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Gorsuch Nearly Got Through His Hearings Unscathed — Then SCOTUS Stepped In

Senate Democrats put Judge Neil Gorsuch on the defensive during his third appearance before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Wednesday, grilling him over one of his holdings that was reversed by the Supreme Court and for his alleged ties to “dark money.”

The exchanges marked the first time Democratic attacks on the judge seemed to gain traction, since GOP aides rushed spin to reporters for the first time in the hearings. Despite this, there was a tangible sense inside the Capitol Hill committee room that the main work of the hearings had more or less concluded. Empty seats filled the press gallery, before a dais that was nearly vacant for most of the day.

In the early minutes of the hearing, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling which overturned one of Gorsuch’s own holdings. The case involved an autistic student seeking compensation for costs incurred pursuing private education. The student’s family argued they were owed compensation because a special education plan devised by the student’s public school was inadequate to meet his needs, forcing the family to seek a private alternative.

A lower court found in the school’s favor, and anchored much of its analysis in an opinion Gorsuch wrote in 2008 as a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In the ruling, Gorsuch said schools are in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) — which requires public schools to provide disabled children with a “free appropriate public education” — so long as they provide some form of educational benefit to the student. The Supreme Court unanimously overturned this holding, finding public schools had to provide a greater level of benefit than Gorsuch asserted.

Senate Democrats trumpeted the decision as further proof Gorsuch consistently aligns with the powerful, a theme on which they hit throughout the week.

(Read more from “Gorsuch Nearly Got Through His Hearings Unscathed — Then SCOTUS Stepped In” HERE)

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Gorsuch Responds to Sexism Allegation From Former Student

During his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Judge Neil Gorsuch addressed accusations from a former law student claiming he had encouraged sexist hiring practices in the classroom.

The student in question, Jennifer Sisk, took one of the Supreme Court nominee’s classes at the University of Colorado Law School and wrote in a letter sent to lawmakers Sunday night that Gorsuch said “many” working women exploit employers when receiving maternity benefits.

The Daily Signal reported Monday that Sisk has close ties to the Democratic Party. She is a former political appointee of the Obama administration and worked for former Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat. In covering Sisk’s allegations, multiple media outlets did not initially disclose her ties to Democrats and President Barack Obama.

After being questioned about the letter by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Gorsuch—who noted the first time he heard about this was the night before his confirmation hearing—responded to this accusation by implying that it was a misunderstanding he wanted to clear up.

“I teach from a standard textbook … there is one question in the book that is directed at young women—because sadly, this is a reality that they sometimes face,” Gorsuch said.

“The problem is this: Suppose an older woman at the firm that you’re interviewing at asks you if you intend to become pregnant soon, what are your choices as a young woman?” Gorsuch asked rhetorically. “You can say yes, and tell the truth … and not get the job and not be able to pay your debts [from law school]. You can lie, maybe get the job, say no, that’s a choice, too, it’s a hard choice. Or you can push back in some way, shape, or form.”

The judge added that the question raised by the textbook was a part of a broader discussion on the hardships lawyers face in life, including high suicide rates, alcoholism, divorce, depression, and financial difficulties.

“We talk about the pros and cons in this erratic dialogue and they can think through things on how to answer very difficult questions,” Gorsuch said.

Gorsuch then asked that everybody who has heard questions like this from employers to raise their hand—attempting to make the point that these “inappropriate questions about family planning,” as he said, are fairly common.

“It still happens every year,” Gorsuch said. (For more from the author of “Gorsuch Responds to Sexism Allegation From Former Student” please click HERE)

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Neil Gorsuch Shows Christians Why We Need to Build up Our Own Elites

Judge Neil Gorsuch’s performance before the Senate has been very encouraging. His knowledge, training and intellectual rigor put the demagogic Democrats to shame. So far he seems like a worthy heir to Antonin Scalia. Let’s hope that America watches these hearings and learns that there is a strong and substantive intellectual case for respecting the Constitution as it was written.

And let’s be thankful for a moment for the existence of Christian or pro-Christian elites. It’s a gravely endangered species, as ruthlessly hunted and rare as white rhinos or tigers, and arguably even more important.

Populism Is Great, But It’s Not Enough

I have written quite a bit in defense of the impulse behind today’s populism, both in Europe and America. Donald Trump’s victory in the primaries over “made man” Jeb Bush, wunderkind Marco Rubio, and self-made legal genius Ted Cruz (among others) was stunning. His defeat of Hillary Clinton was nothing less, I think, than divine intervention. It gave our country what might be its last chance to step back from the brink.

