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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Gorsuch, Thomas, Rehnquist and beyond: A short history of right-wing lies in Supreme Court confirmation hearings; Neil Gorsuch's bland denials belong to a tradition of conservative dishonesty that reaches back many decades (, 03/26/17)
Paul Rosenberg: As Neil Gorsuch tries to avoid confronting his record in his campaign to steal Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court seat, it’s helpful to gain a broader view of a profoundly deceptive multi-decade conservative drama .... Generally speaking the lies take two main forms: a variety of different narrow lies about what specific individual judges have or have not done, and an array of broad lies about what judges in general should or should not do. All are variants of one big über-lie: That only conservatives act properly as judges.

A filibuster against Mr. Gorsuch is appropriate (Washington Post, 03/26/17)
Letter to the Editor by Jack Hadley: The Democrats’ vow to filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is appropriate. It is essential to stand against the ideological politicization of the Supreme Court.

Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing revealed his hidden similarity to Trump; The two appear to be a study in contrasts -- but both display a remarkable lack of compassion; Their likeness could serve to justify Democrats' opposition. (Guardian News and Media, 03/25/17)
Lucia Graves: He was one of the most evasive nominees in recent memory, but what he did finally reveal had nothing to do with his patently conservative ideology – one thought to be even more staunchly conservative than that of the man he would replace, the late Antonin Scalia. Instead, on display were a set of unmistakably Trumpian attributes that should sound familiar to any close observer of the 2016 presidential election: a cold cognitive empathy coupled with a dearth of compassion.... the fact that Maddin might have died sitting there waiting for help at 14-below, if he’d been unwise enough to follow the only option made available by Gorsuch, did not appear to enter into his calculus. He did not seem to care.... Gorsuch’s record and comments suggest he may also believe a good judge does not give a whit about people.... Gorsuch dodged nearly every substantive question by saying he would defer to precedent. But in TransAm Trucking v Administrative Review Board we saw him fight precedent – in this particular case, a legal statute known as Chevron deference – for what appear to be the pettiest of possible reasons. In his remarkably flippant opinion, Gorsuch narrows legal definitions to make them more restrictive ... If Democrats choose to filibuster, fight and delay Gorsuch for as long as they can, their biggest justification may not be that his seat was stolen and the moment calls for a moderate, nor because he offered next to no substantive answers this week – it may be because, faced with the very real specter of a compromised president intent on overreaching his powers, he offers worse than no check. In unguarded moments, he offers more of the same.

If Gorsuch values judicial independence, he'll withdraw (Detroit Free Press [MI] , 03/25/17)
Stephen Henderson, Detroit Free Press Editorial Page Editor: I’m sadly confident he’ll issue rulings that’ll mean more misery for folks whose marginalization was at the core of this nation’s founding. ... if Gorsuch were really decent, if he really loved judicial independence and respected his colleagues as much as he said he did this week during his hearings, he’d do something he’s nearly certain not to do: He’d withdraw his nomination.... there are a few reasons Garland’s botched nomination is the right place to make a stand. For starters, it was a Supreme Court pick, and this marked the first time a sitting president was denied the opportunity to fill an open seat on the court because it was "his last year in office." That made-up justification was all about Republican resentment of former President Barack Obama, and a first-of-its-kind affront to the delicate constitutional checks and balances between the Senate and the president. No nominee had gone more than about 100 days without a hearing in American history. Garland went nearly a year.

Maine Voices: Environmental stewards should stand together against Gorsuch: President Trump's nominee opposes the long-standing custom that courts defer to experts in government (Portland Press Herald [ME] , 03/25/17)
Ken Cline: Gorsuch, a federal appellate judge, has a record of extreme positions that proves he is too far outside the mainstream and too hostile to the environment for this critically important position. Gorsuch has been described as more extreme than Scalia, the most anti-environment justice in recent Supreme Court history. Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy will limit the access of everyday Americans to the courts and prevent agencies like the EPA from doing their job to protect our air, water and health. This is a dangerous view that will favor polluters and industry over the rights of the people. On at least three separate occasions, Gorsuch has denied access to the courts for environmental groups. Environmental laws without citizen access to the courts to enforce them are a hollow promise. ... We must hold the Senate to that 60-vote threshold..... Collins and King must raise their voices with us and reject Neil Gorsuch

