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Neil Gorsuch Sworn In As Associate Justice Of Supreme Court

As expected, Neil Gorsuch took the two oaths required of all incoming Judges and Justices to become the 113th Justice on the Supreme Court:

WASHINGTON — Neil M. Gorsuch was sworn in on Monday as the 113th justice of the Supreme Court, placing a devoted conservative in the seat once occupied by Justice Antonin Scalia and handing President Trump a victory in his push to shape the court for decades to come.

Justice Gorsuch, 49, took the oath in the White House Rose Garden with Mr. Trump looking on. It was the fulfillment of a vital campaign promise made by Mr. Trump — one that allayed the reservations of many Republican Party stalwarts, who were otherwise repelled by his candidacy — to make the appointment of a strict conservative to the Supreme Court a top priority.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, 80, often a swing vote who holds the balance of power on the court, presided, a reminder that Justice Gorsuch’s ascendance may not be this president’s final chance to influence the direction of the high court.

“Justice Gorsuch, you are now entrusted with the sacred duty of defending our Constitution,” Mr. Trump said. “Our country is counting on you to be wise, impartial and fair, to serve under our laws not over them, and to safeguard the right of the people to govern their own affairs.”

Mr. Trump called the occasion “momentous” and “historic,” noting that his power to appoint is among a president’s most important.

“And I got it done in the first 100 days,” Mr. Trump added. “You think that’s easy?”

The Rose Garden ceremony, on a sun-soaked spring day, recalled one just over a year ago in which President Barack Obama announced his selection of Judge Merrick B. Garland to succeed Justice Scalia. Senate Republicans quickly declared, however, that they would not consider Judge Garland’s nomination, saying the choice of the next justice should belong to the next president.

The day started early for Justice Gorsuch, who was first sworn in during a private ceremony at the Court by Chief Justice Roberts. At this ceremony, Gorsuch took the “Constitutional Oath” required of all Federal officers and appointees in a ceremony that was attended by the current members of the Court, Gorsuch’s family, and the widow and eldest son of the late Justice Scalia. The Court later released photographs of that event:

After that ceremony, the same entourage of people made their way to the White House, where Gorsuch took the oath required of members of the Federal Judiciary since Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789, the first statute that organized the judiciary of the new nation created by the Constitution. That oath was administered by Associate Justice Kennedy, whom Gorsuch had clerked for 24 years ago. Here’s video of that oath:

Now that he’s been sworn-in Gorsuch can officially begin moving into his new office in the Court and bringing on board whatever staff and clerks he may be bringing with him from the Tenth Circuit if any. It was reported over the weekend, though, that Gorsuch has already been given access to briefs he is going to need to read to be up to date on the cases that the Court will be considering during the remainder of the term. These include not just the dozen or so cases that will be argued during the two weeks of oral argument that begin next Monday, but also a whole host of petitions for review currently pending before the Court that could make for some interesting developments in the term that will begin in October:

Within the week, Gorsuch will join his new colleagues in considering whether to hear two lower-court defeats being appealed by gun rights organizations. A case about whether business owners may refuse to offer their wedding services to same-sex couples awaits resolution. Soon, the justices will take up North Carolina’s request that they overturn a decision tossing out as unconstitutional its tightened voting restrictions.

And heading toward the court is Trump’s revamped travel ban on refugees and certain immigrants, a case that Senate Democrats said will test Gorsuch’s independence from the man who chose him for the high court.

“One notable difference between this nomination and those past is that Trump had clear, stated litmus tests for his nominee,” said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center, which opposed Gorsuch’s confirmation. “Gorsuch will have the opportunity almost immediately to demonstrate just how closely he fits within two of President Trump’s stated litmus tests for his high-court nominee — guns and religion.”

It seems likely that Gorsuch holds the key to a long-delayed case that is the court’s most important of the term regarding separation of church and state. A church-affiliated school in Missouri is challenging that state’s refusal to let it participate in a grant program that provides playground safety materials.

Trinity Lutheran Church says religious institutions are unfairly excluded from such state programs. The state points to a clause in its constitution that says “no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect, or denomination of religion.”

