Editorials and Opinion
Protect women's rights, no to Gorsuch (Billings Gazette [MT,WY], 02/13/17)
David E. Wanzenried, Letter to the Editor: The U.S. Senate should not confirm U.S. Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Article was biased toward Supreme Court nominee (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 02/13/17)
Susan Cunningham: Democratic senators who have done a thorough vetting of Gorsuch’s record on the bench. ... have found that Gorsuch’s rulings favor corporate interests over average Americans and almost always give Republicans electoral advantages. His decisions on matters of social policy are way out of the mainstream and certainly don’t reflect an understanding of the needs of ordinary citizens.
To Bork or Not to Bork? The Old Fight That Shows Democrats Why, and How, to Stop Gorsuch: Trump, like Reagan, squandered his chance to offer a unifying pick to satisfy his most conservative supporters (Daily Beast, 02/13/17)
JULIAN ZELIZER: there are many reasons for Democrats to consider using their power to filibuster his nomination. After Republicans refused to confirm former President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland—leaving many Democrats to feel like this is a “stolen seat”—the president could have sent a consensus nominee. After having lost the popular election by large numbers and now stimulating fears that he won’t respect our system of checks and balances, this was the moment to demonstrate that he understands the tensions he’s helped create. Rather than a pick intended to please the right, he could have selected someone who Democrats could have felt good about supporting even if it came from this administration.
But he did not. With Gorsuch, Trump has put forward a nominee who comes from the most conservative part of the judicial spectrum. As an originalist who is a favorite of the Federalist Society, Gorsuch has a very conservative record on key issues like religious rights, reproductive rights, gay marriage, gun rights, criminal justice and more. There is good reason to believe that he would uphold the principles of the late Justice Antonin Scalia and pose a serious threat to a number of important public policies. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, writing in The New York Times, warned that Gorsuch refused in their closed-door interview to answer “rudimentary” questions about executive power, campaign finance, voting rights or the constitutionality of Trump’s refugee ban.
As Senate Democrats consider whether or not to filibuster this nominee, they should take another look at what went down when Senators were considering the case of Robert Bork. Rather than a model that they need to avoid, it in fact offers an important lesson about the legitimate reasons to block a high court nominee.
How Many Deceptions Can Chuck Grassley Fit in Just One Statement? (People For blog, 02/13/17)
Paul Gordon: Obama did not have two Supreme Court vacancies and nominees, as Grassley states. He had three. Grassley’s “alternative fact” that Merrick Garland was never nominated to the Court must be confronted whenever he uses it as part of his cloud of obfuscation.... partisanship explains another deceptive part of Grassley’s statement. It’s clear that he wants Republicans to get credit for not filibustering the SCOTUS nominees of the last two Democratic presidents (of course, you can’t filibuster a nominee who’s hasn’t even been allowed a hearing).... Both Presidents Clinton and Obama nominated jurists who could garner supermajority support in the Senate. For Grassley to demand credit for not filibustering them takes some chutzpah.
Had President Trump, like Clinton and Obama, nominated a jurist who could garner that kind of support, then no one would be talking about the need for 60 votes .... Unfortunately, Trump chose to nominate Neil Gorsuch, whose history of favoring the wealthy and powerful does not warrant majority support, let also supermajority support.
Justice Alito Declares “Carbon Dioxide Is Not a Pollutant” in a Candid, Confused Speech (Slate.com, 02/13/17)
Mark Joseph Stern: Alito aligned himself with conservative judges like Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who think agencies have been given too much power to legislate.... But then Alito went off the rails.... Alito’s comments here are straight out of the climate change denialist playbook—and were rejected in Massachusetts v. EPA, for good reason. ... There is no textual support for Alito’s assertion that the law was meant to be limited to “soot or smoke.”
But what’s really odd about Alito’s comments on Saturday is that he seems to have forgotten key details of the case.... Those “unelected bureaucrats” at the EPA were refusing to enforce a law passed by the people’s “elected representatives.” And the judiciary stepped in to ensure that the bureaucrats followed the law.... embedded in his fulmination against climate science is a legitimately confused and contradictory legal stance that suggests that, for Alito, the only valid regulations are the ones he agrees with.