Both victories were possible because Trump saw that our country’s anointed elites — and even the elites within the GOP — are profoundly out of touch with the views, worries, and day-to-day experience of ordinary Americans. That’s true on issues from culture and foreign policy to mass, low-skill immigration.

Europe’s dominant classes are even more disconnected. They shrug at the Continent’s plummeting birth rate, tell their drivers to avoid the “no-go” areas now dotting their countries’ major cities, and count on millions of sullen, barely employable radical Muslims to fund their collapsing pension plans. Yeah, that will work out just fine.

We Need Faithful Elites

As someone who backed Pat Buchanan in 1992, 1996, and 2000, I think have the populist street cred to say this: We also need elites.

We need the right people, with top talent and the best training, to take on the worst that our enemies have to throw at us, and give as good as they get.

We need Christians and conservatives who can argue with icy logic before the Supreme Court, and lovingly stroke the heart strings when speaking to the public.

We need academics rigorously trained in the humanities to pass on the glorious culture that is Christian humanism.

We also need research scientists who can analyze and debunk the grandiose claims of techno-utopians. When some guy in a white lab coat from MIT promises us that mixing the DNA of humans and pigs will allow us to upload our souls onto the Internet and live forever as gods (or something), we need another guy in an even whiter coat who can dismantle those ideas in detail. Just waving the Bible or the Summa Theologica isn’t enough. That’s how we lose.

Learn from the Scopes Monkey Trial

Watch that great piece of anti-Christian (and largely fictional) propaganda, Inherit the Wind. The film shows how in the Scopes “Monkey Trial,” atheist Clarence Darrow used his very slight advantage in scientific knowledge to paint the great William Jennings Bryan as a scripture-blinkered rube.

In fact, historians have pointed out that Bryan’s deepest concern was not for the inerrancy of scripture, but the wicked uses that eugenicists were already making of Darwin. Even as that trial unfolded, Margaret Sanger was conspiring with misanthropic elitists to impose forced sterilization laws in a dozen American states. Their “scientific” basis? Appropriated Darwinism. This toxic pseudo-science even made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, as Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in defense of such forced sterilization laws that “three generations of imbeciles is enough.”

It’s too bad that Bryan didn’t have the science background to put the pseudo-science of eugenics itself on trial.

Where Will the Next Neil Gorsuch Go to Law School?

Imagine if Neil Gorsuch had not been trained in legal and moral thinking at (among other places) Oxford University, by a brilliant scholar and consistent thinker like John Finnis. How would he be doing under hostile questioning by ax-grinding Democrats armed with carefully crafted talking points by dozens of left-wing judicial activists?

Actually, you don’t need to make the imaginative experiment. Just read up on the performance of the poorly prepared attorney picked by the Trump team to defend its first Executive Order on immigration. It was embarrassing. When a conservative administration’s representative can’t out-perform the clowns on the Ninth Circus Court, you know you have a personnel problem.

That problem’s about to get much, much worse. We need to figure out what to do about it. I worked for ten years with Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a nexus for conservative faculty in a dozen different fields. We had members with brilliant records in history, English, law, political science, you name it. One thing those people have in common: Most of them are over 50. A lot are over 60. Some of the best have already retired, or gone to God.

As graduate schools in such fields become more radicalized, as tenure committees use both affirmative action and blatantly political standards in picking future faculty, they are strangling the next generation of conservative elites in the cradle.

Would the next Neil Gorsuch, or Ted Cruz, even get into a top-tier law school? (Harvard Law just eliminated the requirement for the LSATs, freeing its admissions staff to be more arbitrary.)

Would they get recommendations to work at a top law firm? Would such a law firm hire them, given that it was almost impossible to find attorneys willing to oppose the LGBT lobby in Obergefell v. Hodges, for fear of boycotts and harassment? How long will it before membership in the Federalist Society, the lawyers group that drew up President Trump’s “short list” of potential SCOTUS nominees, is a crippling career impediment? Where will find the people with credentials in the humanities to train future mainstream scholars in social sciences and the humanities?

We Need Graduate Schools and Law Schools of Our Own

Conservatives and Christians have made attempts to work around the legal bottleneck, with mixed success. A faithfully Christian law school in Canada, Trinity Western, lost its accreditation because of its commitment to biblical values. While American “alternative” law schools such as Ave Maria and Regent University law schools turn out very competent lawyers, I doubt very much that we’ll be seeing Supreme Court nominees who graduated from either one anytime soon.

