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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Editorials and Opinion


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Op-Ed by Robyn Thomas and Adam Skaggs, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, simply, that the Senate wouldn’t confirm Garland because he was opposed by the National Rifle Association.... The Gun Owners of America offered enthusiastic praise for Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, 10th Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch. The NRA applauded him as an “ outstanding choice. ”... the impact of decisions in major future gun cases will be measured in lives. Given those stakes, leaders in the gun violence prevention movement, including Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention group founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, are withholding support for Gorsuch’s nomination until the Senate ensures his positions on firearms reflect the reasonable and responsible views of the judicial mainstream, not the extreme and dangerous views of the corporate gun lobby.

Pope Francis's American Critics (Commonweal, 03/02/17)
Op-Ed by Anthony Annett: As Zephyr Teachout has argued convincingly, the defining feature about Judge Neil Gorsuch is his ideological predilection for not standing in the way of concentrated corporate power and wealth. This is obviously why he appeals to Trump, but yet again, this particular type of American Catholic is touting him as a judicial Aquinas! (I don’t need to point out that Justice Antonin Scalia was cast from the same mold, and that his death probably saved the Clean Power Plan—which, let us remember, was praised by Pope Francis in some of the first words he uttered in the United States).

Postpone the Gorsuch Hearings: His nomination to the Supreme Court cannot be separated from the serious questions that plague the Trump presidency (, 03/02/17)
Dahlia Lithwick and Sonja West: the Senate must postpone Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings until the investigations of the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia are resolved. We know that Michael Flynn lied about his conversations with the Russians. It now seems likely that Attorney General Jeff Sessions did the same. Thus, it makes exactly zero sense to take the position that Obama’s presidency was too tenuous to hold hearings while President Donald Trump’s is on solid footing—and we must proceed with haste. Nobody in the Senate can plausibly take the view that Trump’s claims to the White House are more legitimate, more publicly accepted, and more robust than were Obama’s in March 2016.... Having one justice serve under a cloud of doubt also threatens to harm the entire court.

Garland deserved a fair chance (Foster's Daily Democrat [NH], 03/02/17)
Ron Sheppe, Letter to the Editor: Until Mr. Garland is given this due process (a full vote of the Senate), the confirmation proceedings for Trump's nominee, Neil Gorsuch, should be held in limbo and fiercely opposed, not because of his politics or judicial philosophy, but because of the Constitutional principles involved.... If due process is not satisfied, then the confirmation of Mr. Gorsuch, or anyone else, will produce a Supreme Court tainted by an unconstitutional power grab, and partisan politics in the Senate will continue to trump the Constitution.

GUEST COLUMN: Why Neil Gorsuch is a threat to reproductive rights and my ability to practice medicine (Aurora Sentinel [CO], 03/02/17)
Dr. Jennifer Hyer, MD: in legal cases, Judge Gorsuch has consistently sided against medical expertise and science to deny women contraceptive access.

Why Progressive Jews Should Oppose Gorsuch for the Supreme Court (Philadelphia Jewish Voice, 03/01/17)
ELEANOR LEVIE, Op-Ed: Judge Neil Gorsuch was part of the court majority that ruled in favor of employers who refused to pay for health insurance that covered all forms of contraceptives for its employees. The court held that corporations are people, ... he has no respect for the constitutional principles that have supported the progress made by women and people of color throughout our country’s history. He has demonstrated a partiality to Wall Street and an eagerness to gut regulations for worker protections, clean air and safe food. As a Trump nominee, Gorsuch has apparently passed the litmus test posed by right-wing organizations that are bankrolled by the Koch brothers.

Supreme Court ads cause for alarm (Missoulian [MT], 03/01/17)
Carmelita Bullock, Letter to the Editor: Never before in the USA has such an advertising campaign been carried on for a Supreme Court nominee! How much is it costing and who is paying? What is expected in return for such an enormous expenditure if Neil Gorsuch is confirmed? "Danger, danger, Will Robinson!"

Gorsuch Nomination Threatens the Rights of Everyday Americans (Huffington Post, 03/01/17)
Camille Borders: Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court should trouble any American who thinks that everyday people should get a fair shake in the courts. When it comes to the rights of workers trying to stand up to unfair practices, Gorsuch’s record is downright frightening. Take for example the case of a trucker who was illegally fired from his job for detaching his trailer after his truck ran out of fuel, his brake lines froze in subzero temperatures, and his heater stopped working. While the majority on the Tenth Circuit Court agreed that the employee—who started to go numb while waiting for hours for a repairman—should not have been fired, Gorsuch said the employee should have followed orders even at serious risk of injury. This case was no outlier. In another dissent, Gorsuch argued against employees who sought back pay after their employer unlawfully cut their work hours.... Sen. Claire McCaskill should stand up for Missourians who want—and should be able to expect—equal justice under the law. She should stand firm and reject Gorsuch’s dangerous nomination.

