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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Editorials and Opinion


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Guest Editorial: Murray, Cantwell Owe Us Stronger Resistance to Trump Agenda (The Stranger [Seattle, WA], 02/24/17)
Beatrice Leverett: Seattle Indivisible now includes nearly 4,000 members ... Senators Murray and Cantwell can expect to hear from us continuously .... We insist that they correct their thus-far disappointing track record by committing to reject Trump’s remaining cabinet nominees, filibuster SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch (Murray has indicated that she may be willing to do this, but Cantwell has not),

Corporations aren't people. Americans get it. Gorsuch doesn’t. (The Hill, 02/24/17)
Tiffany Muller, End Citizens United: Our democracy won’t work if all our citizens don’t have an equal voice. Yet, Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, who supported a ruling that corporations are people, flies in the face of such an idea. It undercuts the belief held by a large, bipartisan majority of Americans who agree that we should overturn the Citizens United decision, which empowered corporate special interests and opened the floodgates for unlimited and undisclosed money in our elections.... 78 percent of voters are more likely to oppose a nominee who will keep letting corporations and special interests use money to gain influence and drown out the voice of individuals in politics.... Our democracy is on the line. The U.S. Senate must reject Judge Gorsuch.

Sen. Nelson, stand strong against Gorsuch nomination | Opinion (Sun Sentinel [FL], 02/24/17)
Shevrin D. Jones, member of the Florida House of Representatives: Judge Gorsuch is not the fair-minded or independent voice we need on the Supreme Court — or the check we need on executive powers. Instead, his record shows someone who puts his ideological agenda above the Constitution, and wealthy corporate interests above ordinary Americans. I urge Sen. Bill Nelson to take a stand and defeat this nominee.... Judge Gorsuch has an extreme record that makes clear he would not be looking out for the rights of workers or consumers. He would not defend civil rights for all Americans or safeguard the rights of women. He would not protect the environment. He would not protect voters. Gorsuch has criticized progressives who sought protections and brought constitutional challenges to the courts. In fact, Gorsuch is even to the right of where Justice Scalia ruled on a number of these issues. His decisions have shown a pattern of siding with big corporations over the rights of workers — ruling against protecting workers from sexual discrimination or whistleblower retaliation. He even voted to overturn a fine against a company whose employee died on the job because of lack of training.

Thode letter: Supreme Court nominee (Idaho Statesman, 02/24/17)
Walt Thode: I guess it’s just the Republicans who are allowed to ignore longstanding norms when a Supreme Court seat opens up, and refuse to even give Garland a hearing for almost a year.... Apparently there are signs that Democrats in the Senate are not just going to roll over and allow Mitch McConnell and his colleagues to cheat the system with no repercussions. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon suggests that he will filibuster any Supreme Court pick that is not Merrick Garland. I hope he does so, and I hope the other Democratic senators will join him.

Letter to the editor: Two-way street (Santa Fe New Mexican, 02/24/17)
Kenneth Alan Collins: The Republican Party conducted a scorched-earth campaign against President Barack Obama and all his efforts. This reached its nadir never seen before with the president’s intent to fill a Supreme Court vacancy to the detriment of the country and the Constitution. ... Regardless of any qualities Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, has, the real issue is that it cannot be a one-way street: ... It is absolutely essential that citizens prevail on any wavering Democratic senators of the need, this time, for a 100 percent united front.

Gorsuch’s record does not paint him as a friend to women (Washington Post, 02/24/17)
Neena Chaudhry, National Women’s Law Center: The Feb. 19 front-page article “Gorsuch reliably right, but intensely attentive” relied on one case to try to paint Judge Neil Gorsuch as not predictably conservative. I helped represent the female victims in that lawsuit as a lawyer with the National Women’s Law Center. The case was a no-brainer.... The NWLC opposes his nomination because his record gives us no confidence that he would do the right thing for women in more difficult cases.

