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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Editorials and Opinion


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Gorsuch not the independent voice New Hampshire needs (Telegraph [Nashua, NH], 03/12/17)
Amelia Keane, Local Commentary: As the gatekeepers of the seats of power on the president’s cabinet and the Supreme Court, the Senate is more important than ever in making sure our country continues down a path toward equality and freedom, not fear and hatred.

The Filibuster of Judge Neil Gorsuch (Daily Kos, 03/11/17)
By webranding: There are several issues I care about more than just about anything else. The environment. Voting rights. Women’s rights. On these three issues I am not sure Trump could have picked a worse person than Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Do the right thing (San Antonio Express-News [TX] , 03/11/17)
Paul Hess, Letter to the Editor: In light of the Republican senators’ dereliction of their constitutional duty to consider Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court in 2016, I believe the honorable thing for Judge Neil Gorsuch to do is to remove his name from consideration until Judge Garland is given the hearing he deserves. Judge Gorsuch is young enough. ... With anticipated Supreme Court vacancies coming up, he will have his chance to have the hearing shamefully denied to Judge Garland.

Senate Must Demand Answers About Gorsuch’s Work for Scandal-Plagued Department of Justice (Center for American Progress, 03/10/17)
Billy Corriher and Michele L. Jawando: Before voting on Gorsuch’s nomination, the Senate must ask him about his work at the DOJ. A former DOJ official said in 2007 that the department engaged in a “destructive pattern of partisan political actions,” including political prosecutions. The same official said that the George W. Bush administration “rewarded loyalty over all else.” Without more answers, the American people cannot be confident that Gorsuch will act as an independent check on the executive branch.

The Very Legitimacy of Our Democracy Is Under Threat: Donald Trump’s presidency is just one element of our disintegrating democracy. (Nation, 03/10/17)
Russ Feingold: To understand the roots of our current crisis, we must first look to the orchestrated attack on the pillars of our democracy that began seven years ago, starting with the lawless Citizens United decision. In the years that followed, the attack continued with the recent wave of racially targeted voter-suppression laws and last year’s hijacking of the Supreme Court by the GOP, capped off by a president who lost the popular-vote margin by nearly 3 million votes. ... the legitimacy crisis facing our system of government has also extended to the judicial branch, when, last year, GOP senators decided to abandon their constitutional responsibilities by blocking Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. They offered no legal justification for their actions, fully admitting that their sole intention was to sacrifice the legitimacy of the Court on a bet that a Republican would win the White House and they could secure their own nominee. I have never seen a politics more cynical than this strategy, crafted by majority leader Mitch McConnell. The severity of this action and what it means for the country cannot be overstated, because the legitimacy of the Court will be questioned for a generation. The difference between Garland and Donald Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch, could be the difference between overturning or cementing voter-suppression laws, with future elections in the balance.

What senators should ask Neil Gorsuch (The Hill, 03/09/17)
Gabe Roth, Fix the Court, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR: “In recent years, the Supreme Court has become the most powerful, least accountable part of our federal government, as the justices have picked our president, allowed the extremely wealthy to greatly influence our elections and made countless decisions of life and death. In your view, has the court become too powerful?”

Guest opinion: Gorsuch dissents on women's health care (Billings Gazette [MT,WY], 03/09/17)
Martha Stahl: I’m gravely concerned about President Trump’s nominee for the United States Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch. When it comes to checking extreme politicians’ overreach into our most personal health care decisions, I hope both of Montana’s senators will prioritize women and strongly oppose his confirmation.

Who is Judge Gorsuch? (Just Security, 03/09/17)
Jennifer Daskal: it is fair to probe the issue – to figure out what positions he took as Principal Deputy, to seek to understand how much he pushed for and supported such broad assertions of executive authority (many of which were ultimately rejected by the judicial branch), and to assess whether these views reflect his current thinking on these critically important issues now. This is particularly true these days, in light of a President who claims total, unreviewable discretion of his immigration policy, demonstrates a willingness to assert national security justifications without pointing to any credible evidence in support, and has shown extreme contempt for anyone who disagrees with him — including judges, the media, and his own intelligence community. Given the current political climate, understanding Judge Gorsuch’s views on executive authority is of critical importance.