Team Trump’s Litmus Test for Judges: Blind Deference to the President (People For blog, 02/12/17)
Drew Courtney : Americans have a mountain of evidence that Donald Trump’s chief criterion for selecting judges isn’t competence or independence but blind deference to Donald Trump himself.... Gorsuch’s supporters have attempted to paint the nominee as an independent figure who can be trusted to put the Constitution above loyalty to the man who put him on the bench. That claim fails on two counts. First, there’s no evidence to support it. And second, if Neil Gorsuch is really willing to stand up for judicial independence, why was he nominated by Donald Trump?
Letter: Christina Maxwell: Senate Democrats cannot give Gorsuch a pass (Daily Hampshire Gazette [MA], 02/12/17)
"Too many important issues are at stake — the Affordable Care Act, voting rights, and marriage equality among them — for Democrats in the Senate to give him a pass. ... Trump’s remarks are an assault on the democratic cornerstone of separation of powers, and Senate Democrats must use the confirmation process to demand that Gorsuch say so out loud."
Gorsuch unlikely to stand up to Trump (Day [CT] , 02/12/17)
Elliot Mincberg: "Calling Trump’s attacks on the judiciary “disheartening” and “demoralizing” says nothing about his willingness to stand up to abuses of authority, and isn’t even very strong criticism of Trump’s wholesale attacks on the judicial branch. Gorsuch has refused to discuss with senators substantive questions that might say something about his views on Trump’s actions .... his unwillingness to question executive branch officials’ abuse of their authority suggests that he will not be a Supreme Court justice who will stand up to the abuse of presidential authority by Trump."
Sen. Bob Casey should lead on the Supreme Court and oppose Gorsuch (Philadelphia Tribune [PA], 02/11/17)
Reverend Dr. Robert P. Shine, Op-Ed: Judge Gorsuch has argued that liberals should stop relying on the courts to pursue what he calls their “social agenda” — little things like equality and the future of public education. ... He embraces a fringe judicial philosophy, one that was rejected even by Scalia, that would make it harder for agencies to enforce the laws that protect the American people.
Here’s the bottom line: In our constitutional system of government, Americans rely on the Supreme Court to uphold our rights. Judge Gorsuch’s record does not demonstrate he is committed to the principle that the Constitution and the rule of law are meant to protect all of us, not just the rich and powerful. And that makes him unfit for the Supreme Court. Not a hard call, Senator Casey.
Fire Sen. McConnell (Orlando Sentinel [FL] , 02/10/17)
Jan Jennings, Letter to the Editor: His censorship of Sen. Elizabeth Warren last week during the confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions is outrageous. ... His refusal to even grant a hearing for Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, was abhorrent, especially now that he is trying to ram Neil Gorsuch and all of Trump’s wholly unqualified Cabinet candidates down our throats.
Judicial Independence ≠ Crumpling Under Trump’s Pressure (People For blog, 02/10/17)
Paul Gordon: So this week, we saw a real-time example of how Judge Gorsuch would stand up to political pressure from Donald Trump if confirmed: He won’t. In his very first test, Gorsuch crumbled before the pressure put on him by the president, clearly willing to toss the courts’ (and his own) integrity out the window upon executive command.
Does Gorsuch Equate Judicial Independence with Conservative Rulings? (People For blog, 02/10/17)
Paul Gordon: Gorsuch gave us his vision of judicial independence over a decade ago in a National Review article called “Liberals ‘N’ Lawsuits,” .... He contended that progressives were improperly using the courts to achieve ends such as church-state separation and marriage equality, which he reduced to “social policy.” ... Judge Gorsuch apparently believes that independence is defined by whether the result is politically conservative or not ....
Oppose Gorsuch (Kansas City Star, 02/10/17)
Jermaine Reed, Councilman, Kansas City, Letter to the Editor: Trump evidently hopes that Gorsuch will provide him with a rubber stamp as he attacks the rights of immigrants, women and minorities. As a judge, Gorsuch ruled that employers could deny women access to contraception coverage in their health care plans based on religion, and he has complained about LGBTQ people seeking equality in the courts. He has also tried to make it harder for workers and consumers to seek justice through class-action lawsuits and workplace discrimination laws.
Neil Gorsuch isn’t someone we can trust to be a check on Trump’s unconstitutional agenda. Sen. Claire McCaskill should oppose his nomination.
