Editorials and Opinion
The Gorsuch confirmation hearing is about politics, not law (Boston Globe, 03/21/17)
Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist: Supreme Court nominees should be obliged to give substantive answers to serious questions during their confirmation hearings: I’ve pressed that argument in columns over the years, on the grounds that senators can’t fulfill their duty to check and balance the judiciary unless they insist on exploring the constitutional philosophy and legal reasoning of the nominees before them.... Supreme Court justices do legislate. Again and again they render decisions that dramatically shape American law .... Gorsuch should be made to give answers to serious legal questions.... The Supreme Court has never been above politics.
Just Say No: Ted Cruz’s claim that Neil Gorsuch has super-legitimacy underscores why Democrats should filibuster him. (U.S. News & World Report, 03/21/17)
Robert Schlesinger, Managing Editor for Opinion: Cruz is right that the people did speak in November; but they chose Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump. Unfortunately under our Constitution, "the people" don't select the president; that job falls to the Electoral College.... a special regard for the American people's wishes here should preclude confirming anyone (like Gorsuch) who was on Trump's well-publicized pre-election short-list for the seat.
The second reason Democrats should oppose Gorsuch implacably – and they mentioned this repeatedly during the nomination hearing Monday – has to do with the treatment accorded to Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's nominee for the same seat.
LETTER: Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch and 'religious freedom' (Colorado Springs Gazette, 03/21/17)
Ken Burrows: Gorsuch has more than once written in support of granting "religious freedom" exemptions from generally applicable law, making other citizens' equality and rights subordinate to religious beliefs they do not hold. So the question for Gorsuch is: Do you actually agree with the original meanings of the framers or will you continue to defer to "religious freedom" claims even when doing so results in "abridging the natural and equal rights" of other citizens?
Yes, Judge Gorsuch, there are Republican and Democratic judges (Southern Poverty Law Center, 03/21/17)
Richard Cohen, SPLC President: Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch said that there is “no such thing as a Republican judge or a Democratic judge – we just have judges in this country.” My guess is that every senator on the Judiciary Committee, particularly the Republicans, knew that what he was saying wasn’t really true, and I’m sure that Judge Gorsuch knew it as well.
As an exhaustive study published in 2006 by Cass Sunstein and other distinguished academics demonstrated, judges appointed by Republicans tend to vote differently than judges appointed by Democrats.... t’s because presidents of both parties seek out nominees whose judicial philosophy mirrors their own.... If there were not, Judge Garland would be on the Supreme Court today
Democrats must make the Gorsuch hearings about Trump’s contempt for our democracy (Washington Post, 03/21/17)
Sarah Posner: Democrats need to hammer away at Gorsuch to reveal his views on judicial independence.... Trump’s attacks on the judiciary, for instance, are so far outside the mainstream of normal presidential behavior that it would be malpractice for Democrats to fail to make this a subplot. In other words, the Democratic opposition to Gorsuch must be based on far more than his judicial philosophy and history.
[Editorial] Neil Gorsuch Faces the Senate (New York Times, 03/21/17)
"Judge Gorsuch became President Trump’s nominee only after Senate Republicans’ outrageous and unprecedented blockade of Merrick Garland .... there’s little doubt that he would be among the most conservative justices in the court’s modern history, with negative consequences for workers’ rights, women’s reproductive freedom, politics uncorrupted by vast sums of dark money, the separation of church and state, the health of the environment and the protection of the most vulnerable members of society."
Letter to the Editor: Gorsuch (Los Angeles Times, 03/21/17)
Jill Chapin: Thomas Jefferson would beg to differ with Gorsuch's assessment of rigid, inflexible document that Gorsuch presumes our Constitution to be.
Judge Gorsuch and the frozen truck driver (CNN, 03/21/17)
Paul Callan: The other judges on the 10th Circuit were willing to apply a dollop of common sense ... The twin brother of textualism in constitutional law is the doctrine of originalism, which holds that when interpreting the Constitution, a judge should stay as close to the "original intent" of the Founding Fathers as possible. But even true believers in originalism have to bend to the reality of changing times on occasion. After all the 13 original states often used punishments such as whippings and displaying criminals in stocks and pillories until the mid-19th century. Today even most originalists would find such punishments to be "cruel and unusual" violations of the US Constitution.