Blinding hypocrisy in Gorsuch column (Billings Gazette [MT,WY], 03/09/17)
Shelley Thomson, Letter to the Editor: in Merrick Garland we had a wonderful candidate who did not receive a hearing or a vote. The seat was stolen from the Democratic president, and while it’s convenient to leave this detail out, it’s also intentionally misleading and dishonest. For those voters interested in fairness, ask yourself why, in Montana, we’re being inundated with paid advertisements endorsing a Supreme Court judicial nominee? ... Fagg insists that Gorsuch should be confirmed without delay. He appears to be holding the opinion that the principles of fairness do not apply to those that he does not endorse. The hypocrisy is blinding.

Guest opinion: Gorsuch no friend of U.S. workers (Billings Gazette [MT,WY], 03/09/17)
Al Ekblad, Montana State AFL-CIO: Working Montanans should be deeply concerned by President Trump’s choice for the U.S. Supreme Court. Federal Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch’s record shows he’s comfortable using the law to enrich Wall Street bankers and trampling the rights of working people....Gorsuch appears to believe in legal theories that are well outside the mainstream and that would hinder the federal government’s ability to effectively address national problems affecting Americans. If confirmed, he would likely continue to endanger important protections for workers, as well as clean air, water and basic safety regulations for food and medicine. He’s demonstrated he will represent corporate interests over everyday people at a time when America needs a justice who will protect the rights of all of us.

Letter to the editor: Oppose Neil Gorsuch (Camden Herald [Rockland, ME], 03/09/17)
Sarah Holland: Americans should be concerned about the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the position of Supreme Court Justice.... He has a history of favoring religious rights over civil rights, and corporate rights over individual rights with the most notable example being the Hobby Lobby case.... with Neil Gorsuch as Supreme Court Justice, corporations would become more powerful and hold more influence over our government, existing laws involving everything from civil rights, voting rights, environmental protections, labor standards, reproductive rights and more could be reversed.

No cloture for Gorsuch: There are strong reasons for liberals as well as progressives to oppose Gorsuch. (Nation of Change, 03/09/17)
Op-Ed by Rob Hager: no other vote prior to the 2018 election, other than for war or another Supreme Court nominee, will be more consequential than the Gorsuch cloture vote. Democrats will define their utility as an opposition party on the basis of this Supreme Court appointment.... Compromise short of such a referendum is possible. There do exist ultra-conservative judges who, like Gorsuch, would vote against, on “strict construction” grounds, the liberal precedents they both dislike, but who, unlike Gorsuch, would also have the intellectual honesty not to pretend that overturning anti-corruption laws is also strict construction of a Constitution which nowhere provides any formulas for turning money into speech.

Neil Gorsuch and the First Amendment: Questions the Senate Judiciary Committee should ask (San Antonio Express-News [TX] , 03/09/17)
Clay Calvert: An obvious question for Judge Gorsuch is his view of the court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. ... As the director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida, I would like to suggest at least three other timely and vital questions he should be asked about speech rights .... does the First Amendment protect a person’s right to record police officers doing their jobs in public places?... Gorsuch thus should be asked: “What, if any, limits are there on the First Amendment right to engage in political speech in public spaces, including streets, sidewalks and parks?” Finally, I’d ask Gorsuch for his views about the First Amendment right to offend.

Gorsuch record shows religious bias (Billings Gazette [MT,WY], 03/09/17)
Danielle Egnew, Letter to the Editor: Senators Tester and Daines should staunchly oppose the confirmation of Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch, whose zealous religious ideology will, by its very nature, set a destructive national precedent for the introduction of all other religious ideologies into the highest court of the land. Gorsuch's repeated need to exercise his own religious viewpoint while ruling on cases such as Hobby Lobby and human rights issues that affect LGBT Americans is a grave misuse of his position as judge, placing his rulings in direct defiance of the Constitution itself. As a Christian pastor, I cannot envision a more destructive pathway for the sacred protections of religious freedom in America than appointing an active religious extremist, no matter the religion, as a Supreme Court justice.

