What To Expect When You're Expecting A Supreme Court Seat

Posted March 20, 2017

"It's always hard to say how a judge is going to affect the ideology of the Supreme Court", attorney Mark Champoux told Anne Trujillo on this week's Politics Unplugged. The left hailed this gibberish as proof of a thoughtful temperament, when in reality it's a feel-good argument to subvert the constitutional duties of the president and the court to feelings.

"When I hear my Republican colleagues say, 'We want another judge like Scalia, who isn't an activist, ' I say, 'What are you talking about?"

Senator Tester is one of five red-state democrats who has come under heavy political pressure to confirm Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Next week isn't the only chance the Democrats have to stand up to Gorsuch - they can still filibuster his nomination when it comes before the full Senate - but the hearings are the most visible forum they'll have for doing so. Although a few of the Court's decisions are now justly infamous-one thinks, for example, of the Dred Scott and Korematsu cases- by and large, the nation has benefited from the conscientious work of distinguished Justices from across the spectrum of jurisprudential thought.

Just four days before Gorsuch appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democratic groups and committees have barely lifted an advertising finger in their quest to sink the nomination. However, even if Democrats did attempt to derail Gorsuch's confirmation through a filibuster Republicans could resort to using the so-called "nuclear-option," voting to remove either the filibuster rule or the super-majority requirement for SCOTUS confirmations. The stops all are in states that went heavily for Republican President Donald Trump in November and that have Democratic senators, including McCaskill, up for re-election in 2018. But the unlikely happened: Trump not only won the presidency, but he picked his nominee from a gold-plated list of 21 candidates that he had issued during his campaign.

In the latest illustration of how much populist politics has seeped into the selection process for this putatively apolitical post, a conservative advocacy organization this week is shuttling a group of Gorsuch friends and colleagues around the country making a personal case for the 49-year-old federal appellate judge. Lynch, the case where he wrote his concurring opinion about Chevron, at the very top. "His track record shows that he would not be a mainstream Supreme Court Justice".

Adopted by the high court in a 1984 case involving the Chevron oil company, the so-called Chevron doctrine says that when the law is ambiguous, judges should defer to federal agencies' interpretations of their own powers.

Some of the issues that normally animate Supreme Court confirmation hearings won't depend upon Gorsuch. Republicans have only 52 members in the upper chamber, so they would need eight Democrats to cross the aisle and vote with them.

Judge Gorsuch unflinchingly does what is right. Chairman Grassley will open, followed by ranking member Feinstein, and then alternating back and forth between Republicans and Democrats-Hatch, Leahy, Graham, Durbin, Cornyn, Whitehouse, Lee, Klobuchar, Cruz, Franken, Sasse, Coons, Flake, Blumenthal, Crapo, Hirono-and then finishing with the two most junior Republicans on the committee, Tillis and Kennedy.

The real question is if Judge Neil Gorsuch will discuss, during his March 20 confirmation hearing, whether he will favor the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of free exercise of religion over its guarantee of equal protection of the law.

Gorsuch has never led a decision on same-sex marriage, but in a 2005 National Review op-ed, he wrote that "American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom ... as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage" to other issues.