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Democrats Question Independence Of Trump Supreme Court Nominee

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Democrats Question Independence Of Trump Supreme Court Nominee

Gorsuch, Trump

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. senators on Monday sharpened a potential line of attack against Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court by questioning whether he would be sufficiently independent as a justice in light of President Donald Trump’s vigorous use of unilateral presidential power including his travel ban.

Their comments came after Trump criticized James Robart, the U.S. district court judge who put on hold the Republican president’s Jan. 27 order temporarily barring entry into the United States of people from seven Muslim-majority nations and halting the U.S. refugee program. Trump called Robart a “so-called judge” who made a “ridiculous” decision.

Democrats have expressed worry that Gorsuch, nominated by Trump last week, could act as a rubber stamp for the Republican president’s policies on a nine-seat Supreme Court poised to revert to a conservative majority.

“It’s a serious concern with a president who attacks the judiciary and seems to not respect the rule of law and the Constitution that you have a really independent justice,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, set to meet with Gorsuch on Tuesday, told Reuters.

Gorsuch, continuing a series of private meetings with senators ahead of his Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings, met on Monday with Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the panel’s top Democrat, at her Senate office.

Afterward, she said Gorsuch is “clearly very smart, caring, and he’s well thought of in Colorado,” where he serves as a federal appeals court judge. But Feinstein said she will make up her mind after the hearing about whether or not to support his confirmation.

“What we would like to see is an independent judge, and the hearing will determine that,” Feinstein told Reuters.

Gorsuch must be confirmed by the Senate to the lifetime post on the high court.

“It’s incumbent upon Judge Gorsuch to make it clear to the American people that he does not believe in ‘so-called judges,’ that he thinks it’s imperative that the judiciary has to be respected as an independent one-third of our government,” said Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination last year.

“I would look forward to hearing him speak out on that issue,” Sanders added.

Conservative lawyers and Republican senators who are favorable toward Gorsuch cite his record of supporting limited federal powers and his skepticism about courts deferring too much to executive branch interpretations of the law when issuing regulations as signs he would be willing to stand up to Trump.

“I have zero concerns about his independence being compromised,” said Senator John Cornyn of Texas, a Republican who sits on the Judiciary Committee.

Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, another Republican, said Gorsuch “has a trail of decisions and publications a mile long that suggest how talented he is, that are instructive as to how he would rule on any number of issues.”

With four liberals and four conservatives now on the court, Gorsuch’s confirmation would restore the conservative majority that had existed for decades until the death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Gorsuch’s supporters point in particular to a recent case in which Gorsuch criticized a landmark high court ruling known as Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. That 1984 ruling directed judges nationwide to defer to federal agencies’ interpretation of laws that may be ambiguous.

Gorsuch in a concurring opinion called that doctrine the “elephant in the room” that concentrates federal power “in a way that seems more than a little difficult to square with the Constitution.”

If Gorsuch is confirmed to serve on a court that would have five conservatives and four liberals, Democrats have expressed concern about setbacks for their positions on divisive issues such as abortion, gun control, environmental regulation, and transgender rights.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by David Morgan and Richard Cowan; Editing by Will Dunham)

IMAGE: U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch arrives for a meeting with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas



  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 7, 2017

    Every sane person in America should be questioning every thing about Trump and those associated with him. Not to be mean-spirited, but there is obviously something wrong with Trump’s inside mechanisms.

    As I marveled at how twisted any one person could be when I awoke and started reflecting, the question arose “How is it that the Soul of a person could manifest so many depraved qualities, when throughout the Writings of Baha’u’llah–available now in English and the other major languages—the soul is described as being created as “Noble”(O Son of Being! Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself…”).

    Then I began to think of an answer to a question posed to Abdu’l Baha regarding Good and Evil. Abdu’l Baha responded, and this is the short paraphrased response, that “Good” is a “real” quality and emanates from God, and that “Evil” is not an essential quality with permanence, but is a representation of the “ABSENCE” of “Good”.

    So, there must be a series of biochemical/emotional/psychological interactions thrown out of balance, thus motivating a “pure” soul to alter its original purpose. This is basically conjecture on my part regarding the motivation for Trump, Putin, Paul Ryan, Assad, drug lords, the KKK, various gang-bangers in Chicago, you, me, my fellow Baha’is around the world, Pope Francis, and others to behave as we do.

    Depending on the extent one has allowed her/his soul to be refreshed and nourished will direct how the soul’s interaction with our biochemical/emotional aspects will stir certain impulses, thus dictating our personal behaviors and how we respond to our fellow humans and to our physical environment.

    “O Son of Being! Love Me that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant!” — Baha’u’llah from ‘The Hidden Words’

  2. FireBaron February 7, 2017

    As this is Teflon Donnie’s first year in office, there should be a rule saying that he cannot nominate a Supreme Court justice until he has filled the other benches still vacant. By then it will be an election year and we can force the McConnell doctrine and refuse to hold hearings.

    1. Dan S February 7, 2017

      I second that motion ????

    2. I Am Helpy February 7, 2017

      Since he’s already registered as a candidate, the 2020 election is already running. It wouldn’t be fair to appoint a judge until the American people have had their say, and it would be in keeping with the principles spuriously invented displayed by the Republicans with Obama.

      1. InformedVoter February 8, 2017

        Hey HELLpy, the Pathetic 17.3% accurate poster that has the moniker “usually inaccurate” ( I didn’t label you that, the webiste did), Gorsuch will be confirmed the first vote; ALL of President Trump’s cabinet members will be confirmed. Don’t be surprised that President Trump doesn’t send you folks invoices for you’re actions. The ONLY reason the Dem get anyone showing up (and it’s been significantly lower than HilLIARy’s
        crowds!) is that they have been paying the protesters. HELL, they’re not working so they can show up during the week.

        1. I Am Helpy February 8, 2017

          So still no quote, huh.

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