Gorsuch Hearings Day 1: If This Is All The Dems Got, They Best Go Home

Gorsuch Hearings Day 1: If This Is All The Dems Got, They Best Go Home

How Neil Gorsuch looks while toying with Democrats. (photo from Getty)

How Neil Gorsuch looks while toying with Democrats. (photo from Getty)

If you’ve listened to all or any part of the Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court confirmation hearing, you have noticed that it sounds like… every other Supreme Court confirmation hearing. The side of the nominee’s party talks about what a nice human the nominee is and how the nominee can’t answer any questions. The side opposing the nominee’s party asks questions that they know the judge can’t answer, while going through the laundry list of cases they don’t like.

That’s what’s happening at the Gorsuch hearings. Ted Cruz sexually assaulted Gorsuch with his eyes, while Al Franken went for the knee like he was a member of Cobra Kai.

And if that’s all it’s going to be, the Democrats should just roll-over, confirm Neil Gorsuch with 80-odd votes, and move onto healthcare, Russia, and whatever the hell else Gorsuch and his conservative buddies will be happy to adjudicate later.

Because Neil Gorsuch is qualified. Of that there is no doubt. He’s a conservative. He thinks like a conservative. His outcomes will be conservative. Gorsuch said today that he doesn’t think there’s a “Republican” judge or a “Democrat” judge, but he wouldn’t be sitting here today if he wasn’t a “Republican” who could be trusted to vote with other Republicans the vast majority of the time.

Gorsuch doesn’t have to acknowledge his politics, we already know where he stands.

If you are going to attack Gorsuch, that’s where you have to get him. It’s not whether he’s qualified to sit on the high Court, it’s whether he’s legitimately sitting at these confirmation hearings. There was a person, nominated by a President, to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court: that man never received his confirmation hearing.

Here’s a question: What are the Democrats doing at this hearing? LITERALLY, WHY ARE THEY SITTING THERE? Why are they lending credence to this illegitimate farce? Judge Merrick Garland never got a hearing, why give this guy the honor?

In the alternative, the Democratic questions should have NOTHING TO DO with Gorsuch, because Gorsuch isn’t really the issue here. The issue is the process. The issue is the potential Russian agent who appointed him. ALL the questions should be about that:

“Did the President talk to you about Russia before your nomination?”
“Have you met with the Russians?”
“Other people before this committee have lied about meeting the Russians. How can we know you are telling the truth?”
“Do you think people who lie to this committee should be prosecuted for perjury?”
“Do you think the President can be subpoenaed?”
“Do you think executive privilege extends to personal business with foreign governments?”
“Do you think Russian law should be applied to the United States?”
“Would you recuse yourself from cases involving the man who appointed you?”
“Would you recuse yourself from cases involving Russian agents.”

If you Democrats are going to do this, DO THIS. GO THERE.

“Are you Merrick Garland?”
“Do you think this body fulfilled its constitutional responsibility with regard to his nomination?”
“You won’t answer? Is that because you think there could be a CASE OR CONTROVERSY involving the Garland process?”
“You have no opinion? Okay. Does that lack of opinion come from the TEXT of the Constitution?”
“Would you think it appropriate for this committee to deny you a hearing?”
“Why should we look at your record, and not Merrick Garland’s?”
“For the rest of my time, I’m going to recite Merrick Garland’s résumé, for the record.”

These are the only questions worth asking. Not Hobby Lobby. Not Heller. BREAKING NEWS: Republican jurist likes guns and fetuses, unsure about women and uterine health.

This is about Merrick Garland, Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump, or it’s about nothing at all.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) came the closest to articulating this. He started with the “elephant in the room,” and then hammered him about Donald Trump for 15 minutes over Trump’s comments about “so-called judges.” (Mazie Hirono D-HI, is doing a similar thing now near the end of her time.) But even he eventually got sucked into culture war issues more appropriate for a normal nominee.

If you don’t like conservative justices because they’re conservative, that’s just not a valid reason to vote against somebody to serve on the Supreme Court. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like those guys either. But they have a valid, reasonable point of view. This Constitution yo… it’s a racist, sexist document that is totally cool with women and minorities getting screwed if enough white men say so. That’s why we fight about it. That’s why we don’t have a robot issuing Supreme Court decisions.

If you don’t like this justice because he shouldn’t BE THERE… well, that’s another thing. But if you are going to fight that battle, you can’t fight it “normally.” It’s a goddamn ABNORMAL situation. Treat it as such if you want to rally more people to the fight.

The Democrats, as usual, have an opening here, but seem to be too timid to take it. They’re still playing “normal.” They’re making a bayonet charge in a world of freaking tanks.

And Neil Gorsuch is going to blast away at them, for the next thirty years.

Elie Mystal is an editor of Above the Law and the Legal Editor for More Perfect. He can be reached @ElieNYC on Twitter, or at elie@abovethelaw.com. He will resist.


Published at Tue, 21 Mar 2017 23:40:25 +0000

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