The court accepted the case nearly 15 months ago, when Scalia was still alive. But it delayed scheduling the case for oral argument until now. That might be an indication that the court has been divided on the issue from the beginning and needs a ninth vote to break the tie.

Gorsuch was an outspoken supporter of religious objectors in two cases involving the Affordable Care Act. In Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius and Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, Gorsuch wrote that a requirement that employers provide contraceptive coverage for their employees could make the religious complicit in what they consider a sin.

The court is also considering a petition from a Denver baker who was found to have unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake.

Lower courts ruled that Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, violated Colorado’s public accommodations law, which prohibits refusing service to customers based on factors such as race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.

The Supreme Court has listed the case as “under consideration” for weeks, without announcing whether it is accepting the case or turning it down.

That has led to speculation that the justices have decided not to take the case and that one of the conservative justices is writing a dissent against that decision. But it could also be that three justices want to take the case and are hoping Gorsuch will provide the fourth vote required to accept a case.

(…)

Two gun issues await at Gorsuch’s first private conference with his new colleagues Thursday, when the court meets to decide whether to accept a long list of cases for the term that begins next fall.

The most important is a petition from gun rights activists asking the court to find for the first time that the Second Amendment right to keep a gun for self-defense extends to carrying firearms outside the home.

In cases from California, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that it did not. “Any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry — including a requirement of ‘good cause,’ however defined — is necessarily allowed by the [Second] Amendment,” it said.

A strongly worded dissent said “any fair reading” of the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision finding a constitutional right to gun ownership for self-defense “compels the conclusion that the right to keep and bear arms extends beyond one’s front door.”

A second case involves whether those convicted of certain crimes can be barred indefinitely from possessing firearms.

On a different subject, the court must soon decide what to do about North Carolina’s request that the court review a decision striking down its voting law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said the law was unconstitutional because it was drawn to “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

The case already has divided the Supreme Court. In August, the justices split 4 to 4 on whether the decision should be stayed so that the law would be in effect for the November elections. The lack of a fifth vote meant the restrictions did not govern voting in last fall’s election.

Gorsuch may have an impact on cases that already have come before the court. Normally when the court is deadlocked, it issues a one-paragraph statement that affirms the decision of the lower court, without setting a national precedent.

This term, however, there may be cases that the eight justices have already considered in which they reached an impasse but decided to hold back any announcement, awaiting Gorsuch’s confirmation. In that scenario, the court would order new oral arguments to allow Gorsuch to join the deliberations.

Depending on where the Justices currently stand on many of these cases, Gorsuch could provide a crucial fourth vote in favor of taking particular cases for review. In some of the examples cited above, such as the gun control and religious liberty cases, that could be the difference between a case getting and not getting a review. We could get an indication of that early next week when the Court announces the next list of cases it has accepted for appeal during the upcoming term. At that time, the Court may also announce which cases it has already heard oral argument, if any, it will set for re-argument now that it has a full complement of Justices again for the first time since Justice Scalia died in February of last year. In reality, of course, Gorsuch’s real impact on the Court is something that will take time to determine, but at the age of 49, he has the potential to be a key vote in the direction of the court until well into the middle of the 21st Century.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports on some of the more amusing things that Justice Gorsuch will face as the junior Justice on the Court:

No one could have known it at the time, but at the end of last summer, Justice Elena Kagan gave Neil M. Gorsuch a face-to-face tutorial on what it means to be the Supreme Court’s newest justice.

It starts in the kitchen.

“I’ve been on the cafeteria committee for six years. (Justice) Steve Breyer was on the cafeteria committee for 13 years,” Kagan said at a Colorado event where she was being interviewed by Gorsuch and Timothy M. Tymkovich, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

Gorsuch and Tymkovich both were on President Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees at the time, and it just so happened that they asked what it was like to be the most junior justice.

Kagan is a storyteller, and knows this is a topic that audiences usually eat up, so she played it for all it was worth.

