Editorials and Opinion
Never Forget Merrick Garland: Why Democrats have to go through with a filibuster of Neil Gorsuch. (Slate.com, 04/04/17)
Jim Newell: When a reporter asked McCain, who was about to step into a Senate elevator, if this was the beginning of the end of the institution as we know it, he said, flatly, “Yes.” ... Not all Republicans are comfortable saying to reporters that yes, they will vote to change the rules to get Gorsuch through. ... This was a stolen seat, and Neil Gorsuch is no friend to those who possess a liberal view of government.
Change the nominee (The Hill, 04/04/17)
Mark Mellman; Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) could not be more right: “When a nominee doesn’t get 60 votes, you shouldn’t change the rules, you should change the nominee,” he said.... A supermajority of the electorate clearly backs a supermajority to confirm a Supreme Court nomination.
Letter: No trust for Trump, and by extension, Gorsuch (Coloradoan, 04/04/17)
Jack Shepard: After Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia passed away on Feb. 13, 2016, Republicans refused to consider President Obama’s choice to succeed him, even though Obama had nearly a year left in his presidency. There was no question of President Obama’s legitimacy, yet Republicans denied him his constitutional duty to pick a successor. They even threatened to boycott any of Hillary Clinton’s nominees, should she have won in November.
Now we have a president whose legitimacy is being questioned by people of all stripes, whose tenure is tenuous at best.... Would a Justice Gorsuch always be known as the man the Russians placed on the court?... The country would be better served by postponing this nomination until confidence is restored in the president
On Gorsuch, Senate Should Debate, Deliberate (Jost on Justice: Law & Justice Blog, 04/04/17)
Kenneth Jost: The Senate should not vote this week on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch. ,,, the reason for slowing down the vote is that Senate Republicans owe it to the American people to allow full debate and deliberation on Gorsuch's nomination before sending him to the Supreme Court for what is likely to be 25 years or longer....They will be getting
* A justice who is a threat to reproductive rights, LGBT rights, and workers' and consumers' rights.
* A justice who is a threat to clean air and clean water regulations.
*A justice who would invite a larger role for money in politics by narrowing the power of Congress or state legislatures to limit campaign contributions.
* A justice who could be a pivotal vote for expanding presidential power at a time when the president is a constitutional time-bomb waiting to go off.
* A justice with no record of promoting racial justice or protecting voting rights at a time when those issues tarnish America's claims to liberty and justice for all.
GOP Gorsuch strategy unacceptable (Morning Call [PA], 04/04/17)
Bruse J. Ogilvie, Letter to the Editor: Previously, not only was Merrick Garland qualified for the job and nominated by President Obama, but he also never received a hearing by the Senate. Now, Sen. Toomey and his reckless GOP members are tube feeding Americans an idle threat of "changing the rules" to confirm Gorsuch.
How to End the Politicization of the Courts (New York Times, 04/04/17)
David Leonhardt, Op-Ed Columnist: Republicans have taken a much more aggressive, politicized approach to the courts than Democrats. The evidence:
Republicans have been bolder about blocking Democratic nominees than vice versa.... The gap between the parties would be even larger if Democrats hadn’t eliminated the filibuster on lower-court nominees in 2013, allowing Barack Obama finally to fill more judgeships. Even so, Trump has inherited a huge number of vacancies.... Republican nominees have been less centrist than Democratic nominees.... The Republicans’ strategy has been straightforward. They have tried to deny Democratic presidents a chunk of judgeships, hoping the nominations will roll over.... The strategy reached its apex last year, when the Senate blocked Obama from filling a Supreme Court vacancy, even with the highly qualified, and notably moderate, Garland. It was unprecedented. Republicans set out to flip a seat and succeeded. Now the Senate is preparing to confirm Gorsuch, likely to be another historically conservative justice.... Democrats are right to force McConnell to be the one who takes the partisan step of eliminating the Supreme Court filibuster. Likewise, Democrats should be aggressive in blocking Trump nominees to lower courts.... The country won’t return to a less politicized judiciary until both parties have reason to want it.