We’re about to enter a cultural, political, and legal desert, as the left’s stranglehold over elite institutions exerts its long-term intended effect. Christians and conservatives need to wake up and start pouring money and thought into how we can smuggle our future leaders past the left’s starvation blockade. (For more from the author of “Neil Gorsuch Shows Christians Why We Need to Build up Our Own Elites” please click HERE)

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Neil Gorsuch Draws Praise From Democrats as Confirmation Hearings Open

Judge Neil Gorsuch’s dedication to upholding the rule of law became the focus of the Supreme Court nominee’s first day of Senate confirmation hearings.

“My decisions have never reflected a judgment about the people before me—only my best judgment about the law and facts at issue in each particular case,” Gorsuch said in his prepared statement Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “For the truth is, a judge who likes every outcome he reaches is probably a pretty bad judge, stretching for the policy results he prefers rather than those the law compels.”

President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch, 49, in January to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died just over 13 months ago. In 2006, the Senate confirmed him by voice vote as a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gorsuch appeared to listen intently to the concerns of Democrat and Republican senators alike, even when under attack, smiling during more light-hearted moments. He is scheduled to answer questions beginning Tuesday in hearings expected to last through Thursday.

Those who introduced Gorsuch echoed his commitment to adhering to the rule of law.

“I have no doubt … that Judge Gorsuch has profound respect for an independent judiciary and the vital role it plays as a check on the executive and legislative branches,” said Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, in introducing his fellow Coloradoan. “I may not always agree with his rulings, but I believe Judge Gorsuch is unquestionably committed to the rule of law.”

Neal Katyal, who also introduced Gorsuch, is a professor of national security law at Georgetown University and former acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama from 2010-2011.

Katyal called Gorsuch a “first-rate” judge who is committed to upholding the rule of law.

“I have seen Judge Gorsuch in action and I have seen him hearing cases and have studied his written opinions,” Katyal said. “This is a first-rate intellect and a fair and decent man. … The judge’s work reflects his dedication to the rule of law.”

Katyal previously had spoken out in support of Gorsuch.

In an op-ed published in The New York Times in January headlined “Why Liberals Should Back Neil Gorsuch,” Katyal wrote that he was confident of Gorsuch’s ability to serve as an unbiased judge:

I was an acting solicitor general for President Barack Obama; Judge Gorsuch has strong conservative bona fides and was appointed to the 10th Circuit by President George W. Bush. But I have seen him up close and in action, both in court and on the Federal Appellate Rules Committee (where both of us serve); he brings a sense of fairness and decency to the job, and a temperament that suits the nation’s highest court.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who also introduced Gorsuch, called the nominee for the high court a mainstream judge who adheres to the dictates of the law.

“When you look at his record, his writing, his statements, it’s easy to see why Judge Gorsuch has such overwhelming appeal,” Gardner said. “Judge Gorsuch is not an ideologue,” adding:

He is a mainstream jurist who follows the law as written and doesn’t try to supplant it with his own personal policy preferences. As he said, personal policies or policy preferences have no useful role in judging. Regular and healthy doses of self skepticism, and humility about one’s own abilities and conclusions always do. Judge Gorsuch is not an activist judge but rather a faithful adherent to and ardent defender of our Constitution.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, quoted Gorsuch’s own words in citing the judge’s unbiased nature.

“The judge’s job, our nominee says, is to deliver on the promise that ‘all litigants, rich or poor, mighty or meek, will receive equal protection under the law and due process for their grievances’” Grassley said in a prepared statement.

Senate Democrats voiced their disappointment in opening statements about how Republicans chose not to hold a hearing or vote for Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee last year to the Supreme Court following Scalia’s Feb. 13 death.

“The Judiciary Committee once stood against a court-packing scheme that would have eroded judicial independence,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the senior Democrat on the committee. “That was a proud moment. Now, Republicans on this committee are guilty of their own ‘court un-packing scheme’ … The blockade of Chief Judge Merrick Garland was never grounded in principle or precedent.”

Garland is the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also expressed disappointment about the lack of a hearing and vote for Garland.

“Merrick Garland was widely regarded as a mainstream, moderate nominee,” Feinstein said in her prepared opening statement. “However, President Trump repeatedly promised to appoint someone ‘in the mold of Justice Scalia’ and said that the nomination of Judge Gorsuch illustrates he’s ‘a man of his word.’”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, reiterated Senate Republicans’ decision last year that an outgoing president should not decide the next Supreme Court nomination.

“Let the American people choose,” Cornyn said, noting also that Gorsuch would become the only Westerner on the high court.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, praised Gorsuch’s record, stating he had personal experience to stand behind his praise.