The junior justice has three unique responsibilities, she said. But in recounting them, she always starts with the fact that the newest justice is assigned to cafeteria duty and keeps it until the next justice is confirmed.

“I think this is a way to kind of humble people,” she said during the “fireside chat” at the elegant Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs. “You think you’re kind of hot stuff. You’re an important person. You’ve just been confirmed to the United States Supreme Court.

“And now you are going to monthly cafeteria committee meetings where literally the agenda is what happened to the good recipe for the chocolate chip cookies.”

The justices eat lunch together on the days when they hear oral arguments, Kagan explained.

“Somebody will say, ‘Who’s our representative to the cafeteria committee again?’ Like they don’t know, right? And then they’ll say, ‘This soup is very salty.’ And I’m like supposed to go fix it myself?”

You might guess it was not the first time Kagan has told the story. But, as she says, she’s worried about the cookies and the soup since 2010–her biggest contribution has been to install a frozen yogurt machine–so who would begrudge her?

(…)

The junior justice’s other responsibilities involve the private conference, when the justices meet alone–no clerks, no assistants–to decide which cases they will take and vote on the cases in which they’ve heard oral arguments.

It’s another event at which seniority rules. The chief justice speaks first, and then each justice speaks in order of longevity on the court. The junior justice speaks last and takes notes of the proceeding.

Kagan likes that duty. “I pay attention, I don’t lose focus and I communicate all our decisions,” she said. But that’s not all.

“The third thing–this is the most important junior justice responsibility–I open the door,” she said.

The conference room is a “real inner sanctum. We have two doors,” she said. Why would someone knock? “Well, you know, one of the justices forgot his glasses. The other justice forgot her cup of coffee.”

Kagan said there are no exceptions to the rule of who answers the door.

“Literally, if I’m like in the middle of a sentence–let’s say it’s my turn to speak or something–and there’s a knock on the door, everybody will just stare at me, waiting for me to open the door,” Kagan said. “It’s like a form of hazing. So, that’s what I do, I open the door. Pronto.”

Good luck chasing down that cookie recipe Justice Gorsuch.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Gorsuch is a man without honor – no man of honor would have collaborated in this theft of a seat. The Supreme Court is now as corrupt as Congress.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 21

  2. Modulo Myself says:

    I have to wonder how much this will blowback on the GOP. They did everything they could to make sure that the most extreme and ludicrous pseudo-reasoning was kept alive. Instead of like nominating somebody who was at least part of the late 20th century–maybe a libertarian defense attorney, for example–they went with a prep school hack who had the usual right-wing grievances, i.e. though privileged as hell, someone was mean to him in a place of privilege.

    And Scalia, for all of the PR behind him, is not going to age well. The guy thought sodomy could be made illegal, and he saw nothing untoward about giving the nice state of Alabama the right to screw with the vote of black people. Also, his writing is terrible and his jokes are completely unfunny. The guy may have been able to eat 50 oysters at one sitting, but he’s not going to be held at anything other than a gross caricature of the age.

    When this guy delivers some weird autistic verdict–‘merely because the plaintiff was screaming does not mean the federal government has the right to say that the plaintiff was in pain’–what’s going to happen? There is a degree of allowance handed to relics of the past. In the spirit of America, you had to go along with idea that somewhere, somehow a non-racist had to be ideologically concerned about the ways in which the founding fathers were violated by modern anarchy. But not anymore. Trump has killed that, along with the factual evidence of what people who wish for federalism and originalism are like. Gorsuch is such a clear cheat. The GOP literally could not imagine the Supreme Court without a Scalia Seat. It’s a sign of completely emptiness and an inability to compete.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 7

  3. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Big win for corporate America…big loss for the average American.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 6

  4. Eric Florack says:

    @michael reynolds: sour grapes indeed.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 20