Letter: GOP insults public’s intelligence (Columbian [WA], 03/01/17)
Joel Littauer: In Judge Garland’s case the Senate Republicans had no interest in the rights of the American people. Garland was well-qualified but received no hearings, no vote .... Now Republicans consult the right of the American people to a qualified (meaning “conservative”) Supreme Court nominee, and in spite of the fact that they denied the American people that same right during the Obama administration, they insist on it now — with a straight face. The hypocrisy is astounding, the politics are obvious, and the insult to the intelligence of the American people is astonishing.

Letter: Ad unfair to Donnelly on justice pick (Journal and Courier [IN] , 03/01/17)
Mick La Lopa: I wish to comment on the pro-Neil Gorsuch advertisement being shown on many local TV channels, in which Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly is portrayed .... There is big, “Dark Money” behind ads like this one, filled with blatant lies and damaging, hateful untruths about a senator who is a man of integrity, compassion, and right-mindedness. Be concerned about the dark money, and who is behind those ads, not Joe Donnelly, and not Planned Parenthood.

Letter: Hatch is a fraud (Salt Lake Tribune [UT], 03/01/17)
Ryan Hinkins: If your constituents follow your logic about not putting Judge Merrick Garland to a vote because President Obama was a lame-duck president, then you, sir, have to recuse yourself from every vote in the Senate, as well as not be allowed to sponsor or originate any legislation, since you are a lame duck senator going into your last term.

Your Opinion: Gorsuch lacks respect for constitutional values (News Tribune [MO], 03/01/17)
John Bennett: During the month of February, Black History Month, we have been called to recommit to our constitutional values of liberty, equality, and justice for all. However, it is troubling that President Trump has put forth a nominee for the nation's Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, whose record does not demonstrate respect for those values, nor has he shown respect for the belief that the Constitution protects all of us, not just the wealthy and he powerful. ... Judge Gorsuch has shown a consistent and troubling bias on the side of big business against the interests of consumers and employees. His narrow ideological view of workplace discrimination laws is dangerous for workers. Judge Gorsuch would undermine countless laws, including those that protect the environment, worker's rights, civil rights, and consumer protections. These matters concern me as a citizen and as a person of faith. He should not be confirmed.

Why Gorsuch could lead court in wrong direction (CNN, 03/01/17)
Prof. Richard L. Hasen: keeping the steady course with a conservative replacement for Scalia will be bad enough across a range of topics important to many Americans, from environmental protection to immigration law to the ability of labor unions to collect dues from their members. ... Consider how things will likely get worse in two areas that are the focus of my work, campaign finance and voting rights.... The court with Gorsuch, like a court with Scalia still on it, seems poised to kill off what's left of McCain-Feingold and potentially open the door to candidates taking unlimited contributions from individuals and perhaps even corporations. Things on the voting rights side could get worse as well. ... the simple confirmation of Gorsuch would not restore the status quo. It would keep things moving in the very troubling direction they were going while Scalia was still on the court.

Detroit Faith Leader Speaks Out on the Supreme Court Nomination (Medium, 03/01/17)
Rev. Dr. Steve Bland, Jr.: Judge Gorsuch is said to be like Justice Scalia, but duplicating the ideologue who devastated the Voting Rights Act is hardly a qualification. Gorsuch has even disparaged people for turning to the courts to vindicate their rights. I want a justice who will protect my Muslim and Latino brothers and sisters, and others who may be targeted next. I urge our senators to do the right thing and oppose Judge Gorsuch.

I asked Senator Casey to vote against Neil Gorsuch (WHYY Newsworks [PA, NJ, DE], 02/28/17)
The Philadelphia Experiment blog by Solomon Jones: Gorsuch, 49, has penned opinions and issued rulings that championed conservative causes. He has favored corporate monopolies, touted campaign donations as free speech, and sided with employers when workers’ rights were at stake. In Philadelphia, where the 25.8 percent poverty rate is concentrated in black and brown communities, we cannot afford a Supreme Court Justice who puts corporations before the populace, because such policies most often hurt poor people of color first.

