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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Editorials and Opinion


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Editorial: Sessions mess makes independent probe of Russian meddling even more important (San Jose Mercury News [CA], 03/02/17)
"During his Senate confirmation hearings, Sessions testified he had no contact with Russians during the presidential campaign, but the Justice Department itself on Wednesday said Sessions had talked with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak twice during that time. This would indicate that Sessions perjured himself. He says the contacts did not involve the campaign, but the Senate questions had not made the distinction."

[Editorial] Jeff Sessions was right to step aside, but a special prosecutor is needed (Newsday [NY], 03/02/17)
"As the flames got increasingly higher Thursday around Attorney General Jeff Sessions for giving misleading answers during his Senate confirmation hearings, he recused himself from supervising any investigations of the campaign .... Sessions was a key Trump campaign adviser and later the nominee for attorney general. Yet when he was asked at his hearing in January whether anyone affiliated with the campaign had any communications with the Russian government, he said he himself had none."

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.

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.

Editorial: Connecting the dots between Russia and Trump’s team (Record [NJ] , 03/02/17)
"Sessions’ performance before the Senate was, at best, extremely misleading, and, at worst, an outright falsehood.... The president must be prepared to make a hard decision about his attorney general if the dots connect Sessions to Russia in conversations about the 2016 campaign."

EDITORIAL: Questions remain on Sessions, Russia and the Trump campaign (Minneapolis Star Tribune [MN], 03/02/17)
"U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, under extreme pressure, has finally recused himself from any formal investigation of Russian links to the presidential campaign. It is literally the least he could do at this point and may not prove enough. The dilemma is one entirely of Sessions’ own making, starting with his decision to withhold from Congress during confirmation hearings that he had met in his office with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — the same Russian official who met privately with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who also failed to be candid about his meeting.... Sessions’ recusal, as necessary as it was, leaves unanswered a central question: Did he mislead Congress under oath? ... Like Flynn, Sessions is rapidly becoming both a distraction and a liability. The Trump administration should not be expending precious political capital defending someone who withheld information from Congress and who has yet to be fully forthcoming. Sessions should consider whether he should resign."

[Editorial] The perils of trusting Team Trump (Boston Globe, 03/02/17)
"THE HUMILIATION of Senator Susan Collins was a minor subplot to Wednesday’s astonishing news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had misled Congress at his confirmation hearings about his contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign. But it’s a fate that other Republicans might want to remember... Whatever you call Sessions’ statements at his confirmation hearing — perjury, or merely deception — they are definitely not the words of a man of integrity."

Editorial: Jeff Sessions' lack of honest disclosure is another calamity for President Trump (Anniston Star [AL] , 03/02/17)
"Sessions’ lack of honest disclosure when pressed by U.S. senators is serious. It damages the credibility of the man who now oversees the U.S. Justice Department, an institution that places a premium on its employees’ integrity."

Editorial: Republicans, Russians, Sessions (Journal Star [Peoria, IL], 03/02/17)
"Indeed, not only is Sessions now a potential subject of any such investigation because of his false testimony during his Senate confirmation hearing regarding contacts he or others in the Trump campaign had pre-election with representatives of Moscow, he now faces accusations that he lied under oath.... Sessions is not exactly known as a guy who cuts others much slack, and arguably he made his own bed here."

[Editorial] Jeff Sessions just proved he can’t investigate Russian meddling (San Francisco Chronicle [CA], 03/02/17)
"In his mind, Sessions did nothing wrong. The meetings were tame events that had nothing to do with the campaign and weren’t worth mentioning, he says. But that easy explanation isn’t convincing, not when the then-senator was a major Trump backer and Russian intelligence agencies were reportedly operating on behalf of the Republican candidate. Any hint of contact deserved to be disclosed, not brushed off. Should more damning details of the meetings emerge, it would be time for him to depart. Lying and misleading behavior can’t be tolerated, especially by the nation’s top cop."

[Editorial] Jeff Sessions misled the Senate. He should resign. (Charlotte Observer [NC] , 03/02/17)
"Jeff Sessions, under oath, misled the U.S. Senate. He didn’t “misspeak.” He didn’t misinterpret a question. He misled. He should resign as U.S. attorney general.... Jeff Sessions is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. He took an oath before the Senate, then told it something he knew to be untrue. Neither Congress nor the American people can trust what he tells them now. He should resign."

