Mar 21, 2017
Judge Neil Gorsuch is facing his first day of questions in the second day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing Tuesday.
LIVE STREAM: Judge Neil Gorsuch Confirmation Hearing For Supreme Court 3/21/17
On separation of powers, Gorsuch says that if he brings his views into a case, then he is usurping lawmakers.
“If i start importing my feelings…I have usurped your role,” he tells Sen. Cornyn. “I have taken away the right of self government by the people.”
Gorsuch is talking the establishment of religion with Cornyn. He says it is a tightrope that has to be walked, and there has to be freedom of religion, while also there being protection from the establishment of religion.
Looks like Gov. Mike Huckabee is impressed by Gorsuch’s performance so far.
Gorsuch is now talking about the length of time and cost it takes for lawyers to get through law school.
He says a lot of cases are settled based on litigation costs rather than the merits of the case.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is now up.
He is currently entering this op-ed in the New York Times into the record.
Durbin says Gorsuch is accountable for his rulings.
He turns to Hobby Lobby and asks why he wouldn’t stand up for the rights of the employees.
Gorsuch says Congress decided religious groups needed greater protection under the law — and wrote a strict law saying any religious belief cannot be abridged by the government without a compelling reason.
He says he would apply that law to Muslim prisoners, Native Americans and the Little Sisters of the Poor. He notes that that also applies to Hobby Lobby.
Gorsuch says if Congress wants to pass a different law, then it can.
Gorsuch is now asked about the case of a truck driver who was fired after abandoning a freezing cold trailer. Gorsuch came down on the company’s side.
Gorsuch explains that the law said the man was protected if he refused to operate an unsafe vehicle. But he chose to operate his vehicle, and therefore wasn’t protected by the law, Gorsuch said.
“My law is to enforce the law as written,” he said.
He said that if Congress wishes to rewrite the law, then that’s up to them. But his job is to apply the law.
Gorsuch is now asked about a letter by a student that accused him of encouraging discrimination against female lawyers who are pregnant at law firms.
Gorsuch addresses it, and says he first heard of this the night before his confirmation hearing. He notes that he teaches law ethics for seven years and uses a standard text book.
He notes that there are questions in there, including one that includes “Have you been asked an inappropriate question about your family situation?”
He says he is shocked by how many students have been asked those questions.
Gorsuch talks about his records, and Durbin asks “What about LGBTQ people?”
“What about them? They’re people!” says an exasperated Gorsuch.
National Sheriff’s Association has backed Gorsuch.
GORSUCH HEARING: DEMOCRAT SENATOR FAILS AT BAIT ATTEMPT
Judge Gorsuch refuses to answer question regarding currently pending court case
During Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Patrick Leahy tried to bait the judge into answering a question that would reveal his stance on Trump’s immigration policy.
Gorsuch: Separation of Powers Is ‘The Genius of the Constitution’
(CNSNews.com) – On the second day of his confirmation hearing, Judge Neil Gorsuch was asked for his view on the separation of powers.
Speaking slowly and firmly, the Supreme Court nominee told Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, that the separation of powers is “the genius of the Constitution.”
His response – spontaneous, not read — speaks for itself and is transcribed here in its entirety:
On the separation of powers, it is, Mr. Chairman, the genius of the Constitution.
Madison thought that the separation of powers was perhaps the most important liberty-guaranteeing device in the whole Constitution.
And this is a point of civics that I do think maybe is lost today — how valuable the separation of powers is.
You have in Article I, the people’s representatives make the law. That’s your job. And I don’t think it’s an accident that the framers put Article I first.
Your job comes first, to make the law.
Article II, the president’s job, is to faithfully execute your laws.
And our job, Article III, down at the bottom, is to make sure that the cases and controversies of the people are fairly decided.
And if those roles were confused, and power amalgamated, the Founders worried that that would be the very definition of tyranny.
And you can see why.
Judges would make pretty rotten legislators. We’re life-tenured, right? You can’t get rid of us. It only takes a couple of us to make a decision — or nine, or 12, depending on the court.
That would be a pretty poor way to run a democracy.
And at the same time, with respect, legislators might not make great judges, because they’re answerable to the people. And when you come to court with a case or a controversy about past facts, you want a neutral, rigidly neutral – fair, scrupulously fair, decision-maker.
You want somebody who’s going to put politics aside.
So the separation of powers, I don’t think has lost any of its genius over 200 years. In fact, it’s proven it.
Gorsuch also told Sen. Grassley that no one, in course of his nomination, has asked him for any promises or commitments on which way he would rule.
Gorsuch: ‘For a Judge, Precedent Is a Very Important Thing’
(CNSNews.com) – “For a judge, precedent is a very important thing,” Judge Neil Gorsuch told the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday. “We don’t go reinvent the wheel every day.”