Gorsuch would be wise to remember the oft oft-quoted words of Scalia, "I'm an originalist and a textualist, not a nut." Even Scalia probably would have let the truck driver thaw out at the gas station.
Can Neil Gorsuch Answer a Question? On Day 2 of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, it remains unclear. (Slate.com, 03/21/17)
Mark Joseph Stern: thus far, he has not offered real answers to real questions.... What is odd is that Gorsuch refuses to say anything of substance .... Compounding the oddness of this situation is that Gorsuch is on the record questioning firmly established precedent. Most famously, as a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Gorsuch wrote an opinion questioning the wisdom of so-called Chevron deference, which requires courts to defer to executive agencies’ reasonable interpretations of law.
Letter to the Editor (Washington Post, 03/21/17)
Herb Savage: It was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) inexcusable, un-American and supremely undemocratic decision, and his alone, that Merrick Garland would not sit on the Supreme Court. Any war over judicial nominations can be laid at his feet.
Neil Gorsuch Is Not Another Scalia. He’s the Next John Roberts. Gorsuch puts a handsome face on an ugly ideology. (Nation, 03/21/17)
Ari Berman: “The existing Voting Rights Act, the constitutionality has been upheld, and I don’t have any issue with that,” Roberts answered.... Yet eight years later, Roberts authored the majority opinion in Shelby County v. Holder gutting the Voting Rights Act. He’s aggressively pushed the court to the right rather than calling balls and strikes, writing or joining reactionary opinions .... we know enough about Gorsuch to surmise that he was nominated by Donald Trump to be a smooth-talking advocate on the bench for a far right ideology.
Gorsuch’s Hollow Rationale For Evasion (People For blog, 03/21/17)
Paul Gordon: Judge Gorsuch has bobbed and weaved around every attempt to get at the most important issue: his approach to judging. He won’t give even a hint on how he would have ruled in cases that the Supreme has already decided, whether recently or long ago.
His explanation: If he gives his opinion on an already-decided case, he’ll be seen as having pre-judged subsequent cases building off the already-decided one.
Under this reasoning, once the Supreme Court issues an opinion—revealing how each justice voted and analyzed the case—then all the justices have pre-judged all future cases building off of that one case.
Gorsuch an originalist? Senators should make him prove it (Huffington Post, 03/21/17)
Elizabeth B. Wydra, Constitutional Accountability Center: Part of the heavy burden Gorsuch carried into this week’s hearing is his need to prove that he is not – as we discuss in our latest Issue Brief (and echoed by Senator Amy Klobuchar in her first-round questioning) – a “selective originalist” who applies the text and history only of parts of the Constitution he may agree with ideologically, while giving short shrift to the parts he may not agree with.
Remember Merrick Garland at the ballot box in 2018 (Washington Post, 03/21/17)
John DesMarteau, Letter to the Editor: In refusing to consider Mr. Garland’s nomination, Mr. McConnell defined a president’s term in office as being three years when it comes to judicial appointments.... Americans must send Mr. McConnell a message that his actions regarding the nomination of Mr. Garland were not acceptable.
Three Questions Senators Must Ask Judge Gorsuch (American Constitution Society Blog, 03/21/17)
Guest Post by Todd A. Cox, NAACP Legal Defense Fund: LDF has identified the three key questions senators should ask about Judge Gorsuch’s record on civil rights.
Schumer Rightly Asks GOP: Why the Rush on Gorsuch? (People For blog, 03/21/17)
Paul Gordon: As Chuck Schumer said today: "I’d like to point out that it is the height of irony that Republicans held this Supreme Court seat open for nearly a calendar year while President Obama was in office, but are now rushing to fill the seat for a president whose campaign is under investigation by the FBI. ...
It is unseemly to be moving forward so fast on confirming a Supreme Court justice with a lifetime appointment while this “big, gray cloud” of an FBI investigation hangs over the presidency."