Editorial: Bring on a special prosecutor to probe Russia scandal (Chicago Sun Times, 03/02/17)
"Jeff Sessions did the right thing by recusing himself. Whether he might now be compelled to resign remains an open question. The more pressing matter is to appoint a superb special prosecutor who gives no quarter."

[Editorial] Our View: Full probe of Russia links, sans Sessions, needed (Norwich Bulletin [CT] , 03/02/17)
"Sessions' political opponents — as well as some in his own party — are pointing to an apparent lie in his confirmation hearing, during which he asserted he'd had no contact with Russian officials during the Trump campaign. It turns out he had .... Not only should Sessions recuse himself from that probe; it also should be carried out by an independent prosecutor and not the Trump Justice Department.... Meanwhile, if further inquiry establishes the case that Sessions intentionally lied about his contact with Russian officials, he should be removed from office. Anything less than a full independent investigation, and appropriate consequences for those involved, would be an insult to our electoral process and to the American people."

Editorial: A real investigation, now (Albany Times Union [NY], 03/02/17)
"With seemingly each day bringing another drama in Washington, it’s quite possible that by the time you read this, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will have resigned, as he most certainly should. Unlikely as that may be, it seems even less likely that Congress will have put aside partisan differences and taken steps to designate an independent body to look into Russian interference in the 2016 election, or to name a special prosecutor to determine whether any laws were broken by people in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign or inner circle. Yet all that, too, should certainly be done. ... At best, Mr. Sessions evaded a forthright answer. At worst, he lied. Either way, it raises the question of why he simply did not tell the full truth. Was he trying to conceal something? It’s behavior unbecoming the nation’s top law official. It should cost him his job."

Editorial, March 3, 2017: Why did Flynn and Sessions lie about Russian contacts? (Santa Cruz Sentinel [CA], 03/02/17)
"And say this about some of Trump’s closest aides, they seem to have no problem with lying. But when it involves the country’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, AND it involves Russia, the Trump-Russia story gets curiouser and curiouser.... Sen. Sessions would have been the first to call for an independent prosecutor. So, reprising the Flynn question, why would Jeff Sessions have lied about this?"

Editorial: Sessions correctly recuses himself from election probe (Tampa Bay Times [FL], 03/02/17)
"That should clear the way for an objective investigation either by a special prosecutor or an independent commission to get to the bottom of Russia's interference in the presidential election.... At the very least, Sessions' responses during his confirmation hearing were misleading."

[Editorial] Jeff Sessions Had No Choice (New York Times, 03/02/17)
"Sessions is the latest administration official to be caught between his words and the truth on Russia....Sessions’s recusal is only a first necessary step. The second must be the appointment of a special counsel — an independent, nonpartisan actor who can both investigate and prosecute any criminal acts in relation to Russian interference, whether by Mr. Sessions or anyone else. ... Republican leaders in Congress also need to establish a bipartisan select committee to investigate whether the Trump campaign had a role in Russia’s election interference."

[Editorial] Sessions recuses but won't admit his mistake (Baltimore Sun, 03/02/17)
"Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III misrepresented, under oath, his contact with Russian officials during the campaign. No amount of tortured reasoning, no explanation about what "hat" he was wearing when those meetings took place, whether as a United States Senator or surrogate for Donald Trump, no grasping for broader context or how many foreign officials he met with last year changes that.... At best, it was misleading, but it might also be fairly described as a lie. ... we would not object to his departure, for many reasons. Certainly, it isn't clear why the attorney general should stay when National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had to resign"

Now that Sessions is officially slippery, a special prosecutor must probe Trump-Russia ties | Editorial (Star-Ledger Newark [NJ] , 03/02/17)
"We don't know whether Sessions was deliberately evasive on Jan. 10th. "I should have slowed down and said I did meet one Russian official a couple times," he says. But now he's just one of many untrustworthy people authoring this sordid tale, and when one of them is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, you know we're just getting started."

[Editorial] The Sessions bombshell proves need for real Russia investigation (Sacramento Bee [CA] , 03/02/17)
"It’s becoming clearer by the day that to get to the bottom of Russian interference in the presidential election, we need a bipartisan select committee in Congress, plus a special prosecutor. The latter is unavoidable after the latest bombshell: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, while he was a U.S. senator and an adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign, met twice last year with the Russian ambassador to the United States..... Whether Sessions stays or goes, he is entirely compromised on this issue."

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.

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.

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!"

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.

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.

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.

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.