If you would like to find out why Democrats are so widely reviled, spend a few hours watching the interrogation of Neil Gorsuch, now under consideration for the Supreme Court by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Gorsuch is a Federal appeals court judge from Colorado. Democrats found a half-dozen cases (out of the hundreds Gorsuch has decided) on which to base an orchestrated campaign of character assassination. Their attack was as unpersuasive as it was brutal. They owe the judge an apology.
As citizens, Gorsuch and I are almost certainly on opposite sides of many issues, but as lawyers we share a view of what judges are supposed to do, and Gorsuch, after hours of questioning, is exposed as an exemplary judge. What he does is follow precedent, as he’s required to do. Sometimes, the result is that decent people get hurt. There are deficiencies in federal law that judges have no authority to correct. Democrats turned up three or four such cases and they pounded him incessantly with them. The judge challenged the lawmmakers to remedy the deficiences with legislation, and they pleaded impotence.
Because of Gorsuch’s adherence to judicial precedent, nearly all the cases he has sat on were decided unanimously. He’s been reversed only once by the Supreme Court in ten years on the appeals court bench. His Democratic assailants tried to find something in his record showing political bias, but there was nothing, so they resorted to underhanded tactics like guilt by association (anonymous rich people have spent millions promoting his nomination) and name-calling (he’s an “originalist” and a “corporatist”).
The Dems’ onslaught was transparently phony, as senators read statements prepared by others pulling quotes out of context from writings Gorsuch published before he was appointed to the federal bench and goading him to agree or disagree with opinions of others on controversial legal issues and to disclose his personal political opinions. As hard as it may be to believe that a clown like Trump could pick a qualified person for the Supreme Court, the hearing–two days of nonstop, repetitive, often disrespectful interrogation–was conclusive: the nominee is an asset and should be confirmed. C-SPAN has the hearing archived, and if you can watch Feinstein, Blumenthal and Franken without nausea, it’s definitely worth a few hours.