“In a former life, when I was a practicing attorney, I had the good fortune of appearing before you,” Lee said in a prepared statement. “So, I know from personal experience that you are one of the very best judges in the country. You come to oral argument prepared and you ask probing, fair questions that help you understand the arguments.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he is concerned that Gorsuch won’t be independent from Trump.

“We need to know what you will do when you are called upon to stand up to this president,” Durbin said.

Gorsuch himself suggested he would not be beholden to a particular person, party, or ideology:

When I put on the robe, I am also reminded that under our Constitution, it is for this body, the people’s representatives, to make new laws. For the executive to ensure those laws are faithfully enforced. And for neutral and independent judges to apply the law in the people’s disputes. If judges were just secret legislators, declaring not what the law is but what they would like it to be, the very idea of a government by the people and for the people would be at risk.

(For more from the author of “Neil Gorsuch Draws Praise From Democrats as Confirmation Hearings Open” please click HERE)

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How Neil Gorsuch’s Senate Confirmation Process Compares to Recent Ones

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin its hearing on the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is confident that the Senate will confirm Gorsuch before the Easter recess, which is set to begin April 10.

As Senate Democrats have scrambled to find reasons to object to Gorsuch, scores of people across the political spectrum have spoken out in support of the nominee. Thus, if Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, and other Democrats want to stop Gorsuch’s nomination, they will face an uphill battle during the hearings.

As the hearing starts, how has this process compared to other Supreme Court confirmations in recent years?

The Bush Years

President George W. Bush’s first chance to make a Supreme Court nomination came in July 2005 when Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her intention to retire. This was the first vacancy on the court in over a decade. Bush nominated D.C. Circuit Judge John Roberts on July 19, 2005. While his nomination was pending, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who had been battling thyroid cancer, died Sept. 3.

With Rehnquist’s death, Bush rethought his strategy for filling two vacancies on the Supreme Court. He decided to withdraw Roberts’ nomination to be an associate justice and announced him Sept. 5 as nominee for chief justice of the United States.

The Senate Judiciary Committee met Sept. 12-15 for Roberts’ confirmation hearing, and one week later, on Sept. 22, the committee voted 13-5, with three Democrats joining the Republicans, to send his nomination to the full Senate. The Senate voted to confirm Roberts on Sept. 29, 2005, just in time for him to join the court before the start of its 2005-2006 term the next week.

After deciding to nominate Roberts to be chief justice, Bush first tapped White House counsel Harriet Miers, a Texas lawyer who served as Bush’s personal lawyer before he became president, as the nominee for associate justice. He made the announcement Oct. 3.

As a result of a campaign by conservatives who wanted a nominee with a demonstrated conservative record and judicial experience, Miers withdrew her nomination weeks later and Bush announced his pick of 3rd Circuit Judge Samuel Alito on Oct. 31.

Alito’s hearing was not held until Jan. 9-13. Less than two weeks later, on Jan. 24, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 to send him to the full Senate. Then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and 23 other senators attempted to lead a filibuster to block Alito’s confirmation, but they were unsuccessful.

The Senate ultimately confirmed Alito by a vote of 58-42 on Jan. 31, 2006, with four Democrats joining the Republicans in confirming Alito.

As president, Obama later expressed regrets about this filibuster attempt when Senate Republicans signaled that they would not confirm a nominee for the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death Feb. 13, 2016, during Obama’s final year in office.

The Obama Years

Obama’s first opportunity to pick a Supreme Court justice came when David Souter announced his retirement in 2009. Obama selected 2nd Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor, and he made the announcement on May 26, 2009. Sotomayor’s hearing was held July 13-16.

Highlights from the hearing included Republican senators grilling Sotomayor about her controversial views, including her claim that appellate courts “make policy” and that she believed “a wise Latina woman” would “reach a better conclusion than a white male” judge. Two weeks later, the Judiciary Committee voted 13-6 to send her to the full Senate.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined Democrats in that vote. Nine days later, on Aug. 6, 2009, the Senate voted to confirm Sotomayor by a vote of 68-31, with nine Republicans voting for her.

The following year, Obama had another chance to nominate a Supreme Court justice. He chose his solicitor general, Elena Kagan, to replace Justice John Paul Stevens, announcing the nomination on May 10, 2010.

Obama administration senior adviser David Axelrod recounted the story of Scalia’s approaching him at an event shortly after Souter announced he would retire in 2009. As Axelrod tells it, Scalia said, “I have no illusions that your man will nominate someone who shares my orientation … But I hope he sends us someone smart.”

