, 04/14/17)
Dave Hoen, Letter to the Editor: Isn’t it ironic that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) single handedly decided who should serve on the Supreme Court by blocking Merrick Garland from being considered after he was nominated in 2016 by President Obama and then invoking the nuclear option to confirm Neil Gorsuch, all in an effort to replace the strict constructionist Antonin Scalia with another strict constructionist, Gorsuch?

Letter: Nothing flawless about Gorsuch process (Quad City Times [IL,IA] , 04/14/17)
Sue Griswold: millions of us will recall that this nomination was stolen from our last president and given to the present White House occupant, while that occupant and his staff remain under FBI investigation for contacts with Russia. Yes, Sen. Grassley looks to have some of the flawless skills of a consigliere to a major crime family.

Why Opposing Trump Isn't Like the GOP Obstructing Obama: The political press won't stop gaslighting anti-Trump Democrats and progressives (Rolling Stone, 04/14/17)
Joshua Holland: In the 230-year period between the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and Barack Obama's election, opposition parties blocked a grand total of 68 presidential nominees. In the three years and 10 months between Obama's inauguration and then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move to eliminate the filibuster for lower court nominees, Republicans had blocked 79 of them – that's 54 percent of the historic total in just under four years. ... Mitch McConnell, moved to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees after the Democrats filibustered Donald Trump's pick, Neil Gorsuch, who had come off as aloof and unresponsive during his confirmation hearings and offered no reason for refusing to meet with two (women) Democratic senators. ... Obama's nominee for the seat, Merrick Garland, is the only candidate in the history of the United States to be denied a hearing by the opposition. ... Democrats and progressives are outraged that Republicans effectively stole a seat that might have shifted the Court's ideological balance to the left for the first time since 1971. But the both-sides-do-it reporting we've seen makes their fury seem illogical, a simple case of sour grapes.

Tester sided with 75 percent of Montanans on Gorsuch vote (Missoulian [MT], 04/13/17)
Evan Barrett: Tester believes that Gorsuch supports the massive intrusion of corporations into our election processes, a political disaster that has allowed almost unmeasurable corporate influence on campaigns and elections since the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision. That case made corporations “citizens” and declared their money “free speech.” Tester’s opposition to Gorsuch based on this was consistent with the position held by 75 percent of Montanans when they voted on these very questions on a state ballot issue in 2012.... Daines, however, in voting for Gorsuch, chose to ignore that 75 percent, ignore their directives about this important issue, and sided with the corporate elite over the people of Montana.

Will Justice Gorsuch help reverse Citizens United ruling? (Des Moines Register [IA], 04/13/17)
Dale Berry, Letter to the Editor: an article ... stated, “Gorsuch has developed a reputation as a strict ‘textualist’ and ‘originalist.’” The article goes on to define such person as “someone who reads statutes and the Constitution literally and seeks to interpret them through the eyes of their authors.” That being said, I would now expect Justice Gorsuch to move to reverse the Citizens United decision. Does anyone truly believe that our founding fathers had money in mind when they were guaranteeing our freedom of speech?

Three myths about the Gorsuch Supreme Court confirmation fight: Erwin Chemerinsky (Los Angeles Daily News [CA], 04/13/17)
"Myth 1: Confirmation fights began with the defeat of the nomination of Robert Bork for the Supreme Court. This is simply false. Confirmation fights began during George Washington’s presidency. ... Myth 2: Confirmation fights unduly politicize the Supreme Court. The key democratic check on the court, an unelected body whose members have life tenure, is the nomination and confirmation process.... Myth 3: The elimination of the filibuster will lead to the appointment of more extreme Supreme Court justices.... The reality is that filibusters never have mattered with regard to Supreme Court nominations.