Friday, February 10, 2017

Gorsuch was a Wise Choice for the Supreme Court

Gorsuch with Scalia on Fishing Trip
By Douglas V. Gibbs
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When Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in February of 2016, the Democrats were excited.  They want to dominate the Supreme Court with judges who are willing to sacrifice the Constitution for their leftist narrative, and with the very conservative Scalia dying, and the very liberal Barack Obama in office, the path to Supreme Court domination seemed to be within their grasp.  The Republican-controlled Congress, however, was not so quick to grant the Democrats their wish.  Merrick Garland was Obama's choice, and the GOP Congress-critters held firm, and basically said, "Let's let the next President choose who the next Supreme Court Justice will be."

Retreating to the court system to reestablish power, especially after losing ground, is an age-old tactic used by the leftists.  After Thomas Jefferson won the White House in 1800, and the big government Federalist Party also lost both Houses of Congress, John Adams launched into a frenzy of appointing "midnight judges" in the final moments prior to the inauguration of Jefferson - a feat he was able to mostly accomplish because of the leftist-friendly outgoing Congress.  Jefferson wrote to Joel Barlow about the political move, writing, "The principal [leaders of the political opposition] have retreated into the judiciary as a stronghold, the tenure of which renders it difficult to dislodge them."

Donald J. Trump won the presidency in November, and took office on January 20, 2017.  The Democrats pledged to be obstructionists, and the confirmation hearings for Trump's team has been arduous and combative.  After a myriad of battles, and the unleashing of an executive order by President Trump limiting travel from seven countries tied to terrorism, the President announced that his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court was a judge out of Denver, Colorado, Neil Gorsuch.

Of the list of the final three potential candidates, Gorsuch was the most conservative federal judge remaining.  He hails from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, where he was appointed in 2006 by George W. Bush, and unanimously confirmed by many of the same people who are now screaming against him.  Those people who now have turned against Gorsuch, like Nancy Pelosi, claim he is "outside the mainstream."

When Scalia died, the Race for the White House was in full swing, and for many voters the election became about that Supreme Court pick.  With the future of the court in the balance, the question was, "Would you prefer Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, to choose the next Supreme Court Justice?"  It was understood that the choice would likely define the court for generations.  Recognizing the importance of the pick to voters, Trump promised on the campaign trail that we would find a conservative judge for the Supreme Court.

“I took the task of this nomination very seriously. I have selected an individual whose qualities define, really and I mean closely define, what we’re looking for,” Trump said recently. “Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support.”

“This has been the most transparent and most important Supreme Court selection process in the history of our country, and I wanted the American people to have a voice in this nomination,” Trump added. “Judge Gorsuch has a superb intellect, an unparalleled legal education, and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its text. He will make an incredible justice as soon as the Senate confirms him.”

“As this process now moves to the Senate, I look forward to speaking with members from both sides of the aisle, from answering their questions to hearing their concerns,” Gorsuch said. “I consider the United States Senate the greatest deliberative body in the world. … It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work for the people’s representatives.”

During the campaign, Trump pledged to nominate an individual who was “very much in the mold of” Scalia.

One recent study singled out Gorsuch as one of the top judges whose approach to interpreting the law was closest to that of Scalia’s approach. Gorsuch ranked second out of 15 judges in “Scalia-ness,” surpassed only by Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Lee.

When it comes to the law and the Constitution, a Supreme Court justice must keep their political views and emotions out of their job to apply the law to the cases they hear.  They must also understand that more important than their desire to launch into some creative “interpretation” is the importance of the original meaning of the original text of the law or constitutional article in question.  It is not for them to assume the law or a constitutional article means something different from what was intended by its drafters because of the justice's emotions, the political narrative the justice prefers, or feelings regarding whether or not the law or article is fair, wise, or just.

Gorsuch gives every indication that he will be just such a justice if he is confirmed by the Senate. He has demonstrated that he understands the proper, limited scope of the judicial power, and of the federal government.

Gorsuch is a native of Colorado, is 49 years of age, making him the youngest Supreme Court Nominee in 25 years, and a product of Columbia University, Harvard University, and Oxford University - an impressive education background, to say the least.  He also clerked for two U.S. Supreme Court justices — Byron White and Anthony Kennedy — before spending a decade as a partner at the law firm of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel in Washington, D.C., where his specialties ranged “from antitrust to securities fraud, fiduciary duty to telecommunications.

He is also a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative and libertarian group that promotes an “originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.”  Gorsuch's record demonstrates he cares about religious liberty, the separation of powers, and the original public meaning of the Constitution.

In a concurring opinion in 2016, Gorsuch wrote that the Constitution “isn’t some inkblot on which litigants may project their hopes and dreams … but a carefully drafted text judges are charged with applying according to its original public meaning.”

Each case, Gorsuch said, deserves the “complete attention of the judge without being diverted by personal politics, policy preferences, or what you ate for breakfast.” He later added that he would “follow the law as written and not replace it with [his] own preferences, or anyone else’s.”

In a tribute to Scalia, Gorsuch wrote that “legislators may appeal to their own moral convictions and to claims about social utility to reshape the law as they think it should be in the future,” but that “judges should instead strive (if humanly and so imperfectly) to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be—not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best.”

He quoted Scalia, saying:  "If you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong."

He also wrote that he was “an adherent to the view that outcomes (ends) do not justify methods (means).”

Gorsuch has a record that demonstrates his fidelity to the Constitution and a proper understanding of the role of courts.  For Republicans, the most striking part about Gorsuch is that he is like Scalia in many ways.

Gorsuch authored “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia” (2006), a book that, as Princeton University Press described it, “builds a nuanced, novel, and powerful moral and legal argument against legalization [of assisted suicide and euthanasia], one based on a principle that, surprisingly, has largely been overlooked in the debate—the idea that human life is intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong.”

After joining the bench, he co-authored “The Law of Judicial Precedent” (2016) with the highly-respected legal writer Bryan Garner (who co-authored several books with Scalia) and 11 other federal appellate judges.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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