March 17, 2018

What to Look for in the Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings

20 March 2017, 06:16 | Darin Griffith

What to Look for in the Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings

What to Look for in the Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings

About 250 people gathered to talk about Judge Neil Gorsuch and the concerns they have with him as trump's pick for US Supreme Court justice.

Judge Gorsuch's critics argue he applies that reasoning selectively, to advance an agenda more conservative than that of his hero, the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

"People are saying I don't care if he's a Republican or Democrat, he has a great reputation and that's what we're looking for - somebody who can bring the right talents and judgments to the bench", said Steve Farber, a partner with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and a key figure in bringing the 2008 Democratic National Convention to Denver. "I only hope Democrats and Republicans can come together for once, for the good of the country". Then, of course, he stacked his Cabinet with hard-right, anti-government billionaires from places like Exxon Mobil and Goldman Sachs. There is no addendum that says "unless they're really poor".

Republicans believe they have little to fear.

Flake is also a member of the judiciary committee, which means he'll be front and center during Gorsuch's grilling.

"Judge Gorsuch's intellect, energy and deep regard for the Constitution are well known to those of us who have worked with him and have seen first-hand his commitment to basic principles", Lyons wrote. Democrats this week, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, ratcheted up their critique of specific cases they said showed Gorsuch to favor corporations and big business, but have yet to unearth a silver bullet that would convince their Democratic caucus to hold strong should they filibuster his nomination. That is exactly what Judge Gorsuch has done in several thousand cases he has heard on the 10th Circuit.

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This makes the Gorsuch hearings even more important, because that might be the one thing that can shift the focus of the liberal movement onto the court and create the pressure needed to keep Democrats from supporting him.

Many progressives lament Democratic senators have been distracted by other ideological fights.

While groups involved in campaign finance issues seem to believe they already know Gorsuch's positions, the judge has issued few rulings in this area.

Gorsuch said just a year ago that courts must "apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to the text, structure and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be-not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or policy consequences they believe might serve society best". This gave then-President Barack Obama an wonderful opportunity in his final months in office to appoint a third justice and tilt the court to liberals for years to come.

Gorsuch could also find a new enemy in the non-profit organization serving 2.5 million men and women annually that the Trump administration has already put directly under threat: Planned Parenthood. He wrote separately, however, to say that making a political contribution was a "fundamental" right deserving the highest level of constitutional protection, known as "strict scrutiny review". The votes have become more partisan over the years; the last unanimous vote was for Justice Anthony Kennedy in 1987.

"The procedural path through confirmation may be a bit murky at the moment", he added, "but I think we are nonetheless talking about the next Supreme Court justice to be seated".

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