Dark money pays for court ads (Billings Gazette [MT,WY], 02/24/17)
Dick Spalding, Letter to the Editor: We do have a crisis, in no small part because of forces like Judicial Crisis Network, which helped fight successfully against the Republican Senate's confirmation of Obama's appointments. Obama started his tenure with 54 vacancies and Trump is starting his term with 102. The U.S. Senate has sat on these vacancies for most of the past 18 months in hopes of filling these lifetime vacancies with Republican appointees. Some 38 of these are deemed "emergencies." Most of Judicial Crisis funding has come from ... right-wing groups .... This is enough to doubt Gorsuch's independence. The ads are pointed towards Montanans so that we will encourage Tester to vote for the confirmation.

[Editorial] Before considering Gorsuch, give Judge Garland a hearing in Washington (Anniston Star [AL] , 02/23/17)
By the editorial board: senators have a little less than a month to do right by Merrick Garland, the traditions of the Senate and the U.S. Constitution. In short, senators owe Judge Garland a hearing and a vote before taking up Gorsuch’s nomination.... Republican senators decided to go on strike, to play for time on the chance that a Republican would replace Obama as president.... Senators are not required to vote for a president’s nominee. They insult their legislative body and the Constitution by refusing to vote on a president’s nominee.

Judge Gorsuch, Religious Liberty, and Equality (American Constitution Society Blog, 02/23/17)
Louise Melling, ACLU: Restaurants and schools have claimed rights to resist integration in the name of religion, and schools have argued a right to pay women less than men for reasons of faith. The courts have properly rejected such claims. Religious liberty has not been understood to mean the right to impose harm on others. The question for Judge Gorsuch is whether he will respect this precedent.

Don’t Believe the Right: Gorsuch’s Yellowbear Case Reveals Nothing (People For blog, 02/23/17)
Paul Gordon: Looking past a party’s character and religion are among the most basic of basic requirements for a judge.... Judge Gorsuch ruled correctly in a case that really could not have turned out any other way at the circuit level.

Letter to the Editor: THE 2020 CAMPAIGN HAS BEGUN (The Courier [OH] , 02/23/17)
Mike Hocanson: It appears that nominee Neil Gorsuch will have to be put on the sideline with Merrick Garland. Per Mitch McConnell and Republican leadership, “once the political season is under way, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over.” Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign officially got underway Feb. 18 at the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer admitted this wasn’t a presidential event, it was a campaign rally.

Jeffrey Toobin: The right to privacy puts textualists on the spot; if you really believe only in the rights specifically enumerated in the Constitution, that’s a narrower set of rights than most Americans believe they have and value.... The Brown case, which is an unassailable touchstone of Supreme Court precedent, presents one of the toughest issues for originalists, because the decision was a clear departure from an originalist approach. But, if it was appropriate to depart from the intent of the authors of the Fourteenth Amendment in Brown, doesn’t that open the door to other departures from originalist dogma?... Gorsuch should address the modern concept, championed by many conservatives, that the First Amendment requires the all but total deregulation of political campaigns.... Do religious people have to follow laws that violate their consciences? Do they have to pay taxes? Do their children have to go to school? ... do visitors give up all their rights, like the right to equal protection of the laws? Can we ban all black people from coming to the United States? All Jews? All Muslims?

Letter to the editor: Justice (Santa Fe New Mexican, 02/23/17)
Marcia Wolf: Prior to the Republicans’ low-road snub of Judge Merrick Garland (President Barack Obama’s nominee) that turned the highest court into a partisan institution, our Senate worked together in appointing justices.... the partisan acts pursued and implemented by Republicans over recent years has created a situation by which Democrats can no longer abide. A full rebuke of the Republicans’ Supreme Court power grab and nominee is in order.

70-plus questions for Sen. McConnell | Letter (Courier-Journal [KY] , 02/22/17)
Mary Hamilton: Here are the questions your constituents would like to have been able to ask: ... Why do you think (Judge Neil) Gorsuch should have a Supreme Court hearing when Trump has already begun campaigning for 2020? You firmly stated you were against having hearings during campaigns.

The Dissents of Judge Neil Gorsuch: Far to the Right and Out of the Mainstream (People For blog, 02/22/17)
Elliot Mincberg: Many, if not most, decisions by the Supreme Court and the courts of appeals are unanimous. Reviewing the cases where an appellate judge has chosen to disagree with and dissent from his or her colleagues, therefore, can be particularly revealing. And that is precisely the case with Judge Neil Gorsuch. Judge Gorsuch’s dissents from his colleagues on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals are consistently right-wing, generally seeking to favor big business and other authority and harm the interests of workers and those who have suffered abuse by government officials. And this is on a court which, until recently, consisted primarily of Republican appointees like Gorsuch.

