Monday, December 17, 2018

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch

Even before President Donald Trump nominated Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, 49, who serves on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a boisterous, furious crowd had formed on the steps of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

For many, it doesn’t matter that Gorsuch has top credentials. A graduate of Columbia, Harvard Law and Oxford, he is both a Truman and Marshall Scholar, which are among the most exclusive and coveted honors for academic graduates in America. He clerked for Justices Anthony Kennedy and Byron White and, if confirmed, would be the only justice who has ever clerked for a fellow sitting justice.

The nominee was never, ever going to be a social progressive, and was never going to support Roe vs. Wade. Many had already decided to protest whomever Trump chose.

It seems it doesn’t matter to about half the country that Gorsuch has written in defense of religious freedom, a topic that the Orthodox Union and Rabbinical Council of America have advocated for as well. He agreed with two groups that mounted religious objections to the Obama administration’s call that employers provide health care insurance that includes medicine they oppose on religious grounds. Gorsuch has also
written that courts give too much deference to government agencies’ interpretations of statutes. He has also written a book on the future of assisted suicide in America. He is a scholar and outdoorsman, like Justice Scalia, and does not appear to have a controversial background.

But the Democrats in the Senate plan to oppose him anyway. They will oppose him simply because President Trump did not nominate Judge Merrick Garland, as Obama tried to close to a year ago, shortly after Justice Scalia passed away. They will oppose him on the strength of their concern with Trump’s first two weeks in office, which have certainly proved to include more shock and awe executive orders and awkwardly delivered statements, including one that seems to have inadvertently left the word Jews out of its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, than even we ever expected.

They will oppose him on the fact that Trump’s Washington is not their Washington and never will be. One thing we know: the objections to Trump’s Supreme Court pick will have nothing to do with Judge Neil M. Gorsuch himself.

And if a senator is objecting to a Supreme Court nominee, it should be for more concrete reasons than this. This nominee would be a balanced, reasonable choice made by any conservative sitting in the Oval Office.

Right now, the sound and fury signifies nothing.