Senator Schumer’s publicity-driven obstruction of the Supreme Court nomination process is over before it’s begun

Chuck Schumer, the nomination game is over

By -- Kameron Gonzalez, BombThrowers—— Bio and Archives--February 22, 2017

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BombThrowers:Earlier this month, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer went to work yet again to impede Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court — and he seems certain to again needle the nominee when his confirmation hearing begins March 20.

Sen. Schumer, in his attempt to discredit Judge Gorsuch’s judicial independence, remarked that Gorsuch “avoided answers like the plague” after the nominee endured what must have been a vexing onslaught of pervasive and politically charged questions.


Vilifying Gorsuch for observing professional legal ethics

Judge Gorsuch was simply being judicious. In the confirmation cat-and-mouse game he appears to be quite properly avoiding Senate questions about pending legal disputes.  Many legal scholars agree that even though answering questions about previous decisions handed down by the high court is generally acceptable, federal court nominees should not feel compelled to answer questions regarding ongoing legal cases. Doing so, as one nominee once said, would be “inappropriate,” or as then-nominee Sandra Day O’Connor put it,

There is… a limitation on my responses which I am compelled to recognize. I do not believe that as a nominee I can tell you how I might vote on a particular issue which may come before the Court, or endorse or criticize specific Supreme Court decisions presenting issues which may well come before the Court again. To do so would mean that I have prejudged the matter or have morally committed myself to a certain position. Such a statement by me as to how I might resolve a particular issue or what I might do in a future Court action might make it necessary for me to disqualify myself on the matter.

Instead of vilifying Gorsuch for observing professional legal ethics and respecting legal cases currently before the courts, Schumer should be commending Gorsuch. But at this point, it’s clear Schumer could care less.

Furthermore, as the senator continues his crusade against Gorsuch, the Democrat’s circle of public support continues to get smaller and smaller.


Shortly after the announcement, Neal K. Katyal of Georgetown University Law Center (and an Obama-appointed Solicitor General) wrote in the New York Times that “if the Senate is to confirm anyone, Judge Gorsuch… should be at the top of the list.”

Even prior to his nomination, Gorsuch received notable praise from his own liberal law students: for example, “I found him to be a person of character and quality, intellectually curious and willing to debate all sides… I think he’s dedicated to the truth, to justice, to the justice system.”

More recently, two female litigators who had previously worked with Judge Gorsuch—and who do not share his political views—wrote a resounding endorsement of the judicial nominee at The Federalist:

We hold opposite political views [from Judge Gorsuch], experienced very different upbringings, and hail from different regions of the country. Yet we stand united in our strong support of Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court….

Schumer should wake up to the political reality, stop grandstanding to slow the nomination process

Judge Gorsuch’s adeptness at seeing both sides of a case was a skill he learned as an advocate, but one that he also applies as judge. As a judge, he does not have a client or a side. His role is to view both sides with an open mind and do what the law commands.

As the legal community, voters, and elected officials alike rally behind President Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, Minority Leader Schumer should wake up to the political reality, stop grandstanding to slow the nomination process for his party’s own political gain and respect the nomination of an excellent legal scholar and judicial mind.

If not, March 20—the date set for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings to begin—will politically backfire for the already-beleaguered Senate minority.


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Guest Column -- Kameron Gonzalez, BombThrowers -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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