Letter: Supreme Court nominee put religion before Constitution (Newsday [NY], 02/22/17)
Gerald O’Connor: I very much hope Sen. Chuck Schumer will support a filibuster of the appointment of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch .... Gorsuch showed a willingness to put his religious beliefs above his fidelity to the Constitution in the Hobby Lobby case.

Republicans are Hijacking the Courts. Will Senate Democrats Let Them? (Huffington Post, 02/22/17)
Algernon Austin: Many have called the theft of the Judge Merrick Garland’s appointment unprecedented, but this statement is not quite correct. It is unprecedented only if one ignores the fact that several of President Obama’s judicial appointments to lower courts were also blocked. Because Republicans blocked the appointment of Garland and many other judicial appointments, they have now delivered all of those seats to Trump. What will Democrats do about this? Will they allow Trump to stack the judiciary or will they insist that these are stolen seats and therefore they do not belong to Trump? In my view, a reasonable Democratic response would be to work to block Trump judicial appointments in proportion to the degree that Obama’s appointments were blocked.

The Public Pulse, Feb. 22: Gorsuch shouldn’t get Garland’s seat (Omaha World-Herald [NE] , 02/22/17)
K.M. Davies: the seat for which he has been nominated should have been filled months ago. So, no sale.

Judge Gorsuch Should Not Be Confirmed (Missourian, 02/22/17)
Christine Guinther, Letter to the Editor: Nominee (Neil) Gorsuch has proven himself to be a judge who would defy the Constitution and moreover will not consistently support civil rights, voting rights and the rights of the working class. His record on police brutality and workplace discrimination is not indicative of the high standards that we need demonstrated in the highest court in the land.

Gorsuch a threat to LGBTQ Montanans (Independent Record [MT], 02/22/17)
Kim Leighton: Gorsuch himself, under the guise of religious freedom, has supported companies like Hobby Lobby in denying birth control to female employees. He also argued in a dissent for defunding Planned Parenthood. LGBTQ Americans can’t risk having an anti-LGBTQ ideologue on the highest court in the land. Join me in urging Sen. Tester to stand up for the Constitutional rights of all of us and strongly opposing Donald Trump’s extreme SCOTUS pick.

Letter: Kudos to Schumer for questioning Gorsuch (Albany Times Union [NY], 02/22/17)
Brenda Bergstrom: Sen. Charles Schumer's reservations about President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, ("Schumer leery of Gorsuch comment" Feb. 10 ) indicate the caution that characterizes true leadership.... Particularly glaring is his history concerning environmental regulations. Basically, he disputes the "Chevron Doctrine," which holds that courts should defer to the scientific findings of government agencies in determining challenges to enforcement of laws. Such challenges often come from industries objecting to environmental regulations. We can see where Gorsuch's approach would lead: that judges can disregard science and that corporations' rights override the rights of ordinary citizens to clean air, water and a livable climate. Because Gorsuch, like his mentor Justice Antonin Scalia, reveres the rights of corporations to free speech, he has shown no interest in restricting the role of big money in politics.

Letter to the Editor: We need a justice for all (St. Louis Jewish Light, 02/22/17)
Rabbi Susan Talve: 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. ... I urge our legislators to reject this nomination and work together to find a nominee who we can trust to be a justice, not just for some, but for all.

Gorsuch must show commitment to a democratic America (Cincinnati Enquirer [OH] , 02/21/17)
Joseph P. Tomain: Garland is also known for his fairness, decency, temperament and commitment to the rule of law. What distinguishes these two nominees is only one thing – politics.... The failure of the Senate to honor its constitutional duty by holding hearings on Garland highlights how politicized the Court is currently.... Can the White House benefit cronies and harm citizens by increasing safety risks and pollution, reducing or eliminating cost savings, and raising costs to consumers? Or can the will of Congress override the administration’s power grab by safeguarding agency action discharged in the public good? These questions will face the Supreme Court. Where does Gorsuch stand?

