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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Editorials and Opinion


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OPINION: Trump’s SCOTUS nominee no friend to working people (Missoulian [MT], 03/07/17)
Al Ekblad, Montana State AFL-CIO: Working Montanans should be deeply concerned by President Trump’s choice for the U.S. Supreme Court seat. 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.... 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.

Karen Heck: We need patriots, not nationalists: It is every citizen's duty to stand up for the rights of all Americans. (Kennebec Journal [ME] , 03/07/17)
"I’m tired, tired of fighting for Supreme Court appointees who consider women and children equally as valuable as men and who believe all of us are more important than corporations. The nomination of Neil Gorsuch is pretty much a mirror of the nomination 30 years ago of Robert Bork and of too many of nominations in between."

Gorsuch's record on women's rights disturbing (Montana Standard, 03/07/17)
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.

Commentary: Neil Gorsuch's Gay "Friends" Won't Save Us on the Supreme Court (The Advocate, 03/07/17)
Katherine Stewart and Matthew Stewart: Gorsuch’s rulings on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and other cases give reason to believe that, notwithstanding his “colorful” pals, Gorsuch is likely to place the religious “conscience” of people and corporations above the rights of LGBT Americans and others. But there’s an even stronger reason for such thinking, and it to has to do with a core aspect of his development as a legal scholar.

Judge Gorsuch Ruled Twice Against Transgender Rights. Confirmation May Give Him A Third Chance (American Constitution Society Blog, 03/06/17)
Yuvraj Joshi, Lambda Legal: Judge Gorsuch’s most recent rejection of transgender rights came in 2015, by which time several federal courts had already issued decisions supporting coverage for discrimination against transgender individuals as sex discrimination.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Our water must be protected (News Herald [Panama, FL], 03/06/17)
Col. J. D. Koutsandreas: he is trying to get Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court who is a far right attorney. That way when his legislation goes to the court, he is assured of a win .... Neil is a very talented attorney but it is environmental regulations for clean water, clean air and a healthy beach and seafood that we need here at Panama City.

The Gorsuch Nomination (New York Times, 03/06/17)
Marge Baker, People for the American Way, Letter to the Editor: In the case of a worker electrocuted because of inadequate on-the-job training, Judge Gorsuch in his dissent made clear that he would have ruled for the company. He argued against a trucker fired for not obeying an order that could have killed him. He would make it harder for those wronged by Wall Street and corporations to band together to obtain relief. Far from a mainstream nomination, we must see Judge Gorsuch for what he represents: an extreme, dangerous assault on the well-being of working people.

Angus King needs to pay some attention to the state of the nation before deciding on SCOTUS (Daily Kos, 03/06/17)
Joan McCarter, Senior Political Writer for Daily Kos: There's a very strong case for postponing action on the Gorsuch nomination because of all of those things and more. Democrats—including King—need to be the voice of reason here. They need to do everything in their power to force a slow-down of this process. Because the Supreme Court is that crucial. Because what the Senate does now—in either enabling or obstructing Trump—will reverberate for generations.

[Editorial] Looking for the truth (Hawk Eye [Burlington. IA], 03/06/17)
"Truthfulness counts. Even among our politicians. Yes, often it is shaded, obscured or even twisted, but a kernel of honesty is a requirement. When it’s not there, liars generally are punished, often severely, as they should be. Attorney General Jeff Sessions finds himself mired in a controversy arising from his less-than-truthful testimony during his Senate confirmation hearing....Sessions has recused himself into any inquiry regarding Russian interference in last year’s presidential election. That’s good enough Sen. Charles Grassley, who oversaw Sessions’ exchange with Franken as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Grassley said Friday he has no plans to compel Sessions to revisit the body to clarify the matter. That’s unfortunate, especially since truth is being knocked around pretty hard during the protracted confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks."

Real People, Real Lives: The Harm Caused By Judge Gorsuch (People For blog, 03/06/17)
Paul Gordon: These stories are in addition to the individuals already included in the earlier version of this report

[Editorial] The Justice Department to black voters: Don’t bother [Print headline: Indifference to voting rights, Mr. Sessions shrugs at a blatantly discriminatory ID law in Texas] (Washington Post, 03/05/17)
"In one of his first significant moves since taking office, Attorney General Jeff Sessions threw cold water on long-standing efforts by the Justice Department to clean up a blatantly discriminatory Texas law clearly designed to suppress African American and other Democratic-leaning votes. The move was in keeping with Mr. Sessions’s long-standing hostility to civil and voting rights"

[Editorial] Jeff Sessions must go: Deceptive behavior disqualifies attorney general from position (Watertown Daily Times [NY], 03/05/17)
"Sessions’s tenure as head of the U.S. Department of Justice cannot continue. He should resign his office immediately.... He cleverly evaded a question during his confirmation hearing about contacts he had with Russian officials. And now he’s trying to parse words to make it appear as though he did not intend to mislead senators as they reviewed his credentials for this position.... This kind of deception is unacceptable coming from our attorney general."