Gorsuch Shouldn’t Be Confirmed Until Trump Is Cleared Of Wrongdoing: Until we know Trump is a legitimate president, he can’t be presumed to have the authority to make such a pick. (Huffington Post, 03/25/17)
Robert Reich, Contributor: First, we need to be sure Trump didn’t collaborate with Russia to rig the election. The FBI says it has enough “credible evidence” that Trump aides colluded with Russian operatives to affect the outcome of the election, to move forward with a full-scale investigation. At the least, Gorsuch shouldn’t be considered until that investigation is concluded. We also need to be sure Trump isn’t motivated by financial conflicts of interest around the world. We need to see his tax records to know ... And we need to know he’s not violating the Constitution by raking in money from foreign governments.

Editorial: It's not Neil Gorsuch's fault, but we can't support his ascension to a stolen Supreme Court seat (Los Angeles Times, 03/25/17)
Editorial Board: these are not normal times. Not after the outrageous obstruction of Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination for 10 full months by Senate Republicans. That debacle began in March 2016, when President Obama nominated Garland, a moderate and well-respected appeals court judge .... Instead of doing what the Constitution requires and offering their advice and, if merited, their consent, Senate Republicans refused even to engage in the process.... Some people think it’s hyperbolic to suggest that the seat was “stolen.” But how else to describe it? Republicans took the opportunity to fill the vacancy away from Barack Obama without justification and delivered it up instead to Donald Trump. Gorsuch could now tilt the balance on the increasingly polarized Supreme Court for the next 30 or more years ... President Obama’s nominee was robbed of his right to a hearing, and the Senate Democrats have no obligation to be complicit in the theft.

Ken Grossinger: Judge Gorsuch wrong choice for Colorado's working families (Daily Camera [CO] , 03/25/17)
Guest Opinion: for the majority of Coloradans — and Americans — who are everyday working people, Judge Gorsuch's record bodes ill.... throughout his career, Judge Gorsuch has shown a pattern of siding in favor of employers, wealthy corporations and Wall Street — against working families ... He also has voiced support for legal theories that could jeopardize important protections for workers as well as clean air, clean water, and safe food and medicine that each of us relies on every day.... a "no" vote on Judge Gorsuch is the only vote that serves these families.

What Should Democrats Do About Gorsuch? (Huffington Post, 03/25/17)
William Astore, Contributor: They should filibuster. The reason is obvious: Merrick Garland, President Obama’s eminently qualified and moderate nominee for the Supreme Court, never even got a hearing from Republicans. ... Republicans are Lucy holding the football, and you are Charlie Brown. No matter how many times Lucy tells you she’s going to let you kick the ball, she’s always going to pull it away, betraying her promise while making snide comments about your gullibility. There’s another reason not to vote for Gorsuch: the man lacks compassion.

Letter to the editor, March 25: Gorsuch, Concerns about Supreme Court nominee (Tennessean, 03/25/17)
Harold Spear, Jr.: my question to Mr. Gorsuch is whether he views Roe v. Wade as legal precedent as in Marbury v. Madison, which has generally been followed, or as in Dred Scott where it would be ripe for repeal? Incidentally, I also have concerns about another legal principle that Judge Gorsuch supports, that being “strict constructionism” of our United States Constitution. Can we really apply the original intent of the founders of our constitution, who by the way counted slaves as three-fourths of a person, to our most complicated contemporary legal issues?

letter: March 24, 2017: Judge Gorsuch favors corporations (Bangor Daily News [ME], 03/24/17)
Elaine Tucker: I encourage Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins to oppose the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.... Gorsuch appears to prefer the religious “rights” of corporations over those of individuals, particularly when those individuals are women.