Planned Parenthood exec: Gorsuch is a poor choice: Be Fearless (Colorado Springs Independent, 04/04/17)
Sarah Taylor-Nanista: Our opposition is on behalf of our clients – as a health care provider to tens of thousands, we believe that Judge Gorsuch has taken active stands that give corporations religious rights over individual’s access to birth control (Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius and Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell). He has refused to answer crucial constitutional questions or elaborate on his judicial philosophy during his hearing in the Senate.
Commentary: Maine Sen. Angus King must oppose Gorsuch confirmation to Supreme Court: Judge Neil Gorsuch comes from the corporate world and has long demonstrated a pro-corporate bias.. (Portland Press Herald [ME] , 04/04/17)
ROBERT A.G. MONKS: three out of four voters (77 percent) want the Senate to reject any Supreme Court nominee who will help the wealthy and privileged wield more power in our elections. Every indication is that President Trump’s nominee for the nation’s highest court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, will do just that. Gorsuch comes from the corporate world and has shown a consistent pro-corporate bias cloaked in a cold judicial calculus that would make cost-benefit ratios the language of the land, with little place left for human concerns.
It’s no wonder then that dark money groups, financed by secretive billionaires, have spent $17 million to blockade Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination and ram through Gorsuch – a man pre-selected by the right-wing, billionaire-backed Federalist Society.... I’m glad King is taking on this important issue through legislation, but if he wants to act right now to make sure our elections are transparent and accountable, his best opportunity is to oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court and support a 60-vote standard for his approval. Both Gorsuch’s record on money in politics and his answers during his confirmation hearing reveal a troubling disregard for common-sense campaign finance laws, especially in the area of transparency in political spending.
Condemnations of the Nuclear Option, Even in Red States (People For blog, 04/04/17)
Paul Gordon: As Mitch McConnell decides whether to try to exercise the nuclear option, influential newspapers across the country—even in the reddest of red states—are urging Senate Republicans not to take that path. This includes newspapers that have endorsed Gorsuch but would rather see him replaced as the nominee than be confirmed through a partisan change in Senate rules.... As all these editorial boards say, exercising the nuclear option would do immense damage to the nation.
Benson: Take the Gorsuch bull by the horns (Arizona Republic, 04/04/17)
Steve Benson, Arizona Republic cartoon: He may act coy, but Democrats see the real Neil Gorsuch: ... Republicans have threatened to go nuclear to put their raging bull into the Supreme Court's china shop.
Filibuster Gorsuch, for children’s sake (Sacramento Bee [CA] , 04/04/17)
Linda Ellis, Letter to the Editor: Past articles and interviews showed him to be quite opinionated about corporate proceedings and the Constitution; however, in the congressional interviews he was evasive to the point that he did not relay a sense of nonpartisan honesty.
Maine Sens. Should Oppose Gorsuch (Times Record [ME], 04/04/17)
Lisa Wesel, Letter to the Editor: I am writing to strongly urge senators Collins and King to vote against the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. We need a Supreme Court justice who will defend the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves—students with disabilities... While Gorsuch was testifying at his own confirmation hearing, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned one of his most egregious rulings: that public schools need only provide disabled students with educational progress that is “barely more than de minimis,” meaning slightly more than none at all.
Letter to the editor: For many reasons, Judge Gorsuch deserves to be filibustered (Portland Press Herald [ME] , 04/04/17)
Toby Hollander, Esq. I write to support a filibuster of the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, both because a filibuster is appropriate and because, in my view, Judge Gorsuch is not qualified .... First, this nomination was “stolen” from the previous president by Sen. Mitch McConnell, who refused to even give Judge Merrick Garland a hearing or a vote.... Neil Gorsuch is also a judge who obviously lacks even an ounce of compassion. In the “frozen trucker” case, he justified the firing of a trucker who drove himself to safety in subzero (i.e., life-threatening) temperatures .... He did the same thing with disabled children, ignoring the intent of a statute that is designed to provide a reasonable education for children with disabilities.