Letter to the Editor (Los Angeles Times, 03/21/17)
David Weisenberg: When the Constitution was first written, the framers did not explicitly give the Supreme Court the right to review the constitutionality of a law. This right was established only later, in the case of Marbury vs. Madison, and was considered by many to be a broad overreach of the authority of the court.
It seems to me that a true originalist would have to recuse himself
Opinion The myth that is Neil Gorsuch's 'originalism' (Los Angeles Times, 03/21/17)
Stephen F. Rohde, Letter to the Editor: The best refutation of the myth of “originalism” being espoused by Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch was explained by the late Justice William Brennan. He pointed out that trying to “find legitimacy in fidelity” to the intentions of the framers of the U.S. Constitution was “little more than arrogance cloaked as humility.”
Gorsuch Would Use "Originalism" to Affirm Right-Wing Agenda (Truthout, 03/21/17)
Marjorie Cohn: Largely discredited by courts and legal scholars, originalism is ultimately a way to reach a right-wing result under the guise of following the original intent of the authors of the Constitution.... "The bottom line is the views of many self-proclaimed originalists line up, not with those of We the People in 1789, but with those of the right-wing of the Republican Party in 2017," according to Sunstein. "Whether we're speaking of campaign-finance laws, commercial advertising, gun rights, affirmative action, gay rights, property rights or abortion, originalism has failed to prevent judges from voting in accordance with their political predilections."
Gorsuch’s Disturbing Cases: Where There’s Smoke … (People For blog, 03/21/17)
Paul Gordon: Just because Gorsuch doesn’t rule in favor of corporations every single time, doesn’t mean that he hasn’t shown a clear and persistent pattern of twisting the law and facts of a case to serve his own ends. The scales of justice are supposed to be evenly weighed, without exception. When a judge has a tendency to tip that balance in one direction, it disrupts justice ... as PFAW’s analysis of Judge Gorsuch’s dissents reveals, out of 11 dissents where he took a side with regard to corporations, consumers, and workers, all but one was pro-corporate or anti-consumer/worker.
Gorsuch is poor choice for Supreme Court (Gazette [Cedar Rapids, IA], 03/21/17)
Cathy Glasson, guest column: Judge Gorsuch has proved throughout his career, and especially since becoming a federal judge, that he will side with corporations over working people every chance he gets.... Judge Gorsuch has turned his back on working people like me when they have looked to the courts for justice.... President Donald Trump had not only promised to pick his Supreme Court judges from Federalist Society-approved candidates, but also publicly said the Heritage Foundation would help him put together his list.
These are the same out-of-state special interests that were behind the recent legislation in Iowa that silences the voices of nurses, teachers and firefighters across our state.
Gorsuch could hasten erosion of women’s rights (Honolulu Star Advertiser, 03/21/17)
Op-Ed, Island Voices, Andrea Freeman: Filling the vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat is a matter of urgency in these tumultuous times, but it is also one demanding cautious and careful consideration.
Would Gorsuch Safeguard Democracy? Trump's Supreme Court pick might favor big money pouring into U.S. elections. (U.S. News & World Report, 03/21/17)
Allegra Chapman: Neil Gorsuch, a 10th Circuit appellate judge and by all accounts "nice guy," prides himself on being an "originalist," much like his would-be predecessor, Justice Antonin Scalia. This alone gives many progressives pause; under an "originalist" viewpoint, many of the rights we now take for granted – marriage equality, reproductive freedom and others – would not be constitutionally safeguarded for the sole reason that our founders did not and could not have had them in mind when drafting our democracy's initial documents.
This Is About Destroying the Presidency of Barack Obama: Digesting the Supreme Court nomination hearings of Neil Gorsuch. (Esquire, 03/21/17)
Charles P. Pierce: the basic absurdity of this nomination—and, thus, yesterday's hearing—runs on two tracks. The first, of course, is that he shouldn't have been nominated at all, because there shouldn't have been a vacancy to fill. The Republican legislative majorities simply decided that the previous president should not have been allowed to fill the seat left open with the death of Antonin Scalia because the previous president was a Democratic politician.... the president* sub-contracted this selection to various wingnut welfare legal institutions, which makes Gorsuch's repeated refusals to talk about issues going forward an absurdity in and of itself.