Neil Gorsuch should, but won’t, refuse to take stolen seat on Supreme Court

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Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court, seems likely to win Senate confirmation — and it’s a shame.

When Scalia died suddenly early last year, then-President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the high court.

Obama said:

I simply ask Republicans in the Senate to give him a fair hearing and then an up-or-down vote. If you don’t, then it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty, it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair. … The reputation of the Supreme Court will inevitably suffer. Faith in our justice system will inevitably suffer. Our democracy will ultimately suffer, as well.

Obama still had more than 10 months remaining in his second term. It wasn’t as if a new president would be in office in a matter of weeks. And none of the Senate Republicans had anything bad to say about Garland. They simply refused to hold hearings on the Garland nomination. They simply ignored Obama’s constitutional right to nominate a candidate to fill the vacancy.

With the beloved conservative Scalia gone, the Republicans worried that any nominee proposed by Obama might tip the balance on the court to the liberal side. The GOP held a majority of Senate seats, but apparently they were afraid that Garland might win the favor of a few GOP lawmakers and win confirmation.

So the Republicans acted as if Obama had never made the nomination. They pretended that Judge Garland didn’t even exist. They held out hope that the GOP candidate for president would win the November election and then, once in office, would nominate a right-winger to succeed Scalia.

That’s exactly what happened, and the American public seems not to have noticed the unfairness of it all. Instead, they’ve been preoccupied by the nuttiness of the Trump phenomenon.

Polls show that Trump has been less than popular in his first two months in office, but that doesn’t make it any less likely that his Supreme Court nominee will soon fill the Scalia vacancy.

The Republican majority in the Senate has abdicated its constitutional duty,  just as Obama warned. And as Obama also warned, the reputation of the Supreme Court will inevitably suffer, faith in our justice system will inevitably suffer, and our democracy will ultimately suffer, as well.

If only Neil Gorsuch had enough character to do the right thing and refuse to fill a stolen seat. It would make him one of the great heroes in American history.




  1. Steverino

    When Gorsuch is awarded his black robe for life an asterisk should be added next to his name.

  2. Neftali

    Well, slime-ball Schumer just announced they will filibuster Gorsuch. This despite not offering one shred of evidence of why he would not make a fantastic justice.

    This also means the following Senate Democrats are at serious risk of losing their 2018 re-election bid. They all hail from states won by Trump.

    Nelson – Florida
    Donnelly – Indiana
    Stabenow – Michigan
    McCaskill – Missouri
    Tester – Montana
    Heitkamp – North Dakota
    Brown – Ohio
    Manchin – West Virginia
    Baldwin – Wisconsin

    Republicans could very easily have a super-majority in the Senate after the midterms.


  3. Neftali said: . “This despite not offering one shred of evidence of why he would not make a fantastic justice.”
    Here’s a good reason. Alphonse Madden.
    Gorsuch is just another stupid conservative who could care less about the working person.

    • Neftali

      Well…technicallyAlphonse Maddin did deserve to be fired if you read the case according to the exact wording of the law. So Gorsuch was right, but only through a technicality.

      Granted, from any kind of moral perspective there is no way on earth he should have been fired. But we don’t judge cases upon morality, we judge them according to the letter of the law. I find this summary from this left of center blog a worthy summary of the situation.


      Further, there are plenty of cases where Gorsuch has ruled for the working person. You obviously missed this rebuttal from Gorsuch to Sen. Feinstein when asked about his history of sticking up for the little guy:

      “I’m sorry, Senator, of course. Ute 5 and 6. Fletcher. The Rocky Flats case, which vindicated the rights of people who had been subject to pollution from large companies in Colorado — uranium pollution. I’d point you to the Magnesium case, similar pollution case in the Salt Lake City area. Colorado’s effort with renewable energy; upheld that. Orr v City of Albuquerque, involving pregnancy discrimination in a police department in Albuquerque. WD Sports, a discrimination claim. Casey, Energy West, Crane, Simpson v CU, involving young women who had been harassed by the football team. AM, Browder, Sutton — I can give you a long, long list.”

      • Now look up the Service Transportation and Assistance Act which states an employee doesn’t have to use unsafe equipment. But Gorsuch’s ruling says they must.
        After that look up the Hobby Lobby case which Gorsuch ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby which now gives employers religious rights over employees.

      • Neftali

        Ironically, when the left is complaining about the Hobby Lobby decision, they are speaking against the individual or the “little guy” which they claim to represent.