Letter: Gorsuch is less moderate than Scalia (Salt Lake Tribune [UT], 03/24/17)
Elise Love: Neil Gorsuch stated that no one had asked him for any commitments yet he has repeatedly sided with big business over the interests of workers and consumers. In contrast, Merrick Garland was a candidate whose moderate decisions would have balanced the court. The unconstitutional partisan conspiracy that blocked Garland must not be legitimized with the appointment of Gorsuch. The "best judgment" of candidate Gorsuch is actually less moderate than that of Judge Antonin Scalia,

Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan: Neil Gorsuch and the case of the frozen trucker (Santa Cruz Sentinel [CA], 03/24/17)
Op-Ed: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., during his questioning of Gorsuch Tuesday, said, “I think everybody here would have done exactly what he [Alphonse Maddin] did. ... It is absurd to say this company is in its rights to fire him because he made the choice of possibly dying from freezing to death or causing other people to die possibly by driving an unsafe vehicle. That’s absurd.”

Why the Democrats are in a Win-Win Situation by Filibustering (American Constitution Society Blog, 03/24/17)
Prof. Sanford Levinson, Guest Post: I strongly support filibustering the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to join the Supreme Court. Part of the reason is that I regard his appointment as filling a "stolen seat." Part of it is that I thought his "answers" were remarkably non-enlightening. No one who is a serious originalist can possibly give as much primacy to precedent as he was pretending to do. And "pretending" is the operative word, since it is inconceivable that he will not vote to reverse a number of important cases. ... There are two reasons Republicans might in fact be reluctant to eliminate the filibuster (and, therefore, to sacrifice Gorsuch and, possibly, other replacement nominees). One is a principled belief that the filibuster is a good idea. The other, far more important in this context, is the justified fear that Ginsburg and Breyer (and perhaps Kennedy as well) will live on until 2020.... it increases the likelihood of a liberal takeover of the Court if Ginsburg, Breyer and Kennedy last it out.

[Editorial] A Roadblock to the Court for Neil Gorsuch (New York Times, 03/24/17)
"Despite his insistence that he would approach every case with an open mind, his record strongly suggests he would rule the way Republicans would like in most, if not all, cases. Over three or four decades on the court, he would help push the law further to the right in many areas. In a speech on the Senate floor, Mr. Schumer pledged to vote against Judge Gorsuch because, he said, “his career and judicial record suggest not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology.” The best rationale for the filibuster, however, is the outrageous behavior of Mr. Schumer’s Republican colleagues, who refused even to consider Judge Merrick Garland, Mr. Obama’s highly qualified choice to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, in February 2016 — solely to hold the seat open for a conservative judge."

Bob Casey: Why I'll vote against Gorsuch (Philadelphia Inquirer [PA], 03/24/17)
"Gorsuch parsed the Surface Transportation Assistance Act to argue that the driver was not protected in his decision to drive away, despite the risk of freezing to death if he stayed put. Fortunately for Maddin, the majority of the appellate court panel disagreed with Gorsuch. His colleagues on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals described Gorsuch's labored interpretation of the statute as "curious" and ruled in favor of the driver. Workers like Maddin would be at greater risk of seeing their health and safety protections undermined if Gorsuch is elevated to the Supreme Court. ... the judge's long record reveals a rigid judicial philosophy that leads him to routinely side with powerful interests and against workers and middle-class families. Gorsuch also has a troubling trend of ruling to limit legal protections for individuals with disabilities. ... We need a Supreme Court justice who will restore fairness, balance, and independence to the highest level of the judiciary. Based on his record, I do not believe Gorsuch would be that kind of justice. I will vote against his confirmation."

Letter: Gorsuch setting bad precedent (Register Guard [OR], 03/24/17)
Nowell King: Why is Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, as a strict constructionist who has sworn to uphold the Constitution, willing to take a seat knowing that Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, was denied a fair hearing?... I encourage anyone who shares my concerns to support members of Congress in filibustering not only his nomination but all of President Trump’s nominees until Judge Garland is given the opportunity to serve that he deserves.

Opinion: To defend rule of law, Dems must filibuster Gorsuch hearing (Austin American-Statesman [TX] , 03/24/17)
Prof. Charles Olney: President Obama chose Merrick Garland — a “consensus nominee” in the words of Republican Senator Orrin Hatch. Like Gorsuch, Garland was eminently qualified and highly regarded by all sides. Moreover, unlike Gorsuch — who would be among the most conservative judges on the Court — Garland is near the middle of the ideological spectrum.... independence is precisely what the breaking of these norms endangers. In the world envisioned by the Republican blockade of Merrick Garland, qualifications for the job are reduced exclusively to partisan interests .... Democrats must challenge the idea that long-standing normative protections against abuse of power can be broken without consequence.