Editorial: Toomey’s rule change proposal threatens bipartisanship (Pitt News [PA] , 04/04/17)
The Pitt News Editorial Board: If Congressional Republicans thought they had gained the power to disregard the rules with their victories in last November’s elections, they couldn’t have been more wrong.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., just signed onto a rules change to the Supreme Court nomination process that ... will likely harm both parties. The Pennsylvania senator announced last week at a press conference that he would support a move to modify the upper Congressional chamber’s rules in order to confirm Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court .... The GOP notably refused to consider Merrick Garland last year for Scalia’s seat. However, Senate Republicans were using this tactic of ignoring nominees long before they won control of the chamber. The GOP’s efforts to block Obama nominees to lower federal judgeships led to Senate Democrats in 2013 removing the procedural rule requiring a 60-vote supermajority to confirm presidential nominees to these positions.
Despite this change, more than 10 percent of these judgeships are now vacant, in large part because Democrats in the Senate have not held a 51-vote majority since the 2014 midterm elections.... a change to a 51-vote majority rule would erode several elements of the Supreme Court nomination and confirmation process that are vital to the institution’s integrity. Given Supreme Court justices’ power and long-term lengths, it’s important that individuals selected to be added both have majority support and appeal at least somewhat to citizens on both the left and right.... Toomey’s signing on to this proposed rules change is a short-sighted, lazy attempt to avoid doing the work of gaining bipartisan support for his party’s nominee, and will only contribute to the hyper-partisan atmosphere growing more and more omnipresent in Washington, D.C. If he is concerned about the integrity of the institution in which he serves, he will withdraw his support for this proposal.
Letter: Gorsuch has record against rights of people (Coloradoan, 04/04/17)
Mary Roberts, NOCO NOW: Neil Gorsuch’s judicial record shows he has a long history of hostility towards the claims of workers, consumers, children, immigrants, LGBTQIA people, incarcerated people, people with disabilities, and others seeking protection from the privileged and powerful.
Letter to the editor: Sixty-vote rule on court nominees provides essential balance (Portland Press Herald [ME] , 04/04/17)
Sharon McDonnell: Given the deeply partisan judicial record of Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, our senators, Susan Collins and Angus King, should reject his nomination and call for a new nominee or consider Judge Merrick Garland. King should join a filibuster, and Collins should, at the very least, reject efforts to change the cloture rule requiring 60 votes to end debate on Supreme Court nominations.... Gorsuch ruled that a company was in its rights to fire a trucker because he made a choice to avoid potentially freezing to death; he denied the right of a student with autism to get the educational support he needed; and he’s argued for a judicial philosophy that would make it harder for agencies to enforce environmental laws and other statutes.
Given this record, Senate Democrats are warranted in their plans to filibuster.... the moderate thing for Collins to do would be to vote against this “nuclear” rule change.
How Gorsuch Could Pull the Eight Other Justices Rightward (New York Times, 04/04/17)
Justin Wolfers: If Judge Neil Gorsuch is confirmed to the Supreme Court, he will become not only the ninth vote in a divided court but also a new colleague with the potential to move his eight peers in a conservative direction. A compelling new analysis suggests that this kind of peer effect may even be more consequential than a justice’s own vote.
This means that the stakes over who fills the vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia are higher than is widely understood.
Letter: A question hangs over Neil Gorsuch: Is he fair? (Chicago Tribune, 04/04/17)
Joe English: There is no question Gorsuch is conservative. But thoughtful?
Of the seven judges who ruled in the case of Alphonse Maddin, only one — Gorsuch — ruled against him. ... Is it fair to expect a truck driver to freeze to death? Is it thoughtful?
Gorsuch does not have the judgment to sit on our nation's highest court.
A Supreme Mistake in the Making: By breaking the Democrats' filibuster of Neil Gorsuch, Republicans would hurt the country and themselves. (U.S. News & World Report, 04/03/17)
Robert Schlesinger | Managing Editor for Opinion: last year Republicans stopped a qualified nominee – Judge Merrick Garland – simply because they had the power to do so.
They conjured up ridiculous excuses, but it was a simple power play: The GOP didn't want to confirm President Barack Obama's nominee .... Removing the filibuster for the high court reduces the incentive for presidents dealing with a Senate controlled by their own party to ever nominate a moderate justice.... the time will come again when they control neither the White House nor the Senate and they are virtually guaranteeing that a future Democratic president will put someone far more liberal on the court than if the filibuster remains in place.... If only there was some way that Republicans Corker and Graham could do something to stop the filibuster from being ended. Oh wait, there is: Vote to keep it and persuade one other Republican to do so; then work to get a majority bloc of senators to acknowledge that the Garland precedent was a major blunder which cost both parties and should not be repeated. And then wait for Trump to nominate a milquetoast moderate to the Garland seat.
