Trump Names Judge Neil Gorsuch To Supreme Court

With a relatively smooth announcement, Donald Trump has named a solid and qualified conservative who will likely be confirmed to the nation's highest court.

Trump Neil Gorsuch

Just eleven days into his term, President Trump made the first of one of the most important appointments a President can make, selecting Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit as his choice to succeed the late Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court:

President Trump on Tuesday nominated Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, elevating a conservative in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia to succeed the late jurist and touching off a brutal, partisan showdown at the start of his presidency over the ideological bent of the nation’s highest court.

Mr. Trump announced his selection during a much-anticipated evening ceremony that unfolded in prime time at the White House. He described Judge Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge based in Denver, as “a man who our country really needs, and needs badly, to ensure the rule of law and the rule of justice.”

“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support,” Mr. Trump said, standing beside the judge and his wife, Louise, as White House officials and Republican lawmakers looked on. “It is an extraordinary résumé — as good as it gets.”

But Democrats — embittered by Republican refusals for nearly a year to consider President Barack Obama’s choice to succeed Justice Scalia, and inflamed by Mr. Trump’s aggressive moves at the start of his tenure — promised a showdown over Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation.

Joined by liberal groups that plotted for weeks to fight Mr. Trump’s eventual nominee, leading Democrats signaled they would work to turn the Supreme Court dispute into a referendum on the president, and what they contend is his disregard for legal norms and the Constitution. Conservatives and business groups cheered Judge Gorsuch, calling his record distinguished and his qualifications unparalleled.

The announcement came at a particularly tumultuous moment in an extraordinarily chaotic beginning to Mr. Trump’s presidency. Just a day earlier, he dismissed the acting attorney general for refusing to defend his hard-line immigration order that started a furor across the United States over what critics condemned as a visa ban against Muslims.

“Now, more than ever, we need a Supreme Court justice who is independent, eschews ideology, who will preserve our democracy, protect fundamental rights and will stand up to a president who has already shown a willingness to bend the Constitution,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said in a statement.

“The burden is on Judge Neil Gorsuch to prove himself to be within the legal mainstream and, in this new era, willing to vigorously defend the Constitution from abuses of the executive branch and protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of all Americans,” Mr. Schumer said.

He said he would insist that Judge Gorsuch meet the 60-vote threshold needed in the Senate to overcome a filibuster for his confirmation to move forward. That would either require eight Democrats to join the Senate’s 52 Republicans to advance the nomination, or force Republicans to escalate a parliamentary showdown — as Mr. Trump has already urged them to do — to change longstanding rules and push through his nominee on a simple majority vote.

Republicans and conservative groups signaled they relished a war over Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation.

“I hope members of the Senate will again show him fair consideration and respect the result of the recent election with an up-or-down vote on his nomination, just like the Senate treated the four first-term nominees of Presidents Clinton and Obama,” said Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader. He noted that the Senate confirmed Judge Gorsuch without opposition in 2006 to his current seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

Carrie Severino, the chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative group that immediately started a $10 million campaign to defend Mr. Trump’s nominee, said the coalition would mount intensive campaigns in crucial states to “force vulnerable senators to choose between obstructing and keeping their Senate seats.”

If confirmed, Judge Gorsuch would become the 113th justice and take a seat held not only by Justice Scalia, but also by Justice Robert H. Jackson, perhaps the finest writer to have served on the court. As an Episcopalian, Judge Gorsuch would be the only Protestant seated among five Catholics and three Jewish jurists.

He would restore the 5-to-4 split between conservatives and liberals on the court, returning the swing vote to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, whose rulings have fallen on both sides of the political spectrum.

At 49, Judge Gorsuch (pronounced GORE-sutch) is the youngest nominee to the Supreme Court in 25 years, underscoring his potential to shape major decisions for decades to come. In choosing him, Mr. Trump reached for a reliably conservative figure in Justice Scalia’s mold, but not someone known to be divisive.

From The Washington Post

Gorsuch is seen as a less bombastic version of Scalia and would seem destined to be a solidly conservative vote on the ideologically split court. But friends and supporters describe Gorsuch as being more interested in persuasion than Scalia, who was just as likely to go it alone as to compromise.

Gorsuch would be the youngest Supreme Court justice since Clarence Thomas was confirmed in 1991. But Gorsuch has been on the bench for a decade, and at his 2006 investiture ceremony, friends joked that his prematurely gray hair was fitting.

“When Neil came to our firm in 1995 he had gray hair,” said one of his law partners, Mark C. Hansen. “In fact, he was born with silver hair, as well as an inexhaustible store of Winston Churchill quotes.”

Indeed, Gorsuch came equipped for the ultimate judicial elevation.