What Brown can do for Democrats in examining Gorsuch (The Hill, 03/09/17)
Prof. Carolyn Shapiro: Gorsuch – like all judges – is not a neutral umpire calling balls and strikes, as Chief Justice Roberts famously claimed. ... Southern segregationists bitterly upset about Brown v. Board of Education ... Democrats should use Brown to ask Judge Gorsuch why some past claims of judicial activism fade

Neil Gorsuch Must Answer the Questions Merrick Garland Was Denied: Democrats should require Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee to respond to basic questions about his judicial philosophy and views on past cases. (American Prospect, 03/08/17)
Dorothy Samuels: It’s all part of a full court press to install Gorsuch in the Supreme Court seat that Republicans effectively stole from Barack Obama with their unprecedented refusal to even consider his nominee, Merrick Garland, another widely respected—and far more moderate—federal judge. ... shifting attention from the less appealing qualities that won the favor of Trump and his Federalist Society vetters—namely, Gorsuch’s extremely conservative judicial record and philosophy. ...A justice who answers substantive questions about an earlier case before being confirmed is in no different position from a current justice whose prior record is already known. Note, too, that recent nominees’ objections to disclosing their views about important principles and past cases has been selective. ... It’s an unsupportable dichotomy, especially for a nominee who presumably passed several declared Trump litmus tests ...

Commentary: Trump’s rubber stamp on Supreme Court would threaten voting rights (Orlando Sentinel [FL] , 03/08/17)
Guest Columnist Ben Monterroso, Mi Familia Vota: Donald Trump’s election delivered a new line of attack against equal access to voting, not just with his unsubstantiated voter fraud claims, but because of his pick to head the U.S. Department of Justice: Attorney General Jeff Sessions.... Gorsuch has likened himself in judicial philosophy to Scalia. If that is true on voting rights, we have much to fear. In 2013, Scalia led the court’s 5-4 vote decision to dismantle the core provision of the Voting Rights Act ... we urge the Senate to reject Gorsuch.

Oppose Gorsuch for Supreme Court (Bangor Daily News [ME], 03/08/17)
Sarah Holland, Letter to the Editor: Despite the overwhelming public opinion against big money in politics and calls to “drain the swamp,” Gorsuch supports increasing corporate influence in politics, suggesting that donating to a politician is a “ fundamental” right that ought to be afforded the highest form of constitutional protection, which is known as “strict scrutiny review.” Furthermore he has a history of ruling in favor of concentrating corporate power and wealth

Concerned about Supreme Court nominee (Independent Record [MT], 03/08/17)
Op-Ed by Martha Stahl: I’m gravely concerned about President Trump’s nominee for the United States Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch. When it comes to checking extreme politicians’ overreach into our most personal healthcare decisions, I hope both of Montana’s senators will prioritize women and strongly oppose his confirmation.

Gorsuch would overreach into women's lives (Havre Daily News [MT], 03/08/17)
Martha Stahl, Op-Ed: I’m gravely concerned about President Trump’s nominee for the United States Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch. When it comes to checking extreme politicians’ overreach into our most personal health care decisions, I hope both of Montana’s senators will prioritize women and strongly oppose his confirmation.

Judge Neil Gorsuch: High-Minded “Textualist” Or Big Business’ Best Friend In Robes? (American Constitution Society Blog, 03/08/17)
Simon Lazarus, Constitutional Accountability Center: senators can probe the pattern of Judge Gorsuch’s opinions favoring business litigants over individual consumers and workers that has led business legal advocates to read his record to “suggest that his confirmation would restore the pro-arbitration direction of the Court [before Justice Scalia’s death cost the conservatives their majority]).” More broadly, zeroing in on arbitration will enable senators to scrutinize the bona fides of the credo, “textualism,” that he, echoing former Justice Scalia and many other conservatives, repeatedly touts as the core of his judicial philosophy. ... Probing Judge Gorsuch’s forced arbitration views can provide a basis for assessing whether he would consistently respect the text and history of laws, or check that approach at the Supreme Court’s front door when business interests point in the opposite direction.

Why Trump’s Conduct Means that the Gorsuch Hearings Cannot Go Forward (Huffington Post, 03/08/17)
Elliot Mincberg: there is another reason, related directly to the Trump administration’s conduct concerning the Gorsuch nomination, why the hearings must be postponed: the improper and unprecedented failure of the administration to even respond to bipartisan requests about Gorsuch’s record as a high-ranking government attorney under the Bush administration.