Scalia continued, according to Axelrod: “Let me put a finer point on it … I hope he sends us Elena Kagan.” Scalia got his wish the second time around.

Kagan’s hearing took place June 28-July 1 (and notably included testimony by Heritage Foundation scholar Robert Alt). Three weeks later, the Judiciary Committee voted 13-6 to send her to the full Senate—with Graham joining the Democrats again. The Senate voted 63-37 to confirm her two weeks after that, on Aug. 5, 2010. Five Republicans and two independents joined the Democrats.

As the Obama administration came to a close, it seemed unlikely that another vacancy would occur on the Supreme Court—notwithstanding a not-so-subtle campaign to encourage Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to step down. Then on Feb. 13, 2016, the nation was stunned by the sudden death of Scalia.

The upcoming presidential election took on a new level of significance as Senate Republicans vowed to keep the seat open so that the next president, and by extension, the American people, could fill it. Nevertheless, Obama nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the D.C. Circuit. Senate Republicans, however, refused to allow the nomination to move forward.

Confirmation Process by the Numbers

That brings us to Neil Gorsuch. President Donald Trump announced his nomination on Jan. 31, so if Gorsuch is confirmed before the Easter recess, the process will have taken 10 weeks.

That’s slightly quicker than recent nominees but by no means out of the ordinary. Sotomayor clocked in at 11 weeks, Kagan and Alito both took 14 weeks, and Roberts was confirmed within 11 weeks from his first nomination.

Gorsuch enjoys perhaps the broadest bipartisan support of any nominee in recent history, and he is eminently qualified to join the Supreme Court. Though there has been some talk of Democrats attempting to mount a filibuster, these are rare for Supreme Court confirmations.

Thus, Gorsuch is likely to be confirmed on the timetable McConnell laid out. And Republicans appear prepared to play hardball if necessary—to limit Senate debate by invoking the nuclear option—to ensure Gorsuch is confirmed. (For more from the author of “How Neil Gorsuch’s Senate Confirmation Process Compares to Recent Ones” please click HERE)

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Long Before Neil Gorsuch, Judges Had to Be Liberal Enough for Chuck Schumer

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer arguably telegraphed his opposition to Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court justice almost 16 years ago when, as a freshman Democrat from New York, he broke what he called a taboo to say the Senate publicly should make ideology a factor in confirming judges.

Today, Schumer is the Senate’s top Democrat and is leading the charge against President Donald Trump’s first high court nomination.

Schumer not only is the Senate minority leader but a senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee that will begin hearings Monday on Gorsuch and decide whether to send his nomination to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote.

The New York Democrat applied the ideology test during the two terms of President George W. Bush’s administration. He also made his opposition to Gorsuch clear in a press conference March 15, where he and other Senate Democrats invited plaintiffs to accuse Gorsuch, a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, of making the wrong ruling.

But Schumer, elected to the Senate in 1998, introduced his philosophy on using ideology in a New York Times op-ed in June 2001.

“For one reason or another, examining the ideologies of judicial nominees has become something of a Senate taboo,” the new senator wrote. “In part out of a fear of being labeled partisan, senators have driven legitimate consideration and discussion of ideology underground. The not-so-dirty little secret of the Senate is that we do consider ideology, but privately.”

He contended that ideological considerations aren’t new, noting the defeat of President George Washington’s nominee for Supreme Court, John Rutledge.

“If the president [then George W. Bush] uses ideology in deciding whom to nominate to the bench, the Senate, as part of its responsibility to advise and consent, should do the same in deciding whom to confirm,” Schumer wrote. “Pretending that ideology doesn’t matter—or, even worse, doesn’t exist—is exactly the opposite of what the Senate should do.”

In another Times op-ed just last month, Schumer criticized Gorsuch for not saying during a private meeting what his opinion was of certain cases, and asserted that, with Trump as president, Gorsuch will have to clear a higher hurdle than previous Supreme Court nominees:

Given the administration’s disdain for the judiciary, any nominee to the Supreme Court, particularly by this president, must be able to demonstrate independence from this president. The bar is always high to achieve a seat on the Supreme Court, but in these unusual times—when there is unprecedented stress on our system of checks and balances—the bar is even higher for Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to demonstrate independence.

Schumer, along with 11 other Democrats still in the Senate today, voted to confirm Gorsuch in 2006 to the appeals court position.

Schumer wrote that Gorsuch “refused to answer” his questions about past cases such as Citizens United and Bush v. Gore, and his view on the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, because such answers might bias him in cases going forward.