Margaret Chase Smith put the country before her party. It’s time for Collins to stand up, too. (Bangor Daily News [ME], 02/28/17)
Diane Russell Op-Ed: Furious at the Senate’s rejection of his initial U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Clement Haynsworth in the spring of 1970, Nixon retaliated by nominating G. Harrold Carswell in his place. Legal scholars thought Carswell unfit on jurisprudential grounds, and his segregationist views and false testimony concerning those views during his confirmation hearing inflamed public opinion.... Smith was ... an elder stateswoman, but it took no less courage to withstand the marked pressure and vote against her party’s nominee for the highest court in the land. And yet, she voted “ no.” Her vote broke that silence, and in the wake of her vote, several senators who privately promised Nixon an “aye” vote, chose instead to follow her lead. The spell had been broken and Carswell was defeated.... If Judge Neil Gorsuch is confirmed for the Supreme Court, erosions of voting rights could become more pronounced. With the Supreme Court in the balance, the vote on Gorsuch is unprecedented in its magnitude for the rights of women, LGBT and people of color — all constituencies that have supported Collins’ career.... America wasn’t built on political parties. It was built on courage — the kind of courage that stops a bad Supreme Court nomination.

Concerned Constituents Raise Questions about Judge Neil Gorsuch During #ResistanceRecess (People For blog, 02/28/17)
Jen Herrick: many activists stood up at local town hall meetings (whether their members did or not) ... They raised critical concerns on ... Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to serve on the Supreme Court.

Judge Neil Gorsuch: Likable, but dangerous (The Hill, 02/28/17)
Wade Henderson,The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: Our Constitution demands that the Senate fully examine the record and judicial philosophy of the nominee. By that measure, the Senate must reject the nomination of Neil Gorsuch.... he lacks the impartiality and independence the American people expect and deserve from the Supreme Court.... As a judge on the federal appeals court, he has shown a consistent favorable treatment of employers and corporate defendants, and a reflexive rejection of workers’ rights claim.... The Chevron doctrine requires deference to federal agencies’ interpretation of ambiguous laws as long as the interpretation is reasonable, which has resulted in the safeguarding of workers’ rights, environmental protection, consumer protections, food safety, and many other protections for people’s health and well-being. Judge Gorsuch wrote that judges should make these decisions instead of agencies with the relevant expertise, which will likely lead to favoring corporate interests over individual rights.... From workers’ rights to LGBT rights, from protecting students with disabilities to protecting the environment, from voting rights to police misconduct, Judge Gorsuch’s decade-long record demonstrates he is a judge with an agenda. That agenda, unfortunately, is not in the interest of those who need the courts to protect them the most.

Writers say no to drug imports, Gorsuch and more: Montana senators should oppose Gorsuch (Great Falls Tribune [MT], 02/28/17)
Anders Blewett: I’m writing to urge Montana Sens. Daines and Tester to strongly oppose President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Federal Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch. The next Supreme Court justice must be fair, independent and able to provide a check to the executive branch.... I believe most Montanans do not want to risk a justice who may be a rubber stamp on Trump’s extreme agenda, especially when it comes to limiting the influence of money in politics and protecting consumer rights. ... Judge Gorsuch has a track record of putting corporate interests over those of working people and consumers.

GUEST OPINION, Christopher Lorenz: An 'originalist' position (Daily Camera [CO] , 02/28/17)
"Since Gorsuch claims to be an originalist with regards to the U.S. Constitution, he should support the original intent of the founders. Therefore he should insist that the Senate first consider Merrick Garland before anyone else can be appointed to the vacant Supreme Court position."

Gorsuch’s conservative views represent a threat to women’s reproductive rights (Bangor Daily News [ME], 02/27/17)
Op-Ed By Andrea Irwin, Ruth Lockhart and Sharon Barker: Judge Gorsuch’s extremely conservative viewpoint about the role of personal religious beliefs to inform the rule of law is far outside mainstream American values of personal autonomy and separation of church and state. ... By siding with Hobby Lobby and powerful corporations, Judge Gorsuch made it clear that he is the wrong choice for the Supreme Court.

Alison Dreith: Neil Gorsuch is not the independent voice Missouri needs (Kansas City Star, 02/27/17)
"A critical component of holding President Donald Trump accountable is an independent court system that can stand up to his rampant overreach. Most of all, this requires a Supreme Court that will defend our rights as Americans regardless of the political pressure coming from the White House. Unfortunately, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court would not be the independent voice that Missourians need to stand up to Trump’s dangerous agenda. It’s no surprise that Trump’s nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, represents the fringe of the conservative movement.... There is simply too much on the line to elevate Trump’s dangerous ideology with a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court."