  5. Eric Florack says:

    There are two points in this guy’s history that cause me serious doubt.
    First one being he clerked for Justice Kennedy. If he ends up being another Kennedy, we might just as well as Hillary she would, or for that matter, Chuckles Schumer.
    And that brings up another point in my list of unease. Even with all of the Smoke and heat the Democrats are putting up over this Justice, the fact of the matter is that they universally supported his nomination every time his name came up until such time as Republican nominated him. Now obviously that shows the partisanship that the Democrats feed on. This is who they are. But something I haven’t seen mention as a deduction out of this is that apparently, he wasn’t too right-wing for them back then. And I have reason to doubt that he’s changed all that much.
    It has always seemed to me that the Democrats were waddling far too willingly toward Harry Reid’s nuclear option. I’m beginning to wonder if in their private counsel they are figuring that Gorsuch really isn’t all that much of a loss for them, so let the thing play out.
    So not only do we have a wasted Supreme Court nomination but we also have a rule changes it’s going to come back and bite conservatives in the ass eventually.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 20

  6. gVOR08 says:

    I expect Gorsuch to be a bloody disaster as a justice. I half way think he may disappoint Trump occasionally on abortion and guns. But he’s a way station from “corporations are people” to “only corporations are fully people”. We are reentering an era of great inherited wealth. There will be a strong tendency for wealth to control the government. Gorsuch will facilitate that tendency. Galbraith talked a lot about “countervailing power”, only the government can counter the power of large corporations. Gorsuch will be a vote against exercising that power.

    That said, all he did was collect all the ticket punches to be a Republican justice and then accept the nomination. Much of the shame belongs to Trump, who nominated the Mercers’ pet judge. But most of the shame is on McConnell, who is the thief who stole the seat. In a just world he would die a pauper under a bridge. But somehow, I don’t think he feels his shame.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

  7. Paul L. says:

    I have to wonder how much this will blowback on the GOP. They did everything they could to make sure that the most extreme and ludicrous pseudo-reasoning was kept alive.

    I remember the same people claiming the GOP would lose Congress in 2016 for not having hearings on Merrick Garland.

    Good luck chasing down that cookie recipe Justice Gorsuch.

    It is on every bag of Nestle Chocolate Semi-Sweet Morsels. But I am Middle America Trump voting trash.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

  8. CB says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Even with all of the Smoke and heat the Democrats are putting up over this Justice, the fact of the matter is that they universally supported his nomination every time his name came up until such time as Republican nominated him. Now obviously that shows the partisanship that the Democrats feed on.

    Stop it, you’re killing me.

    No shit it’s all politics, and has very little to do with his credentials. I wonder why that might be. Hmmm. Think on it and get back to us, chucklehead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  9. SenyorDave says:

    @Paul L.: It is on every bag of Nestle Chocolate Semi-Sweet Morsels. But I am Middle America Trump voting trash.

    this is what I don’t get – people who think this is a big effin joke.

    We have a Senate Majority leader who apparently has made it his life mission to make sure that government doesn’t work, and people like you think its pretty funny. There really are people in this country who don’t deserve it who suffer due to Mitch McConnell. Hopefully one day you will need government to work, and it won’t, and you will suffer because of it. And you’ll deserve it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @Paul L.:

    It is on every bag of Nestle Chocolate Semi-Sweet Morsels. But I am Middle America Trump voting trash.

    God, what a victim/drama queen.
    Conservative snowflakes are so precious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  11. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:
    No, it is not sour grapes, it is a refusal to accept cheating as a new normal.

    I realize that as a Republican your notions of right and wrong are entirely predicated on whether you win, but mine are not. I still believe in fairness and honesty and the spirit as well as the letter of law. I still believe we have an obligation to behave decently, and receiving stolen goods is not decent behavior.

    Gorsuch is profiting from the lowest type of partisanship. His presence on the court undermines the independence and integrity of the court. So Gorsuch is an active part in the partisan destruction of the Supreme Court’s reputation and standing. He is without integrity.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 7

  12. grumpy realist says:

    @gVOR08: Remember that quite a few justices who were put on the Supreme Court because they were expected to “be conservative” or “liberal” ended up kiting off in completely new directions.