“Judge Gorsuch must be far more specific in his answers to straightforward questions about his judicial philosophy and opinions on previous cases,” Schumer added. “He owes it to the American people to provide an inkling of what kind of justice he would be.”

Schumer applied his ideology test regarding specific issues to numerous times during the Bush administration.

“Schumer engineered the Democrats’ unprecedented campaign of filibusters against President George W. Bush’s appellate nominees,” Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “Schumer deserves credit or blame—depending on your perspective—for escalating the judicial confirmation wars.”

In 2003, Schumer accused Bush’s nominee to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Charles Pickering, of opposing civil rights. The Senate Judiciary Committee in March 2002 voted 10-9 to block the nomination, when the Senate was under Democratic control. Bush renominated Pickering in January 2003 after Republicans recaptured the Senate, but Democrats filibustered the nomination. Even after Bush eventually recess appointed Pickering in January 2004, Democrats continued the filibuster, and Pickering withdrew his name from consideration in December 2004.

“This administration wants the courts to become the sword that destroys those rights,” Schumer said in a statement at the time. “And don’t think this stops with Judge Pickering. He’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

Bush nominated Miguel Estrada in 2001 to serve on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Schumer filibustered the nomination seven times. After 28 months, Estrada withdrew.

Schumer called Estrada “a stealth missile—with a nose cone—coming out of the right wing’s deepest silo.”

A Democratic staffer for the Senate Judiciary Committee told the left-wing magazine The Nation in 2002: “Estrada is 40, and if he makes it to the circuit, then he will be Bush’s first Supreme Court nominee. He could be on the Supreme Court for 30 years and do a lot of damage.”

Schumer voted against confirming Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, but later said he didn’t think he did enough.

“Charles Schumer is one of the people who weaponized the filibuster against judicial nominees, so it is no surprise he opposes a well-qualified nominee with bipartisan support like Judge Gorsuch,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “Sen. Schumer has a longer history of this.”

In early 2016, after the Feb. 13 death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Schumer said the Senate had a duty to vote on whoever President Barack Obama nominated to fill the vacancy. He said:

Well, the job, first and foremost, is for the president to nominate and for the Senate to hold hearings and go through the process. … [Sen.] Ted Cruz holds the Constitution, you know, when he walks through the halls of Congress. Let him show me the clause that says [the] president’s only president for three years.

Does this mean we don’t hold hearings on anything? The president shouldn’t nominate Cabinet ministers? It certainly might mean the Republicans shouldn’t repeal Obamacare in the fourth year. And so, our job is to go forward with the process and then we’ll see what happens.

(For more from the author of “Long Before Neil Gorsuch, Judges Had to Be Liberal Enough for Chuck Schumer” please click HERE)

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Supreme Court Watchers Hail Neil Gorsuch as a Judge Who ‘Goes Deep’

Neil Gorsuch will be a defender of the rule of law and a worthy successor to Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a panel of prominent lawyers said Tuesday at The Heritage Foundation.

“I think that with this addition [of] Judge Gorsuch, we’ll see … a lot more pressure put on the Congress to do its job right, and on the courts to not be taken advantage of by the agencies,” C. Boyden Gray, a counselor to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, said during the panel discussion on Gorsuch’s judicial record.

President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch, a 49-year-old federal appeals judge, to fill the seat of Scalia, who died unexpectedly last February.

Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an organization dedicated to advancing Judeo-Christian values in public policy, said Gorsuch would be an excellent successor.

“I think that Judge Gorsuch’s record shows him to be an eminently worthy successor to Justice Scalia, and that is about the highest praise I can offer,” Whelan said.

Also on the panel with Whelan and Gray, now a partner in the D.C. law firm Boyden Gray & Associates, was Michael Carvin of the D.C. law firm Jones Day, who praised Gorsuch’s attention to detail.

“This guy goes deep,” Carvin said. “Somebody makes a stupid argument … but [Gorsuch] will reframe it and say, ‘It has these consequences, and we must respectfully disagree.’ So he really goes down each rabbit hole and makes sure that his opinions reach the right result.”

Gorsuch currently is a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 10th Circuit includes the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, plus portions of Yellowstone National Park that extend into Montana and Idaho.

Whelan lauded the role Gorsuch played in the 10th Circuit’s ruling in the so-called Hobby Lobby case. The Oklahoma City-based retailer Hobby Lobby, owned by a Christian family, took issue with the Obamacare mandate forcing employers to cover contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization in employee health plans.