Neil Gorsuch? Originalism and the Ten Commandments (Huffington Post, 02/27/17)
Prof. Harold Anthony Lloyd: Current Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch claims that judges should “apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be . . . .” ... I’ve written at length about the problems with such an approach [link]. I’ve also written about Justice Scalia’s confusion and inability even to articulate a consistent definition of Original Meaning [link]. ... This means there can be no place in a just and rational Supreme Court for Originalism, a doctrine that focuses “backward, not forward,” that reduces chances of correcting error by miring itself in the past, that rejects basic truths about us, about our language, and about our law, that subordinates speaker meaning to definitions plucked from dictionaries, that encourages judicial activism in choosing which definitions to pluck, and that shrouds itself in the pretense of objective justice.

How Neil Gorsuch Could Significantly Harm LGBTQ Rights (Bustle, 02/27/17)
Abby Higgs: Gorsuch’s rulings on two transgender cases in the past doesn’t paint a pretty picture. ... in 2005, he penned an op-ed for The National Review lambasting liberals' political fights, such as the same-sex marriage debate, as politics disguised in constitutional garb.

Judicial originalism as myth (Vox, 02/27/17)
Prof. Eric J. Segall: Judge Gorsuch and the United States Senate are going to play an elaborate trick on the American people (just as Justice Scalia did for years). They will pretend that the original meaning of the Constitution is what judges both use and should use to resolve hard constitutional questions. Gorsuch has said, “Judges should … strive (if humanly and so imperfectly) to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be.” But Gorsuch does not make decisions like that now, and he will not make decisions that way if he makes it to the Supreme Court. The confirmation process will have been a sham because, as tenBroek demonstrated almost 80 years ago, the justices don’t decide cases that way, and they shouldn’t decide cases that way.

Editorial: State senator wisely withdraws Gorsuch resolution (Herald Bulletin [IN] , 02/26/17)
"Indiana legislators would never stand for a Congressional legislator telling them how to vote on a hot topic. ... But up until Thursday, there was an attempt to reverse the tactic and tell Indiana's U.S. senators how to vote on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. State Sen. James Buck, a longstanding conservative Republican from Kokomo, had authored Senate Resolution 24 calling for U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young to vote to confirm the nomination.... he was funneling his own wishes, not those of Hoosier voters. It was pushing a state conservative's agenda onto a Democratic U.S. senator and a Republican U.S. senator who can both determine the will of Hoosier voters by the calls and letters they receive."

The Resistance and The Democratic Party Aren’t The Same (Huffington Post, 02/26/17)
Miles Mogulescu: Already, the Town Hall meetings have given pause to the Republicans’ Quixotic effort to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. It’s next focus should be on forcing recalcitrant Democrats to filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of the smooth talking, good looking Neil Gorsuch, who’s a shill for the right-wing Federalist Society which has waged a 30-year long campaign to stack the judiciary with pro-corporate right-wing judges.

Why Millennials Should Be Worried About Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch's Originalism (Forbes, 02/26/17)
Frances Bridges: It’s hard not to question the principles of someone who knowingly makes it harder for every population outside of his own to secure their civil rights; to know he studied and considered all interpretations of the law, only to conclude the originalist interpretation is best. It reflects a deep flaw in logic or in character; either answer is disturbing for a Supreme Court nominee in 2017.

Montanans expect thoughtful senators (Missoulian [MT], 02/26/17)
Jan LaBonty, letter to the editor: Not two days after President Trump announced his pick of Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court, the relentless advertising fired up yet again: The positive ads highlighting Gorsuch’s early start delivering newspapers and shoveling snow and the black and white ads attacking Senator Jon Tester, who will vote on the confirmation. (The sponsor of both ads, the Judicial Crisis Network, is an ultra-conservative organization ... Surely, all nominees need to be carefully and thoroughly interviewed, but apparently, our senators aren’t even supposed to ask questions of a person who could serve on the Supreme Court for 30 years.

Need a Supreme Court nominee who will unite us (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 02/25/17)
Rabbi Susan Talve, Letter to the Editor: The Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, has already shown that he cannot serve without inserting both implicit and explicit bias into his judicial decisions. There is too much at stake to allow for his confirmation.