    I’m not going to predict how Justice Gorsuch will decide until I see him write a few opinions. Being on the Supreme Court causes surprising effects on people. Even Scalia, until he drifted off the edge into crankdom, ended up coming down on unexpected sides sometimes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  13. HelloWorld! says:

    I don’t think mainstream America cares how he got on the supreme court, nor does Gorsuch. All that matters to anyone now is that he is on the court. I’m not thrilled with the idea, nor with the behavior of Republicans, but some party -somewhere, any party – needs to stand up and grow up.

    The time for the democrats to really make a stand was when Garland was up. Unfortunately, they all thought “we will let the Republicans look like fools after president Clinton confirms him”. It didn’t work out like that so I hope their lesson is to fight for something at the time that you need to be fighting it. They should have stopped all business in the senate until they held a vote. If he couldn’t get 60 votes then on to the next, but I think he would have.

    The dems also played their latest hand like fools. No need to filibuster. Vote. If Gorsuch couldn’t get 60 votes then on to the next ( and I don’t think he would have gotten the 60 votes).

    Now, anyone Trump puts up will get confirmed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Gorsuch is a man without honor – no man of honor would have collaborated in this theft of a seat. The Supreme Court is now as corrupt as Congress.

    Honor is not a word liberals or democrats use or practice much. A liberal/democrat version of honor is Sgt Bergdahl.

    Did you have to look up the word honor in the dictionary or did you just count on autocorrect to fix it for you?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 18

  15. OldSouth says:

    For those of us old enough to remember the shameful treatment of Robert Bork, this is a particularly sweet moment. For those who remember the disgraceful treatment of Clarence Thomas, whose misfortune it was to be black and conservative and Catholic-the second two items completely heretical when paired with the first, it has been informative. The true heresies for The Left are those second two items, regardless of any additional factor.

    I do think that had Hilary won, and the Senate been in control of The Left, albeit by 52-48, she could have nominated Bill, or Michelle, or even Al Sharpton, and the Hon. Senator Majority Leader would have changed the Senate rules in a New York Minute–pun intended.

    They care not a fig for ‘the traditions of the Senate, blah-blah, blah-blah. Only power matters.

    Trump understands them–remember, he spent a career building his businesses while dealing with them.

    Cannot wait for the next vacancy, and the next.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 23

  16. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    He is without integrity.

    There is another word you should not be using.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 18

  17. teve tory says:

    @OldSouth: That dumb nonsense reminds me why I left the Deep South.

    Being on the West Coast now, halfway between Portland and Seattle, is much nicer. The people here are intelligent, and have good values. Big change from the South.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  18. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @OldSouth:

    You mean the Robert Bork who was allowed not only a hearing and a vote by the Judiciary committee, but also a vote in the full senate? All courtesies which your pal McConnell denied to Garland …

    You have to love nimrods who selectively remember history – but then again, you’re from the South. Selective history is sort of your stock in trade down there, eh? :roll:

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  19. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @teve tory:

    Like I’ve said before – we should have let them leave when we had the chance. Think how much further the rest of the country would have progressed without the millstone of the retrograde South holding us back.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  20. george says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You’re a lawyer, maybe you can explain something that I haven’t been able to figure out – what is the difference between giving a hearing and voting no, and not giving a hearing if you know you’re going to vote no?

    I’m coming at this from the viewpoint of a non-lawyer, who’s hired quite a few engineers over the years. The normal procedure in engineering is to look at the resumes, and not bother giving interviews to someone you know you’re not going to hire, as its a waste of both your time and theirs.

    Clearly the process for hiring judges (SCOTUS and otherwise) is considered to be different (by both conservatives and progressives), as both put heavy weight on the hearing. The GOP for instance were adamant in their refusal to give a hearing when it probably would have been simpler to just give a hearing and then vote no (this happens when say the CEO of a company asks you to interview some obviously unqualified nephew, you give the interview knowing you’re going to say no – typically the CEO knows that too, he or she just wants to be able to say they tried to help family). Similarly, the Dems are outraged that Garland wasn’t given a hearing, though giving him a hearing would have ended up with a no vote.