Editorial: Trump's Russian connections require special prosecutor (Quad City Times [IL,IA] , 03/05/17)
"The excuses and double-speak matter little. The fact is, Sessions either accidentally mischaracterized his mingling with Russian government officials or, at the very worst, committed perjury. For the second time in as many months, Trump found himself defending a cabinet member for being less than honest about confabs with officials from a country that was actively attempting to handicap the presidential election. Yet Grassley made clear Thursday that he had no intention of seeking charges against Sessions for the false testimony offered to his Judiciary Committee. The least he can do is assure that any probe is legitimate and not some political facade. ... Sessions' recusal alone, which Grassley lauded, won't do. This flap perhaps should cost Sessions his job, regardless of how "ridiculous" Grassley finds the idea. ... Sessions is the second member of the administration to falsely describe his contacts with the Russians. Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's downfall last month applied the heat to Republicans wanting this story to die. Sessions' lack of candor could cook them.... Grassley ... built a reputation for bipartisanship, one that was damaged last year when he stonewalled President Obama's Supreme Court pick."

Editorial: Pride, lies and hypocrisy (Kingman Daily Miner [AZ], 03/05/17)
"Jeff Sessions needs to resign as the 84th Attorney General of the United States. The chief law enforcement officer of the U.S. doesn’t get to lie, and he especially doesn’t get to commit perjury in front of the Congress of the United States."

Editorial: Fifty shades of Faso now playing in Capitol (Times Herald-Record [NY] , 03/05/17)
"Sessions, the nation's top lawyer, is expected to provide a clear example of lawfulness, and Faso, also a lawyer, should know that perjury is a simple concept. You take an oath, you tell the truth. Anything else is a lie.... Democrats who want to follow the law and follow previous examples of perjured testimony believe that Sessions cannot continue to serve in his important job."

Gorsuch will not improve Supreme Court (Monterey County Herald [CA], 03/05/17)
Catherine Metz, Letter to the Editor: The Supreme Court must be filled by people who judge impartially, guided by our Constitution. Unfortunately, Neil Gorsuch, cannot be trusted to protect clean air and water. His record shows that he will limit the access of everyday Americans to the courts and prevent agencies like the EPA from fulfilling their mission and doing their job to protect our air, water and health. Please join me in calling on Sens. Harris and Feinstein to oppose Gorsuch’s nomination.

Federal prosecutors have brought charges in cases far less serious than Sessions’s [Print headline: Sessions shouldn't get a free pass] (Washington Post, 03/05/17)
Op-Ed By Philip Lacovara and Lawrence Robbins: Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a seemingly false statement under oath during his confirmation hearing.... as lawyers at the Justice Department and attorneys in private practice who have represented individuals accused in such cases, we can state with assurance: Federal prosecutors have brought charges in cases involving far more trivial misstatements and situations far less consequential than whether a nominee to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer misled fellow senators during his confirmation hearings.... As any number of witnesses have learned the hard way, it is a federal felony to lie to Congress. ... Those elements all appear to be present.... Certainly there is precedent for a prosecution in this context.

[Editorial] Hits & Misses: Sessions steps away (Virginian-Pilot, 03/04/17)
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions did the least right thing by recusing himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 American presidential election. Especially since he should certainly become a subject of inquiry as investigations move forward."

[Editorial] Sessions questions: The attorney general spreads smoke from the Trump campaign's Russia-fueled fire. (Houston Chronicle, 03/04/17)
"The question about Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is whether he lied under oath about his dealings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. U.S. intelligence officials have described Kislyak as a top spy and spy recruiter. During a Senate confirmation meeting, Sessions said he, as a campaign surrogate, "did not have communications with the Russians." That is not true."

Op-Ed by Robyn Thomas and Adam Skaggs, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, simply, that the Senate wouldn’t confirm Garland because he was opposed by the National Rifle Association.... The Gun Owners of America offered enthusiastic praise for Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, 10th Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch. The NRA applauded him as an “ outstanding choice. ”... the impact of decisions in major future gun cases will be measured in lives. Given those stakes, leaders in the gun violence prevention movement, including Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention group founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, are withholding support for Gorsuch’s nomination until the Senate ensures his positions on firearms reflect the reasonable and responsible views of the judicial mainstream, not the extreme and dangerous views of the corporate gun lobby.