Gorsuch, who co-wrote a book on legal precedent, told the committee that judges must “start with a heavy, heavy presumption in favor of precedent,” but in “a very few cases,” precedent may be overruled.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley asked Gorsuch about several precedent-setting Supreme Court cases, including the Heller case, where the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms.
“If I asked you to tell me whether Heller was rightly decided, can you answer that for me?”
“Senator, I’d respectfully respond that it is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court. And as a good judge, you don’t approach that question anew as if it had never been decided. That would be a wrong way to approach it.
“My personal views, I’d also tell you, Mr. Chairman, belong over here. I leave those at home.”
Gorsuch said part of being a good judge is “coming in and taking precedent as it stands. And your personal views about the precedent have absolutely nothing to do with the good job of a judge.”
After asking Gorsuch about several other cases, Grassley finally got around to the “case that most people are thinking about right now,” Roe v. Wade.
“Can you tell me whether Roe was decided correctly?” Grassley asked Gorsuch.
“Again, I would tell you that Roe vs. Wade, decided in 1973, is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed. The reliance interest considerations are important there, and all of the other factors that go into analyzing precedent have to be considered.
“It is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court. It was reaffirmed in Casey in 1992. And in several other cases. So a good judge will consider it as precedent of the United States Supreme Court, worthy as treatment of precedent like any other.”
Grassley also asked Gorsuch for his views on the 1965 Griswold case, where the Supreme Court found a constitutional right to privacy.
“Senator, it’s a precedent that’s now 50 years old,” Gorsuch said. “Griswold involved the right of married couples to use contraceptive devices in the privacy of their own home. And it’s 50 years old. The reliance interests are obvious. It’s been repeatedly reaffirmed. All very important factors, again, in analyzing precedent. “
JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH’S WONDERFUL AND WINSOME OPENING STATEMENT
Candidate Trump played an ace card when he released the list of probable U.S. Supreme Court nominees: many Republicans and Independents, and even some Libertarians, who were hesitant to endorse or vote for the wealthy businessman with no conservative track record, took notice with the list of constructionist jurists.
Though skepticism was rampant, that list stirred up new winds in the sails of a surprisingly successful bid for the presidency. Releasing the list was an unbelievably savvy move. But some doubts remained. Would President-Elect Trump keep his promise and fill the seat vacated by the untimely death of the beloved and constitutionally-faithful Antonin Scalia?
Americans did not have to wait long. On Tuesday, January 31, President Donald J. Trump announced his pick for SCOTUS: Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch.
Gorsuch then attended Harvard Law School — paid in part by an awarded Truman Scholarship for superb leadership qualities — and was an editor on the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. He graduated cum laude in 1991 with a Juris Doctor degree.
Neil Gorsuch then attended Oxford as a Marshall Scholar and earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Law in 2004. But Gorsuch will always claim his greatest blessing bestowed by Oxford was his wife Mary “Louise.”
The SCOTUS confirmation hearings begin Tuesday, March 21, but on Monday the Senate Judiciary Committee featured opening statements by committee members, most of whom used the time to stump their preferred pet causes. Senator Diane Feinstein immediately lectured on a woman’s right to privacy (no mention of a pre-born infant’s right to life) and harped ad nauseam re dangerous “assault weapons.” In fact, all of the Dems repeated their tiresome fear-mongering.
But then came the shining moment when Judge Neil Gorsuch was given time, after dutifully swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, to give his statement.
And it was much more than a statement.
Judge Gorsuch was humble and touching and grateful, his rhetoric unexpectedly and completely moving. The judge only spoke for a little over 17 minutes, but it’s worth a listen.
Beginning by thanking those in his life, Judge Gorsuch paid a special, tear-worthy tribute to his wife:
Mister Chairman, I could not even attempt to do this without Louise, my wife of more than twenty years. The sacrifices she has made, and her open and giving heart — they leave me in awe. I love you so much.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer promises to fight the Gorsuch nomination, as written at the Chicago Tribune:
But in a sign that Democrats were immediately ramping up resistance, Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and several colleagues declared that Gorsuch would need to earn at least 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles to earn a final confirmation vote. Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate.
“The burden is on Judge Neil Gorsuch to prove himself to be within the legal mainstream and, in this new era, willing to vigorously defend the Constitution from abuses of the Executive branch and protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of all Americans,” Schumer said. “Given his record, I have very serious doubts about Judge Gorsuch’s ability to meet this standard.”
Good old Chuck AKA the Obstructionist Curmudgeon. He can try. He can blather.
But Gorsuch’s intellect, character, integrity, and amazing heart filled with love for his wife, his daughters, Colorado, America and the U.S. Constitution dwarf the petty ambitions and schemes wielded by the bitter, New York Democratic Senator.
Add to that Judge Gorsuch’s startling law and Constitution acuity, and the Senate is faced with confirmation of a man, a justice, who would make Justice Scalia proud.
Well done, President Trump — another promise kept.