    But why is giving an interview to someone you know you’re not going to hire so important in the case of judges (as opposed to just about any other kind of profession)? Even for the GOP, it seems to clearly-not-a-lawyer me that the GOP would have been smarter to simply vote no on Garland rather than refuse to give him a hearing … what am I missing here?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Paul L.:

    But I am Middle America Trump voting trash.

    Realizing and admitting that you have a problem is the first step in rectifying it. I commend your efforts.

    Maybe we can start up MATVTA – Middle America Trump voting trash anonymous.

    “Hi, I’m Paul, and I’m a moron”

    “Hello Paul”

    The beauty of all this is that – in the end – it will help people like Reynolds and myself while doing exactly nothing to stop the slide towards bottom that Middle America is on. It may even make that slide worse / happen faster.

    The difference? You used to have folks like us – the guys voluntarily paying a fortune in taxes in order to keep your net federal dollar recipient hellholes alive – as allies. Speaking frankly, I will be paying exactly zero in federal taxes going forward (one of the benefits of doing what I do for a living is knowing the federal tax code backward & forward). You guys are losing the best – perhaps the only – friends you had and you’ve thrown your lot in with people whose mission in life is to starve you to death while blowing sunshine up your asses.

    The difference is that we’ll now be cheering as you starve.

    But hey, thanks for the tax cut. Somebody pass the popcorn. :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  22. wr says:

    @HelloWorld!: “No need to filibuster. Vote. If Gorsuch couldn’t get 60 votes then on to the next ( and I don’t think he would have gotten the 60 votes).”

    Huh? The only time you need 60 votes in the Senate is to break a filibuster. That’s why he got the seat with votes in the low 50s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @george:

    Holding hearings and voting nominees is the Senate’s job. Their constitutional responsibility.

    They’d have had a difficult time defending a no vote on someone as overqualified and moderate as Merrick undeniably is – which is why they decided not to hold a vote at all.

    The biggest problem is that their revanchist base prioritizes “beating liberals” over “prudent choices”.

    And so do they.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  24. teve tory says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “Like I’ve said before – we should have let them leave when we had the chance. Think how much further the rest of the country would have progressed without the millstone of the retrograde South holding us back.”

    Yeah, except I would have been born in that Third-World South, and I probly wouldn’t now have a physics degree, or a nice new apartment in Washington state.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @teve tory:

    And that would have been unfortunate, agreed, although maybe you could have immigrated? Needs of the many, I guess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. teve tory says:

    Courts have come out multiple times against republican election cheating so far this year. Here’s the latest one:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/texas-voter-id-intent-discriminatory

    A federal court in Texas Monday found that the state’s voter ID law was passed in 2011 with the intent to discriminate against minority voters. The ruling comes after the law was repeatedly found to have the effect of discriminating against minority voters, but it has been sent back to the district court by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to assess the intent claims with a higher legal standard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  27. Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork were nominees to the highest court in the United States. They were not selling cookies in the Senate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  28. george says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Thanks. Though that raises the next question – why would it have been harder to deny a very well qualified judge than to not give a hearing in the first place? Their followers would have backed them in voting no (in fact they’d have lost their followers if they’d voted yes), but they would have been following the normal procedures, and there are precedents for voting against a nominee, whereas from what I’ve read there are none for refusing to give a hearing.

    Things are so partisan (especially on the conservative side) that voting no to a qualified person from the “opposition” wouldn’t seem to be hard for them to do; whatever bad press they’d get for that still would be less than what they got for an unprecedented refusal to give a hearing.

    It just seems like it should be easier to go through the motions and then rationalize your decision to your base – arguably that’s the one skill every successful politician has.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @george:

    That having been said, they may have shot themselves in the feet (shocker) by leaving Merrick where he is (chief of the D.C. circuit). He’s essentially the high priest of court regulatory review – has been for decades – and that circuit ends up hearing the vast majority of cases involving regulatory changes. He’s in a position now to torpedo most of the regulatory changes Mango Mussolini wants to make, and his past jurisprudence makes it clear that he’ll likely do so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  30. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @george:

    Because the stink is worse, IMO, although I agree that Senate Republicans have long ago shed any pretense that they care about governance. They don’t want to govern – they think they’re entitled to rule.