Editorial Jeff Sessions recuses himself from any investigation into Trump's Russia ties. Better late than never (Los Angeles Times, 03/03/17)
"It long has been obvious that Sessions should play no role in any action related to what intelligence agencies say was an attempt by Russian intelligence to promote Trump’s campaign at the expense of Hillary Clinton. As this editorial page said last month, “Sessions needs to leave this issue to someone else.”... Sessions had said under oath that he’d had no contacts with Russian officials about the campaign, but in fact he’d met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak"

[Editorial] Answers due on any Russia connection (Times and Democrat [SC], 03/03/17)
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions twice talked with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the campaign, meetings that are now being acknowledged by Sessions, though in doing so he appears to be contradicting testimony made before the Senate during the confirmation process. Sessions and the administration contend he met with the envoy in his role as a U.S. senator and member of the Foreign Relations Committee, yet there is no denying that Sessions was an ardent supporter and policy adviser of Trump’s. He was deeply involved in the campaign when the meetings occurred.... Claims that he perjured himself are extreme, but there remains the question of why he did not acknowledge meetings with the ambassador from the offset.... An independent investigation is warranted"

Editorial: Recusal only a start (Boston Herald, 03/03/17)
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions got it half right. Recusing himself from any ongoing or future investigation of the 2016 presidential campaign and any possible Russian interference in that campaign is a first step in assuring the integrity of any probe. It is necessary but not entirely sufficient in this particular case, which cries out for the kind of independence and distance only the appointment of a special prosecutor can assure."

Attorney General Sessions' recusal far from the end of the story (Editorial) (Republican [Springfield, MA], 03/03/17)
"Depends on whom you ask, but if you watched the attorney general's press conference on Thursday afternoon, you might well have reason to believe that he won't be long on the job. ... Sessions, answering a question from Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., about contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, said: "I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I didn't have - did not have communications with the Russians." Well, if you don't count those two meetings with Kislyak, that is."

Postpone the Gorsuch Hearings: His nomination to the Supreme Court cannot be separated from the serious questions that plague the Trump presidency (, 03/02/17)
Dahlia Lithwick and Sonja West: the Senate must postpone Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings until the investigations of the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia are resolved. We know that Michael Flynn lied about his conversations with the Russians. It now seems likely that Attorney General Jeff Sessions did the same. Thus, it makes exactly zero sense to take the position that Obama’s presidency was too tenuous to hold hearings while President Donald Trump’s is on solid footing—and we must proceed with haste. Nobody in the Senate can plausibly take the view that Trump’s claims to the White House are more legitimate, more publicly accepted, and more robust than were Obama’s in March 2016.... Having one justice serve under a cloud of doubt also threatens to harm the entire court.

[Editorial] Jeff Sessions' evasions: Our view (USA Today, 03/02/17)
"Maybe in some lawyerly, hair-splitting context, Sessions didn't perjure himself. But citizens expect more from the nation's top law enforcement officer. Whether Sessions will be able to keep his job, or be forced to resign like former national security adviser Michael Flynn, remains to be seen. The question for investigators is why Flynn, and now Sessions, felt compelled to dissemble about their dealings with Kislyak.... Jeff Sessions' evasions are just one piece of a much larger puzzle."

Pope Francis's American Critics (Commonweal, 03/02/17)
Op-Ed by Anthony Annett: As Zephyr Teachout has argued convincingly, the defining feature about Judge Neil Gorsuch is his ideological predilection for not standing in the way of concentrated corporate power and wealth. This is obviously why he appeals to Trump, but yet again, this particular type of American Catholic is touting him as a judicial Aquinas! (I don’t need to point out that Justice Antonin Scalia was cast from the same mold, and that his death probably saved the Clean Power Plan—which, let us remember, was praised by Pope Francis in some of the first words he uttered in the United States).

[Editorial] Jeff Sessions, Russia and the truth (Akron Beacon Journal [OH], 03/02/17)
"Sessions chose to mislead. Should he resign for failing to tell the truth with the stakes so high? That would be the honorable course. At the least, the Trump White House now should press Congress for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate fully the Russian intervention."

Editorial: Sessions gave false testimony about his Russia contacts. He must go. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 03/02/17)
"Now we discover that the new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, met twice last year with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while the then-U.S. senator headed the Donald Trump presidential campaign’s foreign policy committee. During his confirmation hearings, Sessions gave false testimony about the meetings.... Sessions announced he’d recuse himself from any Justice Department investigations involving the presidential campaign. Recusal is good. Resignation would be better. Sessions may well have perjured himself. ... Trump should fire Sessions and support the appointment of an independent prosecutor. Whatever their politics, Americans should demand it."

[Editorial] Sessions’s recusal can’t be the end of the story (Washington Post, 03/02/17)
"“I DID not have communications with the Russians.” At the least, Attorney General Jeff Sessions misled Congress when he said this in his January confirmation hearings.... The damning issue is that Mr. Sessions misled senior government officials and the public about his contacts. This was the same lapse that brought down former national security adviser Michael Flynn .... Sessions should appoint a special counsel capable of conducting a thorough and unbiased inquiry into all of the contacts between Mr. Trump and his associates and Russia — including Mr. Sessions’s. The attorney general promised to provide the Senate Judiciary Committee with a full explanation of his misleading testimony. The integrity of the committee’s work is now at stake, and its members owe themselves and the public nothing less than a thorough probe."