Charles Schumer: Judge Gorsuch, We Won’t Be Fooled Again (New York Times, 02/10/17)
"The bar is always high to achieve a seat on the Supreme Court, but in these unusual times — when there is unprecedented stress on our system of checks and balances — the bar is even higher for Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to demonstrate independence. In order to clear it, he will have to convince 60 of my colleagues that he will not be influenced by politics, parties or the president. The judiciary is the last and most important check on an overreaching president with little respect for the rule of law.
The only way to demonstrate the independence necessary is for Judge Gorsuch to answer specific questions about the judiciary and his judicial philosophy.... But over the course of an hour, he refused to answer even the most rudimentary questions.... The overarching lesson of Chief Justice Roberts can be summed up in a familiar phrase: Fool me once, shame on them; fool me twice, shame on me.... A truly independent judge would have the fortitude to condemn the president’s remarks, not just express disapproval, and to do it publicly."
[Editorial] Jeff Sessions carries the weight of a divided nation on his shoulders (Dallas Morning News, 02/10/17)
"Sessions begins his duties under the shadow of as many doubts about his suitability for the office as any attorney general in the modern era. ... First, many asked whether such an early and vocal supporter of candidate Donald Trump would say no, when necessary, to a president who's shown such little patience for dissent, disagreement or even delay. Many also questioned whether Sessions, given his record as a lawmaker and federal prosecutor, would zealously enforce civil rights, voting rights and other laws, including the ban on the use of torture by intelligence agents.... This newspaper remains unconvinced that Sessions was the best choice for the office he now holds."
Letter to the Editor: Neil Gorsuch: Religious freedom (Seattle Times [WA] , 02/10/17)
Jim Erckmann: Gorsuch believes that a company can refuse service to anyone who does not adhere to its religious beliefs. This legal philosophy opens the door to unlimited discrimination for a wide variety of motivations, with an agent of discrimination only having to profess that this is what it/he/she believes. This would be a disaster for real religious freedom.
Gorsuch poor choice to fill Supreme Court vacancy (Letters) (Republican [Springfield, MA], 02/09/17)
William J. Paquette: While serving on 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Supreme Court appointee Neil Gorsuch not only supported Hobby Lobby's case but went even further by writing that not just corporations but individual owners should have the right to challenge the ACA mandate. In light of this decision that, in effect, recognizes a Constitutional right to engage in discrimination, shouldn't we ask ourselves if this is a judge that we want appointed to the highest court in the land?
Letter to the Editor: Gorsuch not fit for court (Bismarck [ND] Tribune, 02/09/17)
Kate Black: I firmly believe that Sen. Heidi Heitkamp must oppose Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch given his opposition to women’s rights and willingness to put corporations first at the expense of everyone else.
Gorsuch has proven time and again that he values the rights of corporations over the individual worker.
Letter to the Editor: (Boston Herald, 02/09/17)
Krista Maruca: There are more left-leaning Americans than not. So why would Trump nominate someone so far to the right of the average American? ... I’ll be supporting a Democratic filibuster of this nomination until Trump names someone who is more representative of American opinion.
Letter to the Editor: Pick a moderate (Gainesville Sun [FL], 02/09/17)
Duane Colwell: The actual, fundamental reason for the 60-vote rule is not necessarily to allow filibusters; it is to get moderate candidates. The obvious solution, which so many like Hart do not recognize, is to refuse Gorsuch, who will never get 60 votes, and pick a moderate who can garner 60 votes.
No doubt there are plenty of candidates available who are well qualified and would be acceptable to at least 60 Republicans and Democrats.
Why the Ninth Circuit Shouldn't Be Split (Recorder, 02/09/17)
The Recorder reached out to practitioners to let them make their best arguments for keeping the circuit as it is. Here’s what they had to say ...
HOW THE DEMOCRATS CAN STOP NEIL GORSUCH: And why they absolutely must. (Vanity Fair, 02/09/17)
Scott Turow: he is right-wing—very far right in fact—and it’s imperative that Americans understand that. And, therefore, it’s also important that Democrats approach Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing with a calculated strategy that emphasizes two avenues of attack. First, that Gorsuch is filling a seat that by any objective reading of the Constitution belongs to Merrick Garland. Second, that Gorsuch’s views on a host of questions are out of step with a clear majority of the American people.... Declaring that liberals have tried to use the courts to accomplish their policy agendas is true. But failing to recognize that conservatives have been equally, if not more guilty of the same thing, is infuriating.
