Neil Gorsuch is in the process of becoming confirmed as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, filling the seat of my hero Justice Scalia after his untimely death last year.
The hearings showed that Gorsuch shares a judicial temperament similar to Scalia which would ultimately maintain the balance that has developed on the court over the last few years between conservative and activist oriented justices.
Essentially, nothing new and exciting is going to take place in the direction of the Court as a result of a Gorsuch appointment… but, that does not mean that politics does not play a role in the confirmation process… SIGH!
There were some anger and resentment from the Democrats regarding President Obama’s attempt to fill Scalia’s seat with Merrick Garland in the last few months of his presidency. An attempt that the Republicans met with resistance and ultimately prevented from happening. This still seems to be a source of consternation among the Democrats.
Hand wringing aside, the purpose of the confirmation hearing is to allow for the Senate to play a role in the nomination process…. specific to the individual nominated… not to air grievances arising from unrelated political dramas.
Regardless, during the confirmation process, we saw some examples of an attorney with a complete and utter lack of understanding of basic Constitutional principles, zero regard for the rule of law, and frankly a juvenile idea of established jurisprudence.
Fortunately, these displays did not come from Neil Gorsuch…
They came from California’s two Senators.
(Begin here, if you came from the blog)
In an exchange between Senator Diane Feinstein and Gorsuch, she asked him about the Second Amendment. Specifically, she wanted to know his thoughts on “assault rifles” as well as his understanding of Heller v. District of Columbia… and, if that ruling recognizes a “fundamental right” of citizens to keep and bear arms.
Gorsuch correctly demurred on the question of “assault rifles” (The nominated cannot comment on, nor give future litigants a statement that would indicate a pre determined outcome to future litigation). He did say that he would follow the law as established under the Heller ruling.
This seemed to really bother Senator Feinstein.
She wanted to know what Gorsuch thought of the law and whether by extension, it should be followed. Gorsuch's response was incredulity. “Senator, it does not make any difference what my thoughts are, it is the law.”
The fact that she would press him on this issue is problematic in two respects: First, as he has articulated, (and she must know)… it is the “law”, and arbitrarily not following it because of a personal belief cheapens all law, and ultimately leads to lack of predictability. How can a society function if knowledge of what is right and wrong is outcome based, dependent exclusively on a set of facts of a particular case, rather than on legal principles.
Second, if a judicial nominee were to signal his antagonism towards the underlying principle of existing law, that would clearly telegraph to future litigants how the outcome of a case challenging that law would go… in least, as far as this particular jurist is concerned.
The second round of insanity came from a tweet issued by Senator Kamela Harris. California’s Junior Senator.
She announced that she would not support Gorsuch since he placed “legalisms” over the rights of average citizens.
Again… she is looking for outcome based judicial principles. A jurist that will uphold Constitutional principles over the desired policy outcome of a case simply cannot be tolerated.
(ALSO… what the hell does she mean by “legalisms”? Is she referring to… um.. you know…”the law?!?!”)
Remember, until recently Ms. Harris was the highest ranking law enforcement official in the State of California, serving as Attorney General. It is no wonder that we have the problems in California that we do from the legislature, to the enforcement of laws, to the expansion of administrative regulations… clearly in defiance of Constitutional principles.
Senator Harris gave us a peek behind the curtain as it relates to leftist jurisprudence. The Constitution (read “legalisms”) is an irritant to her. A road block that prevents legislative as well as case law from allowing unconstitutional laws and programs from being enacted.
Senator Harris, Senator Feinstein,… the purpose of the Constitution is not to expand the role of Government, it is to RESTRICT the government from encroaching on the rights of the individual. The judiciary is to interpret the laws crafted by the legislature and ensure that they comport with Constitutional principles.
I would suggest that during the Congressional recess you consider taking a basic civics course.