What Senate Democrats should ask Judge Gorsuch (The Hill, 03/08/17)
Op-Ed by Profs. David L. Sloss and Martin S. Flaherty: Justice Scalia’s silent concurrence in Medellín demonstrates that his originalism was not principled, but ideological. He was perfectly willing to jettison his professed commitment to originalism in cases where an originalist approach would yield results contrary to his conservative political agenda. That is why Senate Democrats should ask Judge Gorsuch whether he is prepared to apply the treaty supremacy rule in conformity with the original understanding. His answer will reveal a good deal about whether he is a principled originalist or another ideologue relying on history as he would like it to be.

Dark money backing Gorsuch post (Missoulian [MT], 03/08/17)
Bob and Ellen Knight, Letter to the Editor: Recent TV ads extolling Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, and inappropriately slamming U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, are sponsored by the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN).... We thank Tester, who takes his constitutional “advice and consent” duty seriously. Unfortunately, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines declined this duty, refusing to consider Judge Merrick Garland. He now, however, eagerly endorses the JCN-supported nominee. Thorough, thoughtful questioning by real people like Tester should decide these issues. Not dark money and corporations,

No deal, no peace: Take the high road on court nominee -- but with a catch (Bucks County Courier Times [PA], 03/08/17)
Guest Opinion by Jonson Miller: Senate Republicans, led by John McCain, showed their hand when they went on to say they would refuse to hear any nominations from Clinton at all if she won....Democrats should offer Republicans a normal nomination process free of filibustering and other delay tactics. But they should do so only in exchange for a Senate resolution stating unequivocally the responsibility of the Senate to consider nominees regardless of when their nominations come in a president's term. If Republicans refuse this deal, then, by all means, wage war.

My opposition to Neil Gorsuch is personal (Washington Post, 03/07/17)
Op-Ed by Matt Witt: Gorsuch wrote a book in 2006 opposing state laws that allow people with terminal illnesses to decide the timing and terms of their final days.... given the experience of families such as mine, he should not be elevated to the Supreme Court, where he could impose his personal beliefs on those who do not share them.... The arrogance of Gorsuch’s position on this issue alone ought to disqualify him from serving on our nation’s highest court, which has the sacred duty to ensure liberty and justice for all.

Gretchen Schuldt: Sen. Baldwin is right: Gorsuch is the wrong choice for SCOTUS (Capital Times (WI), 03/07/17)
Gretchdn Schuldt, Wisconsin Justice Initiative: in naming his first justice for the Supreme Court, something changed. Trump decided in favor of employers, corporate interests and Wall Street and against workers and families in Wisconsin and around the country. Sen. Baldwin has taken a stand against confirming Neil Gorsuch, an extremist who would erode some of our most fundamental rights and protections. That’s a fact, and it’s why all senators must look closely at his record as they proceed to weigh the Gorsuch nomination.

Gorsuch doesn't fit the bill (St. Louis American, 03/07/17)
Martin Rafanan, Letter to the Editor: Trump has nominated to the Supreme Court Judge Gorsuch, who's defied the Constitution and would be devastating to civil rights, voting rights, and working rights. Gorsuch has an abysmal record on police brutality and workplace discrimination in particular. We need a Supreme Court justice who will respect and protect the rights guaranteed in the Constitution, and Judge Gorsuch simply doesn't fit the bill. He cannot be confirmed.

Letter: Gorsuch too extreme to be on Supreme Court (Gazette) (Charleston Gazette [WV] , 03/07/17)
Marty Amerikaner and Linda Spatig: America needs a Supreme Court nominee who is exceptionally qualified, independent and free of extreme ideological baggage. Sadly, Neil Gorsuch’s nomination fails this standard — due to both his record and the nomination process. ...Perhaps most glaring to those outraged by the premise that “corporations are people” was his position in the Hobby Lobby case.... We urge Senators Manchin and Capito to vote “no” on this nomination, and push the president to choose from among the eminently qualified justices who are free of extreme ideological baggage.

Letter: GOP abdicates its moral and civic responsibilities (Bend Bulletin [OR], 03/07/17)
Shawna Smith: We have watched, bewildered, as you scold the Democrats for their reluctance to confirm Neil Gorsuch, after you set the precedent with your childish refusal to even consider Barack Obama’s objectively qualified nominee. The hypocrisy is truly mind-boggling, and yet you continue to clutch your metaphorical pearls and declare that you can’t imagine why the Democrats would do such a thing.