Gorsuch filibuster would be good for Democrats (CNN, 04/03/17)
Prof. Julian Zelizer: Senate Democrats have good reason to move forward with a filibuster. Indeed, this could turn out to be a defining moment for the party in its struggle against the Trump presidency. Simply in terms of principle, Democrats could rest assured that they would not be the party responsible for breaking the Supreme Court nomination process. That already happened when Republicans refused to even hold confirmation hearings for former President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland on the bogus grounds that the "next president," who would start his term many months later, should decide whom to pick.... If anyone was capable of making sure the process did not break down beyond repair it was President Trump. Had he demonstrated some genuine independence and sent a moderate nominee to the Senate, instead of a right-wing judge who pleased the evangelical right and anti-regulatory business conservatives, he could have made it difficult for Democrats to refuse the confirmation.
The Senate should reject the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [PA], 04/03/17)
Rachel Schlosser, Letter to the Editor: Judge Gorsuch ruled, over the disagreements of an impartial hearing officer, an administrative law judge and a lower federal court, that the school district had to provide Luke only a minimal education, despite the law requiring that children with disabilities must have access to a meaningful education.
At the very moment Judge Gorsuch was testifying, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous rebuke to Judge Gorsuch’s narrow approach, ruling in a similar case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, that “it cannot be right.”
Judge Gorsuch is more dangerous than he appears (Boston Globe, 04/03/17)
Column by Nancy Gertner, a retired federal judge & professor at Harvard Law School: He is Judge Neil Gorsuch and he may soon be on the Supreme Court. Don’t be fooled. His approach is not neutral, not required by the law, andfar out of the mainstream. ... his approach could gut health and safety and antidiscrimination laws.... if Congress hasn’t directly addressed the precise question, courts are not supposed to invent their own. Expert agencies fill the gap. But Gorsuch rejects all that.... If this approach were accepted by other justices it could gut major health and safety and anti-discrimination legislation. Worse, Judge Gorsuch would be doing this with the false patina of neutrality, claiming it was based on a restrictive view of judging rather than precisely the opposite.
Gorsuch Can't Be Independent While Connected to Conservative Supporters (People For blog, 04/03/17)
Sarah Lobe: Regardless of how reluctant Gorsuch is to talk about his connection to right-wing, conservative groups, Gorsuch is connected to them because they chose him as the Supreme Court nominee through an outsourced selection process and because they launched a multi-million dollar campaign to support his confirmation. Gorsuch, however, avoided important questions about how, as a Supreme Court justice, he would make decisions independently from those supporters.
Republicans Threaten To Use Nuclear Option On Gorsuch, Media Blame Democrats (Media Matters for America, 04/03/17)
Research by Timothy Johnson: Media figures, many of them conservative, are pushing the false talking point that Senate Democrats are to blame for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s threat to change the rules and allow Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority vote. In fact, past Senate rule changes effectuated by Democrats have not applied to Supreme Court nominees, and they were made in response to historic GOP obstruction of noncontroversial Obama nominees. Gorsuch, on the other hand, is considered to be a highly ideological nominee who falls to the right of Antonin Scalia.
Letter to the editor: Sen. Collins ought to look elsewhere for legal advice (Portland Press Herald [ME] , 04/03/17)
Nicole Boucher & Karen Burke: Rather than coming forward as the moderate voice she claims to be, Maine Sen. Susan Collins recently took to the Senate floor in generous support of Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, buttressing her position with this remark: “I have also received a letter signed by 49 prominent Maine attorneys with diverse political views, urging support for Judge Gorsuch’s nomination.”
Mainers for Accountable Leadership has looked into those 49 lawyers and can report on just how diverse their views are:...Finally, and importantly, only five of these 49 attorneys are women.
In a weak effort to support her own endorsement of an ultra-conservative to the Supreme Court, Collins provides us with an obviously solicited letter signed by a very small group of partisan lawyers.