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Law school 101.

March 21, 2017

It’s not as though Democrats and Republicans need another political stage from which to air their election grievances, but it was patently obvious Monday that the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch has provided yet another one.

Nearly the entire session yesterday was consumed by Demo-whining senators trotting out the same tired and tattered list of slights relating back to the election and Republicans rebutting those claims.

There is no point to that.

What exactly is Judge Gorsuch supposed to do about the hurt feelings, and more importantly, what does whether or not Judge Merrick Garland was given a hearing have to do with the fitness of Judge Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court bench?

In fact, why should professional politicians have any say in the process at all? They have few  to no qualifications to judge a member of the judiciary for effectiveness at his craft.

If his judicial integrity and mastery of the law is, as it should be, the only thing being determined, why not a review by a committee of his professional peers?

So, to the partisan hacks on the committee we have just one thing to say.

Enough.  Just enough.  Everyone gets your self-dealing strategy.

Chuckles Schumer  and Diane Whinestein seem particularly miffed that  they can’t interject their partisan politics into the nominee’s answers.

(OK, that was a cheap shot at the ranking Democrats on the committee, but it just fits so well. Sorry.)

Seriously, if you actually care anything about justice vs. activist politics, you should tune into the hearing.

Although the grilling is just getting started, the nominee is teaching a class in what the function of the  judicial branch of our government is supposed to be about.

Judge Gorsuch is very big on utilizing precedent and ruling on the underlying legal issue or issues when hearing a case.

How refreshing.

Any judge may  have a view of the underlying constitutional background as it applies to the case being heard that differs from that of his or her colleagues on the bench.  That’s why SCOTUS allows for dissenting opinions.

Still, in the modern era of activist judges, it is beyond nice to hear someone talk about the underlying principles of justice instead of how they can advance a political agenda.

It appears that Judge Gorsuch is not easily pigeonholed, a point made by the Denver Post a week ago in this article.

It would appear that neither side can consider him an absolute slam dunk for their political positions, since he has tended to rule largely on the constitutional or legal merits of the case before him at the moment.

That’s not surprising, since the nominee characterizes himself as an originalist, and as the AP reports, vowed “…to be independent or hang up the robe” in Monday’s hearings.

Just since the hearing started Judge Gorsuch has made the point several times that he can only rule on the facts in evidence as they are supported by the law. He has also noted that it is the constitutional duty of the legislative branch, not the judicial branch, to write the laws.

There will be times when the underlying legal basis is in question.  He also makes the point that if you don’t like a law then it has to be changed through the proper channels, i.e. from Congress to the President.

In the past, Congress has relied on packing the Supreme Court with judges who will disregard both past precedent and the letter of the law and legislate from the bench.

Perhaps if we had more judges who felt the same way as Judge Gorsuch, Congress might actually put some thought into what they do on the Hill.

The most frightening thing for the people is to know that questions that come before the Court  have preordained outcomes dependent on the political leanings of the judges hearing the case.

It would be nice if we never again had to see or hear Supreme Court Justices described by the media as liberal or conservative, but instead only as jurists.

This nominee is a good start toward that goal.

From → op-ed

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