    Imagine it this way – what stinks worse: rejecting an enormously qualified black engineering applicant because he’s black, or just canceling the recruitment altogether without supplying a reason in order to avoid having to hire the black guy? That’s essentially what they did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  31. grumpy realist says:
  32. george says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Okay, thanks, that explains it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Eric Florack: But there was no partisanship at all a year ago in the case of Garland. Got it! IOKIYAR.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  34. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Eric Florack:

    but we also have a rule changes it’s going to come back and bite conservatives in the ass eventually.

    That’s the only good part about this whole clown show. Karma’s gonna be a beeyotch.

    As you might say if the circumstances were different, get over it. (And keep lookin’ for that True Scotsman; statistically, the wish hand has to fill up first sometime.)

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  35. An Interested Party says:

    sour grapes indeed.

    Oh please, that’s tame compared to the sour grapes you had when John McCain won the GOP nomination in 2008 or when Mitt Romney won the GOP nomination in 2012 or when Obama was elected and then reelected…

    Now obviously that shows the partisanship that the Democrats feed on. This is who they are.

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! As opposed to not even giving a Supreme Court nominee a hearing and a vote? Talk about partisanship…

    The dems also played their latest hand like fools. No need to filibuster. Vote. If Gorsuch couldn’t get 60 votes then on to the next ( and I don’t think he would have gotten the 60 votes).
    Now, anyone Trump puts up will get confirmed.

    This is such a tired, flawed argument…Republicans, as long as they control the majority, will ram through any right-wing Trump nominee no matter what the Democrats did this time around…

    Honor is not a word liberals or democrats use or practice much. A liberal/democrat version of honor is Sgt Bergdahl.
    Did you have to look up the word honor in the dictionary or did you just count on autocorrect to fix it for you?

    Oh my, you’re just so precious when you’re high and mighty…did you puff out your chest as you typed that?

    For those who remember the disgraceful treatment of Clarence Thomas, whose misfortune it was to be black and conservative and Catholic-the second two items completely heretical when paired with the first, it has been informative.

    Actually, what is disgraceful about Clarence Thomas is that he is a raging hypocrite when it comes to affirmative action–something that has benefitted him but which he wants to deny to others and, of course, his sexual harassment of Anita Hill, among who knows how many other women…

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  36. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @HelloWorld!:

    They should have stopped all business in the senate until they held a vote. If he couldn’t get 60 votes then on to the next, but I think he would have.

    I’m not seeing why the GOP would have found this a problem.

    Also, IIRC (and I may not) the 60 votes is only for the end of the filibuster; the nominee can be approved by 51. The fact that most votes are not close may be creating the confusion.

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  37. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @teve tory: What do you do for a living in Centralia? I’m just curious.

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  38. Slugger says:

    In today’s world where party is all perhaps we could save some money and trouble by not having Justices. We could use bots that were dependably liberal or conservative and would vote their ideology without human intervention. The idea of an independent third branch of the government appears dead.
    Also, you must admit that Trump claiming that ” I got it done in my first 100 days” is a nice touch.
    The first Seder starts in a few minutes in my time zone. Wish you all a Good Pesach. Tonight we celebrate liberation from slavery. Of course, true liberation requires the acceptance of Law.

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  39. teve tory says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: I was approximating 😀 , I actually live in Shelton and work in Olympia, at a hardware store.

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  40. teve tory says:

    Technically i’m closer to Seattle than Portland, but i wind up going to Portland instead, because traffic is less of a hassle.

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  41. HelloWorld! says:

    @wr: You are correct, I’ve been listening to incorrect messaging that gives the impression that 60 votes are required. However, if the rules of the senate can be changed on the fly then what good are they anyway? I always thought the idea of a republic was to prevent a majority from imposing its will on a minority. Especially in the senate, where you get 2 votes per state regardless of the population.

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  42. Pch101 says:

    @HelloWorld!:

    A republic is a system of government that includes an elected or appointed executive. It has nothing to do with supermajorities, bills of rights or whatever.