To Be Equal…Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch has not met the Civil Rights standards to earn our support (New Pittsburgh Courier [PA], 03/24/17)
Opinion by Marc H. Morial, National Urban League: More than most other communities, the future of African Americans’ rights and opportunities hang on the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice. That’s why the National Urban League cannot support the nomination of Judge Neill Gorsuch.... what I find most troubling in the record of Judge Gorsuch is his apparent criticism of those who have sought advancement of individual rights through the courts. He consistently has ruled against the rights of workers and consumers who were harmed by employers and corporations, and against disabled students pursuing their right to a meaningful education.... his nomination was the result of an egregious dereliction of duty by the Senate, who refused to give President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, the hearing he was due.

OPINION COLUMNIST: In the case of a trucker’s life vs. his cargo, Judge Neil Gorsuch ruled for the cargo (Denver Post [CO] , 03/24/17)
Ira Chernus, Guest Commentary: Maddin had a reasonable apprehension not just of injury, but of death. Six different judges agreed that he should not have been fired. The only judge who disagreed was Neil Gorsuch.... Gorsuch was not simply applying a clear-cut law. He was inventing his own rather heartless interpretation, one that supported the trucking company, which was out to save its profits, against the trucker, who was out to save his life.... If you think a man so lacking in logic as well as heart has no place on the Supreme Court, let Sens. Michael Bennet [and] Cory Gardner know. Bennet’s vote, especially, could well decide whether or not Gorsuch sits on the Supreme Court for the next 30 or 40 years.

Justice confirmation should be delayed: Letter: Hold up on Gorsuch (Orlando Sentinel [FL] , 03/24/17)
Lorelle Anderson: When Republicans refused to give Merrick Garland a hearing, though he was suggested by Republican Sen. John McCain as a candidate, they stated their opinion — loudly — that there are situations in which a president’s Supreme Court nomination should not be considered. ... The current situation, in which the president and his advisers are being investigated for collusion with a foreign government to subvert our electoral process, is far more serious. Until the investigation is complete and the president has been cleared of any wrongdoing, his nomination to the Supreme Court must be put on hold.

Vail Daily column: Life and the Constitution are in flux (Vail Daily [CO], 03/24/17)
Rev. Dr. Jack R. Van Ens: Judge Neil Gorsuch rejects handling the Constitution as a fluid document. Like his mentor the late Justice Antonin Scalia, whose seat he expects to occupy on the Supreme Court, Gorsuch's rulings are determined by a faulty brand of constitutional interpretation. It's dubbed "originalism," or "textualism," in which Gorsuch assumes we can recover exactly what the Constitution originally meant to our nation's Founders.... Our nation's legal rights for all people are preserved when Supreme Court jurists honor the Constitution's historical context and apply its fluid, not fixed, principles to changing times.

Letter: Sen. Hatch’s hollow rhetoric (Salt Lake Tribune [UT], 03/24/17)
Scott Bell: Sen. Orrin Hatch wants a speedy, fair confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch .... Did you give President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, the same courtesy/professional review, senator? Yes, that Merrick Garland, whom you said there was "no question" could be confirmed to the Supreme Court. The same nominee who is "highly qualified," whose "legal experience is ... impressive," and whom you "would place ... at the top of the list." Except that you didn't. Oh, the hypocrisy.... Your leading role in obstructing Garland's confirmation was the most overt politicization of the judicial process I've ever seen.

Letter to the Editor On Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination (Washington Post, 03/24/17)
Christine Adams: There is no reason to believe that Senate Republicans, who have shown themselves willing to blow up all norms of political behavior, would uphold a “deal” with the Democrats when the next extremist Supreme Court candidate came around. Democrats cannot continue to bring reason, and principled adherence to norms that Republicans have long since abandoned, to a political gun fight. The Democrats should filibuster Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination and any future candidate who is not a consensus choice.