“There’s been a lot more focus on more … high-profile cases like Judge Gorsuch’s votes in Hobby Lobby,” Whelan said. “And those deserve attention, and I think he deserves credit for his votes there.”

Gorsuch was part of the 5-3 majority that ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby. In his opinion supporting the retail chain, he wrote:

It is not for secular courts to rewrite the religious complaint of a faithful adherent, or to decide whether a religious teaching about complicity imposes ‘too much’ moral disapproval on those only ‘indirectly’ assisting wrongful conduct. Whether an act of complicity is or isn’t ‘too attenuated’ from the underlying wrong is sometimes itself a matter of faith we must respect.

Whelan said allegations that Gorsuch was simply voting to satisfy his personal beliefs are unfounded.

“Some on the other side have suggested that, ‘Oh, he was simply indulging his own personal preferences there in Hobby Lobby.’ Instead, I think what you see … is no, he is carefully scrutinizing the [case] and applying it neutrally,” Whelan said.

Gorsuch’s support for Hobby Lobby’s position, Whelan said, exemplifies his understanding of the balance between the law and the rights of those with deeply held religious beliefs.

“Judge Gorsuch fully understands the Supreme Court’s precedents, making clear that it is no business of the government to second-guess or try to redefine a person’s religious beliefs,” he said.

Conservatives in the Senate, where hearings on Gorsuch’s confirmation are set to begin March 20, emphasize this attribute.

Carvin highlighted Gorsuch’s leadership on a case where candidates for public office had to meet a bizarre set of requirements.

“[Gorsuch] had this kind of screwy case out of Colorado where … if you were Republican or Democrat, you had to have a primary even if you did not have a contestant,” Carvin said.

“If you were a minor party, you wouldn’t have a primary unless there was more than one candidate vying for the seat,” he said, adding:

They also had a campaign contribution limit which was $200 for the primary and $200 for the general [election], because the major parties always had primaries and the minor parties very rarely had primaries.

The case was significant, Carvin said, because Gorsuch ruled to do away with the “differential treatment of major and minor parties.”

“I think it shows … a sympathy for political speech [and] a recognition of how important this is under the Constitution.”

Just as Scalia has left a powerful legacy, Whelan said, Gorsuch could make a significant impact on the high court for generations to come.

“Like Justice Scalia, he is a brilliant jurist and dedicated originalist and textualist,” Whelan said. “Like Justice Scalia, he thinks through issues very deeply … and I think all of these talents promise to give him an outsize impact on future generations of lawyers and judges.” (For more from the author of “Supreme Court Watchers Hail Neil Gorsuch as a Judge Who ‘Goes Deep'” please click HERE)

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Neil_Gorsuch_10th_Circuit (1)

Please, Please Br’er Democrat, Don’t Throw Me Into That Filibuster Patch!

It might seem perverse to say so, but pro-lifers should welcome a Democratic filibuster of Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Here’s why:

The Democrats are wounded.

What’s left of the squishy GOP establishment is still in shock at Trump’s historic win.

The media are chasing a dozen different imaginary scandals as Steve Bannon’s apparent strategy of “flooding the zone” with bold initiatives seems to be working.

Every time President Trump lights a candle in the White House, the Left is throwing a tantrum and shouting “Reichstag fire!”

We have a nominee who is manifestly qualified, to fill the seat of a deceased, highly respected conservative.

A filibuster now would be so obviously partisan and absurd that it would be easy to justify trashing the filibuster forever.

And that is what we need to do, if we are serious about overturning Roe v. Wade, and removing the Supreme Court as a weapon of leftist rule by decree on every crucial social and Constitutional issue.

The Real Fight is the Next Supreme Court Opening

We conservatives are in a strong position now. In a year or two, when Ruth Bader Ginsburg or another justice finally retires, the balance of power will be different. And the stakes will be infinitely higher. The next SCOTUS nominee won’t just serve to restore the Court’s balance to what it was when it issued the outrageous pile of sophistries that was Obergefell v. Hodges. The next vote could tip it.

So next time, the Left will fight a justice like Gorsuch with the fury of a thousand suns, as the war chests of Planned Parenthood are flooded with money from George Soros and other pro-abortion philanthropists, from Warren Buffet to Bill Gates and beyond. Expect the United Nations and the European Union to issue statements. Because if abortion extremism — in all 50 states, for nine months of pregnancy, for any reason — falls in the United States, it’s in deep trouble all across the world. Expect every demon in Hell to weigh in with his opinion.