    In practical terms, republics are usually nations that don’t have monarchs. The US essentially copied the Westminster system except it replaced the monarch with a president, its House of Lords represents the states instead of the landed gentry (the Senate), and its prime minister (the House speaker) has no power.

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  43. Eric Florack says:

    @CB: the reason is because the Democrats don’t stand for anything but Power. Their own power.

    Did I really have to explain that one to you?

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  44. Eric Florack says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: the differences the election was certainly not going to go to the Democrats way. They knew it. The only way that they were going to get any power in the government at all for the next several years was through the courts.

    I would suggest to you that the political gamesmanship that the Democrats tried with regards to Garland or a major reason they lost the election so badly the White House, but Congress.

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  45. Eric Florack says:

    And by the way I think garland would be a disaster as a Justice. But still I’d be interested in seeing what would happen if he got himself nominated in the next couple of years. Watching the response of the Democrats would be at least amusing

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  46. teve tory says:

    “the reason is because the Democrats don’t stand for anything but Power. Their own power.”

    Pfft. I’m pretty sure we stand for Islamocommunism and Liberal Fascism too. And Gay Sharia. And destroying traditional marriages.

    Seriously, Soros made it pretty clear at our last meeting. 😛

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  47. teve tory says:

    And by the way I think garland would be a disaster as a Justice.

    I’d heard poor rural whites were having substance abuse issues, but this is off the chain!

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  48. Justice Ted Cruz and Justice William Pryor says:

    @michael reynolds:
    You lost! You lost! You lost!

    Roe v Wade is going to be overturned and the queers are going back in the closet!!

    You lost! You lost!

    Ginsburg is 84 – Kennedy is 82 -and Breyer is 78. President Trump is going to get 3 more appointments and since you don’t have the filibuster anymore there is not a damn thing you can do about it.

    Justice Ted Cruz and Justice William Pryor both have very nice rings.

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  49. Pch101 says:

    @Eric Florack:

    It’s kinda cute that you think that your opinion matters.

    But it’s even more pathetic.

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  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Justice Ted Cruz and Justice William Pryor:

    LOL, ladies & gentlemen, I give you – Middle America.

    Remind me why I’m supposed to care about these people?

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  51. teve tory says:

    it’s impossible to tell if you’re talking to an actual Trumper, or a Poe.

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  52. al-Alameda says:

    @Justice Ted Cruz and Justice William Pryor:

    Justice Ted Cruz and Justice William Pryor both have very nice rings.

    Do those rings have Trump lettering in the set, just below the zircon ‘gemstone’?

    Would you like me to call 9-1-1 after you’ve finished your Kool Aid, or while you’re enjoying your cold beverage?

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  53. HelloWorld! says:

    @Pch101: The Constitution guarantees to every state a Republican form of government (Art. 4, Sec. 4). No state may join the United States unless it is a Republic. Our Republic is one dedicated to “liberty and justice for all.” Minority individual rights are the priority. The people have natural rights instead of civil rights. The people are protected by the Bill of Rights from the majority. One vote on a jury can stop the majority, and until Harry Reed and Mitch McConnell screwed up our system there was something in place preventing a simple majority from imposing its will.

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  54. Pch101 says:

    @HelloWorld!:

    The feature that makes the United States a republic is that it has a president. That’s all it is.

    If the US got rid of the Senate and the Bill of Rights today, it would still be a republic because it has an executive who is elected or appointed (in the case of the US, a hybrid of the two.)

    You are confusing other features of the US system such as federalism, its reliance upon checks-and-balances and supermajorities, its bicameral legislature and its Bill of Rights with a republic.

    For example, Canada has federalism and a bill of rights, but it is not a republic. It has a prime minister as its head of government, and has no president or other kind of executive.

    Germany, France and Switzerland are examples of republics. Canada, the UK and Australia are among the many nations that are not.

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  55. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pch101:

    Very true. People tend to forget that Canada and Australia are constitutional monarchies. In practice they operate under federalism, but their head of state is Queen Elizabeth II

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