Review Gorsuch's positions (Philadelphia Inquirer [PA], 02/21/17)
Lorrie McKinley and Stephen F. Gold, Letter to the Editor: The Senate should also review Gorsuch's views regarding people with disabilities and explore his understanding of the civil rights provisions in place to protect them. The Supreme Court will soon decide (unless deadlocked) what level of educational benefits for children with disabilities states are required to provide to ensure a free and appropriate public education - a meaningful benefit (as required in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware), or, as Gorsuch has espoused, only something "more than de minimus."... Senators should ask whether Gorsuch's nondisabled children received a meaningful or only trivial level of education and whether something just north of de minimus provides children with disabilities an equal opportunity.

Printed Letters: Everyday Americans should not support Neil Gorusch (Daily Sentinel [CO], 02/21/17)
VALERIE ETTER: Neil Gorsuch is a conservative jurist who would ignore most American citizen’s wishes to be more centrist or left-of-center.... Gorsuch’s purview would be to protect religionist, corporatist, and originalist, which will not protect the rights of gays, workers, or women — some important populations that the originalists could not have foreseen as this minimalist country became much grander in scale over time.

Letter: Judge Gorsuch and Gay Rights (New York Times, 02/21/17)
HARPER JEAN TOBIN: several appeals courts have held that federal law prohibits job bias against transgender workers. Judge Gorsuch joined a ruling that employers were free to fire a transgender woman by citing unsubstantiated “safety reasons” about her using workplace restrooms — a view several other courts have rejected.... The signs are simply too strong that Judge Gorsuch’s America is one in which L.G.B.T. people can be refused service at restaurants, hotels and doctors’ offices, and employers could hang an “L.G.B.T. Need Not Apply” sign.

Trump’s SCOTUS pick no friend to working families (Great Falls Tribune [MT], 02/21/17)
Kim McKeehan: As a social worker in Great Falls and a member of the Little Shell Tribe, I am writing to voice strong opposition to the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.... Gorsuch’s extreme record flies in the face of everything working Montana families hold dear, including access to healthcare and basic workers’ rights. He has a history of rolling back protections for workers in favor of big corporations. ... I expect Sen. Tester to stand up against Trump’s nominee and continue to fight for the rights of women, workers and all Montana families by opposing Gorsuch’s confirmation.

OTHER VOICES: Say no to Gorsuch, whose manifesto bodes ill for climate change fight (Las Vegas Sun, 02/21/17)
Billy Corriher: Anyone concerned about the health of our environment should oppose Gorsuch’s nomination. If Gorsuch is confirmed, his approach to reviewing regulations suggests that he could vote to limit the EPA’s ability to address climate change.... Even Justice Antonin Scalia, who Gorsuch would replace, defended Chevron and the need for judges to defer to agency experts.

Neil Gorsuch sides with big business, big donors and big bosses: His record shows he probably won't help rein in corporate power. (Washington Post, 02/21/17)
Prof. Zephyr Teachout: Gorsuch’s record on the bench reveals a man with a strong top-down streak, a preference for concentrated wealth and power. He has consistently been the friend of big business and monopolies at the expense of competition and open markets, and the friend of big donors at the expense of small donors. In disputes between the employee and employer, he sides with the boss.... On antitrust, Gorsuch has repeatedly blessed actions by big firms to exploit their dominant position. His rulings reveal a tendency to reward concentration of private power and to enfeeble the laws and public institutions tasked with keeping the economy open and competitive. ... Gorsuch’s views on antitrust and campaign finance go hand in hand. They reveal a judge who will further open the way for a few wealthy people to rob the American people of their basic freedoms and properties, and to subvert our democracy once and for all.

Milt Hankins: Senate should give both court nominees a vote (Herald-Dispatch [Huntington, WV], 02/20/17)
Milt Hankins: The U.S. Senate refused to hold hearings on, or consider, Judge Merrick Garland, the nominee of President Barack Obama almost a year ago.... It was purely political posturing by the Senate against the president.... I think that BOTH Judges Merrick Garland, Obama's choice, and Neil Gorsuch, Trump's choice, should be given hearings in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee followed by a vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate, and may the best man win! ... the Senate has a constitutional obligation to deal with nominee Garland before they consider nominee Gorsuch.