        Also have to remember the Hobby Lobby decision was about a closely held company, or one where the owner owns the majority control/shares. Further, this Supreme Court ruling is actually consistent with the actions of the Obama administration.

        For example, the Obama administration ruled that Sikhs in the military can keep their beards and turbans for religious reasons. So why the hypocrisy from some on the left who favor one religion, Sikhs, over another, Christians?

        • So you equate employers using religious rights to deny insurance coverage to 21,000 employees the same as an employees right to grow a beard? Interesting.
          And what does ownership status have to do with anything?

      • Neftali

        If ObamaCare didn’t force insurance companies to cover contraceptive coverage their wouldn’t be an issue with the Hobby Lobby Case.

        And yes, I’m pro-choice and I actually donate money to Planned Parenthood. I do so out of my own free will. The lesson here is that government mandates suck.

  4. Steverino

    Gorsuch was nominated by Trump that alone should disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court.

  5. How situations change;

    So tex you have proof he doesn’t care about the working person?
    Seems like the working person’s opportunities shrunk significantly the last eight years.

    • So? He was confirmed by a voice vote only, ten years ago. It is what he has done since then that counts.

  6. RedRover

    “If only Neil Gorsuch had enough character to do the right thing and refuse to fill a stolen seat. It would make him one of the great heroes in American history.”

    I agree that if Gorsuch were a man of character, he would have refused the nomination until and unless Merrick Garland was given the fair hearing and up-or-down vote that is stipulated by the Constitution. But he is not the only coward in the mix.

    The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the American Judicial System is supposed to focus on “protecting fair and impartial courts, improving the administration of justice, ensuring adequate court funding, and defending against unfair attacks on the judicial branch.”

    What the Republican leadership of the US Senate did to Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, was an attack by the legislative branch upon the executive and judicial branches. As soon as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ruled out any sort of hearing for Judge Garland, the American Bar Association should have a called upon all of its members to refuse any subsequent nomination for the vacant Supreme Court seat until such time as the Senate did its duty regarding the nomination of Judge Garland.

    Instead, the ABA chose to ignore this event, and when the Gorsuch nomination was announced, its Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary dutifully gave Judge Gorsuch its “well qualified” rating, the same rating that it had given to Judge Garland.

  7. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/schumer-in-2007-dont-confirm-any-bush-supreme-court-nominee/article/2583283

    So we need a do-over, I don’t think Garland would be approved with the existing Republican majority. Maybe he will have a chance on the next opening.

  8. Shawn Robinson

    There’s a lot of back and forth on who’s fault it is Merrick Garland didn’t get a hearing. It’s clearly the Republicans’ in my eyes.
    McConnell says his reason for not holding hearings was to let the American people have a say in the next election who the Supreme Court justice should be. He snidely calls this the Biden Rule for something Joe Biden said but did not act upon in the 90s. He tried to blame Schumer for suggesting that the constitution doesn’t mandate hearings. Still, Schumer did not act on this. The Republicans did. They own the judicial crisis.
    The people already did have a say because they chose Obama in 2012. That’s how the constitution works. The preesident makes the appointments. If McConnell were serious about letting the people have a say, he would follow the constitutional way of letting the advising upon the Garland nomination. He could also introduce an amendment to allow election of the court candidates by voters. He did no such thing. The real reason was to snub Obama. He told a Kentucky audience, it was one of his proudest moments to tell Obama that he would not be filling the Supreme Court vacancy. He added Clinton and senate candidate Jim Gray should not have any say in the courts either. They were not going to hold any hearings.
    John McCain acknowledged there would be a vacancy on the Supreme Court for a long time if Clinton was elected. This also demonstrates they weren’t going to have hearings or would block her nominees. Ted Cruz confirms the same.
    There are over 100 lower court vacancies they decided not to fill also. They decided to keep them open for the Republican candidate using the same logic they applied to blocking Garland. So really they decided only Republican picks will even get hearings. Everyone who needs a court case decided can wait for them to pick a judge.
    Really they have made a liability since they didn’t calculate or didn’t suspect people would discover Russia’s alleged influence on our election. They could be handing over our courts to a candidate with foreign influences. Russia and Putin or other foreign countries should have no say in our courts. But if anyone connected to the current administration fills those seats that will be the result. Putin’s people will have shaped our courts because the Republicans didn’t fill the seats with Obama.

  9. Steverino

    Gorsuch’s demeanor and affect under questioning seems more in line with a job at the Addams family mansion. There’s something strange in his closet.

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