March 24 Letter: Americans should oppose Gorsuch confirmation (San Jose Mercury News [CA], 03/24/17)
Elaine Connolly: many analysts find that Gorsuch’s rulings demonstrate a willingness to side with big corporations over average citizens.... Our nation demands a Supreme Court that will eliminate big money from politics and remove the hyper-partisanism that has overtaken the political process. Therefore, we should all oppose the appointment of Judge Gorsuch.

Examining Judge Neil Gorsuch’s statements past and present (Washington Post, 03/24/17)
Michael Keegan, People for the American Way, Letter to the Editor: The March 18 front-page article “Rulings hint at Gorsuch’s leanings” mentioned a truck driver who was fired when he chose to go for help after being stranded alone and without heat for hours in subzero weather. It should also have mentioned the parents whose 22-year-old son was hit in the head with a stun gun and killed by a police officer after a chase, in violation of the officer’s training. And the family of a mine worker who was electrocuted after his employer failed to give him the adequate safety training given to other workers. And the father attempting to defend his disabled child’s right to an adequate education in a public school.... In each of these cases, Judge Neil Gorsuch tried, sometimes successfully, to slam the courthouse door in the faces of everyday Americans ... in his decade on the bench, he has left a trail of harmed and hurting Americans in his wake.

Letter to the Editor on Garaldn and Gorsuch Supreme Coutr nominations (Washington Post, 03/24/17)
Richard Dine: elections should not wipe away the Republicans’ dereliction of duty and further politicization of our judiciary in their failure to approve Judge Merrick Garland, particularly since then-President Barack Obama was careful to nominate a moderate to encourage bipartisan support. Democrats should boycott voting for Mr. Gorsuch until Republicans agree to give Mr. Garland the consideration he deserves.

Judge Gorsuch Makes It "Personal" (Dorf on Law, 03/23/17)
Prof. Michael Dorf: Judge Gorsuch could have ducked--and did duck--specific questions about the correctness of prior cases by using the might-come-before-me maneuver. But he also repeatedly relied on his newly fashioned just-my-personal-opinion dodge. That shouldn't have worked because it's so clearly incoherent. Even if one is naive enough to think that a judge's policy views have nothing to do with his legal views of contested issues, it goes beyond naiveté into self-contradictory nonsense to think that a judge's view of the law has nothing to do with his view of the law.

Democrats are going to filibuster Gorsuch. It’s the right thing to do. (Washington Post, 03/23/17)
Paul Waldman: Everyone knows who Neil Gorsuch is and what kind of justice he’ll be. Democrats have tried to get him to admit it, knowing that he never will, while he pretends to have an open mind on everything and a judicial philosophy unsullied by any particular normative beliefs about policy. It’s an act, and it’s one that Republican nominees in particular have honed over the years: Claim you can’t say anything about past cases or present cases or future cases, and even if you could, you really have no opinions about anything. Or maybe you have a stray opinion here or there, but those opinions lay upon your conscience with all the weight of a few downy feathers, easily brushed aside when it comes time to apply the law and the Constitution. It’s utterly dishonest, and everyone knows it. Gorsuch was presented to Trump as a possible nominee by the Heritage Foundation; he was on its list not because he’s keen of mind and pure of heart, but because he’s a staunch conservative .... these are truly extraordinary circumstances. The Republicans’ refusal to allow Merrick Garland to get even a hearing to fill this seat was nothing short of a crime against democracy, a twisting of democratic norms beyond all recognition.

Letter: Durbin: Gorsuch showed his true values with his ruling on the 'frozen trucker' case (Chicago Tribune, 03/23/17)
Sen. Dick Durbin: Maddin’s position was ruled on by seven different administrative and court judges. All but one judge ruled against the trucking company. That one judge was Gorsuch.... he 10th Circuit majority noted that Judge Gorsuch cherry-picked one dictionary’s definition to favor the company. Other dictionaries, and the law’s purpose of protecting health and safety, favored Maddin.... we can only look at his record in deciding whether he should be given a lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land.... Every judge brings values to the court and in close, hard cases those values can tip the balance on the meaning of the law or the facts before the court. Al Maddin was more than just an unlucky truck driver. He was a hardworking American entitled to justice in our courts.