Senate Democrats should vote against confirming Judge Gorsuch: Letter to the Editor (Cleveland Plain Dealer [OH], 02/08/17)
Jeffrey Bendix: Senate Democrats should vote against confirming Judge Gorsuch for the simple reason that the president who nominated him was not elected by a majority of voters. Therefore, anyone he nominates to the court would not, by definition, represent the will of the American people and thus should not be on the court.
I am confident that voters will understand and agree with this argument, in the same way they went along with Republicans' refusal to act on Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Garland.
Commentary: Cabinet is small potatoes; Gorsuch is the real battle (Austin American-Statesman [TX] , 02/08/17)
Opinion by Brian Smith: Trump’s advantages at the Cabinet level vanish with Gorsuch, as court vacancies are rare and carry greater policy consequences.... A successful filibuster could pressure the administration to withdraw Gorsuch and replace him with someone more acceptable to the minority party. Democrats hold yet another advantage: Trump’s historically low approval ratings entering the White House. A lengthy or unsuccessful Supreme Court nomination process could burn political capital, causing these ratings to drop even further.
A Gorsuch nomination defeat would embolden the Democrats heading into the 2018 midterm elections and set up the potential for the Democrats to exact revenge for their failed 2016 Merrick Garland Supreme Court nomination and leave a future seat open until after the 2020 election.
Your view: Letter to the editor: First question for Gorsuch (Joplin Globe [MO], 02/08/17)
Don Ayers: Let me suggest the first question to be asked of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch: “Judge Gorsuch, based on your expertise on the U.S. Constitution, and your knowledge of the historical precedents of how the U.S. Senate vetting process works for Supreme Court nominees, please explain why your nomination should be considered before the Senate considers the nomination of Merritt Garland, who was nominated and presented for consideration by a sitting president as outlined in our Constitution?”
Editorial: Quashing dissent isn’t just a Trump thing, it’s the new Republican way (San Jose Mercury News [CA], 02/08/17)
"Racist and sexist overtones were glaring. The predominantly white male GOP officially rebuked Warren, a woman, for reading a letter written 30 years ago by another woman, the late Coretta Scott King. The widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King excoriated then judicial nominee and now attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions for his appalling record on civil rights. ... Sessions’ voting record in Congress has continued the pattern of disdain for voting rights and other civil rights causes that Coretta Scott King saw in 1986. These are among the most important laws that attorneys general are supposed to enforce. He was rejected for a seat on the bench in 1986 and he is a terrible nominee for this office."
Letter: Don't cave on Gorsuch (Quad City Times [IL,IA] , 02/08/17)
Mary Simon: So, a recent Quad-City Times editorial thinks that the tantrum-throwing Republicans who wouldn't even talk to, let alone bring up for a vote, the highly qualified, middle-of-the-road U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, should be given their way without a fight.... No soul, just the right frame of mind. That's what we'll get with Judge Neil Gorsuch. Why should Democrats cave to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's and President Donald Trump's blackmail of invoking "the nuclear option?"
The Fate of Environmental Law in a Trump-Era Supreme Court: Given what we know now, those laws will almost inevitably be weakened in ways that are hard to predict (Scientific American, 02/08/17)
Guest blog By John Echeverria: Gorsuch has staked out positions on several crosscutting legal questions that have important implications for environmental law .... Critics of government regulation sometimes seek to apply the so-called nondelegation doctrine, which purportedly limits the power of Congress to make delegations of rule-making authority to administrative agencies. The Supreme Court has upheld nondelegation challenges to congressional enactments in only a handful of cases, both decided in the 1930’s, and the late Justice Scalia wrote an opinion for the modern Court rejecting a nondelegation challenge to the Clean Air Act. In a highly visible dissent filed in 2015, however, Judge Gorsuch offered a full –throated defense of the doctrine, suggesting he might try to lead an effort on the Supreme Court to breathe new life into the doctrine, an ominous prospect for modern environmental statutes that are commonly drafted with a broad brush.
Gorsuch also has written opinions suggesting sympathy for the argument that courts should be reluctant to recognize that private environmental plaintiffs have “standing.”
Letter to the editor: Garland should be seated before Gorsuch on Supreme Court (Portland Press Herald [ME] , 02/08/17)
Thomas N. Rusk: Judge Garland, the nominee of an elected president, should be seated first and the next vacancy given to Judge Gorsuch.
Judge Gorsuch, an originalist defender of the Constitution as written and intended, would gain the respect of even his most vociferous critics were he to speak out for same.