If the filibuster still exists when we have to fight that battle, count on a few squishy GOP senators (who don’t really want to overturn Roe v. Wade anyway, in their heart of hearts) to “reluctantly” side with the Democrats. And we’ll end up with some Republican version of Merrick Garland, or worse.

The Supreme Court is the Death Star of the Left

Unless President Trump betrays us, the next judge he chooses, if confirmed, will shift the balance on the Court, giving constitutionalists the votes to strike down a long series of badly decided, lawless precedents that have stymied us for decades, and left liberals free to keep “pushing the envelope” on one outrageous innovation after another. Essentially, up till now, when the left couldn’t win at the ballot box (as it couldn’t win in most states on same-sex “marriage”), it would call in the courts like a napalm strike on a Vietnamese village. Then we would be left helpless, and the left could get busy in its next assault on normalcy, private property, Western culture, or the family. Rinse and repeat.

You need to have been alive in 1980 to fully realize what a sick, miserable game of bait-and-switch we pro-lifers have been subjected to. That’s the year our triumphant, pro-life president — the first president to take such a stand, in the teeth of a pro-choice-led GOP — threw away his first SCOTUS nomination on the unknown quantity that was Sandra Day O’Connor, to keep a pointless campaign promise that some (doubtless pro-choice) consultant convinced him to make, to appoint a woman. Having swept the Senate that year, Reagan could have picked a really worthwhile woman of course — such as Phyllis Schlafly, a brilliant attorney who had just saved the Constitution from the indignity of the Equal Rights Amendment.

But no, we got a squish-center “moderate” Republican instead, and by the time the next opening came, we had lost the Senate — giving the Democrats the chance to rip off the veil of civility and smear Robert Bork. When pro-abortion Republicans-in-name-only such as Arlen Specter sided with the Democrats, Reagan lost that battle and was talked into appointing … Anthony Kennedy!

Yes, the man who would go on to write the infamous “Humpty-Dumpty” opinion on Casey v. Planned Parenthood, which said that it’s essential to American Constitutional freedom that we be able to pull our definitions of morality, meaning, life and the universe out of any bodily orifice. To appreciate how outrageous a betrayal that appointment turned out to be, imagine how Democrats would have reacted if one of Bill Clinton’s or Obama’s appointees issued a majority opinion against abortion, citing Thomas Aquinas on Natural Law.

Stop Nominating Useless Bench Warmers

The threat of the Democrats’ “Borking” a genuinely pro-life, Constitutional conservative nominee via filibuster — a non-Constitutional, purely procedural trick whereby a judge required 60 votes for confirmation instead of 51 — was enough, on those occasions and in the case of David Souter, to drive Republican presidents to waste the crucial choice of a Supreme Court nominee on someone entirely useless.

Oh, they may have issued a few opinions on antitrust law or … something that weren’t as bad as a Democrat’s pick would have been. But on the crucial issues on which our culture and law really turn, they let themselves be guided by the left-wing superstition of a “living Constitution.” What that actually boils down to is simply this: The Supreme Court will serve not to interpret what the words of the Constitution really mean, but instead will act as a perpetual, unelected and unaccountable Constitutional Convention — rewriting the core principles of our jurisprudence as five lawyers see fit, and imposing them on the voters by decree. Any SCOTUS appointee who won’t unmask that power grab, which vitiates democracy, is useless. We might as well nominate a mannequin.

Play to Win or Stop Pretending You’re Pro-Life

Meanwhile, right up till 2016, the Republicans in the Senate have been a supine, timid, sniveling pack of sycophants who would have confirmed a ham sandwich if President Obama had nominated it. Hence they exerted exactly zero moderating influence on the Democrats’ choices of justices. So the fight over the direction of the Supreme Court, and hence of the effective meaning of the U.S. Constitution, has been as rigged up till now as a Harlem Globetrotters game — where our team turned out and went through the motions, obeying a strict set of rules that the other side boldly ignored, since they were playing to win.

It’s time we did the same. And with Trump we have the chance, at last. Any “pro-life” senator who claims that the judicial filibuster is some hallowed legislative tradition essential to preserving the rights of the minority and defending our democratic system against extremism — fill in more high-school civics class boilerplate blather here — is in fact telling you something quite different. He is revealing that he’s not serious, that he doesn’t really want to stop five unelected liberals appointed for life from making all our important laws. He isn’t a pro-lifer or a conservative. He just plays one on TV — in campaign commercials every six years or so. (For more from the author of “Please, Please Br’er Democrat, Don’t Throw Me Into That Filibuster Patch!” please click HERE)

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