There is a family connection to Republican establishment politics, and service in the administration of George W. Bush. There is a glittery Ivy League résumé — Columbia undergrad, Harvard Law — along with a Marshall scholarship to Oxford. There is a partnership at one of Washington’s top litigation law firms and a string of successful cases.

There is a Supreme Court clerkship; Gorsuch was hired by Justice Byron White, a fellow Colorado native, who shared him with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

Kennedy stood by that day in Denver to administer the judicial oath, and if Gorsuch is confirmed, Kennedy would become the first justice to sit with a former clerk on the Supreme Court’s mahogany bench.

But those who know Gorsuch and have studied his decade of solidly conservative opinions on the Court of Appeals say he more resembles the man he would replace — the late Justice Scalia — than the more moderate Kennedy.

Like Scalia, Gorsuch is a proponent of originalism — meaning that judges should attempt to interpret the words of the Constitution as they were understood at the time they were written — and a textualist who considers only the words of the law being reviewed, not legislators’ intent or the consequences of the decision.

Critics say that those neutral considerations inevitably lead Gorsuch to conservative outcomes, a criticism that was also leveled at Scalia.

Gorsuch would like to curb the deference that courts give to federal agencies and is most noted for a strong defense of religious liberty in cases brought by private companies and religious nonprofit groups objecting to the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

Gorsuch said in a speech last spring that as a judge he had tried to follow Scalia’s path.

“The great project of Justice Scalia’s career was to remind us of the differences between judges and legislators,” Gorsuch told an audience at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland.

Legislators “may appeal to their own moral convictions and to claims about social utility to reshape the law as they think it should be in the future,” Gorsuch said. But “judges should do none of these things in a democratic society.” Instead, they should use “text, structure and history” to understand what the law is, “not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best.”

But those who know him say he lacks Scalia’s combustible, combative style.

“He has very strong opinions, but he just treats people well in every context,” said Melissa Hart, a University of Colorado law professor. She is a Democrat who clerked for former Justice John Paul Stevens and knows Gorsuch because he has taught judicial ethics, legal writing and antitrust law at the school.

Gorsuch was born in Colorado and lives outside of Boulder with his wife, Louise, whom he met while at Oxford, and two daughters. The nominee is an Episcopalian, and would be the court’s only Protestant. There are five Catholic and three Jewish members.

But he spent formative years in Washington and graduated from Georgetown Prep. He witnessed firsthand how difficult Washington politics can be. His mother was Anne Gorsuch Burford, a lawyer and conservative Colorado legislator who was picked by President Ronald Reagan as the first woman to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Her tenure was short and rocky: She clashed with environmentalists and was cited for contempt of Congress in 1982 for refusing to turn over subpoenaed agency documents relating to hazardous waste sites. Although she was following the legal advice of the Justice Department, Burford was forced to resign when the administration gave up the fight. She died in 2004.

After his Supreme Court clerkship, Gorsuch joined the D.C. law firm of Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel, where he developed a taste for litigation and eventually became a partner. He helped secure what his former partner Hansen said was the largest antitrust award in history and won praise for his courtroom style.

Gorsuch did a short stint as a high-ranking official in the Justice Department and then was nominated to the appeals court by Bush. He sailed through on a voice vote in the full Senate and took his seat on the Denver-based court in August 2006.

Gorsuch is popular with current Supreme Court justices, and his clerks regularly are hired for a term on the high court, not just by conservatives but also by liberals such as Kagan and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

On the appeals court, Gorsuch has not been called upon to consider two hot-button social issues that may come before the Supreme Court: same-sex marriage and abortion.

After a federal judge in Utah struck down that state’s prohibition on same-sex marriage, Gorsuch was not a member of the 10th Circuit that upheld the decision. It was one of the cases that eventually led to the Supreme Court deciding marriage was a fundamental right that could not be denied gay couples.

Likewise, Gorsuch has not ruled on abortion. But activists on both sides of the issue believe they know where he stands. They point to language in his book “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” in which he opines that “all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

Additionally, his rulings on behalf of those who challenged the Obamacare mandate that employee insurance coverage provide all approved contraceptives seemed instructive. He noted the provision would require the objecting businesses to “underwrite payments for drugs or devices that can have the effect of destroying a fertilized human egg.”

As the hours ticked down yesterday to the unusual prime-time announcement of Trump’s first Judiciary pick, speculation grew as to who the President had selected for a seat in the highest court in the land. Unlike previous announcements, there were few leaks out of the White House leading up to the time when the announcement was to be made. As the day went by, it became clear that the list had narrowed down to two men, Gorsuch and 3rd Circuit Court Appellate Judge Thomas Hardiman, as well as one late-day announcement by a conservative news site that their sources told them that Gorsuch would be the choice. For the most part, though, the Administration managed to keep Trump’s choice secret notwithstanding the fact that the media were making efforts to determine if either Gorsuch or Hardiman had left home or their offices to head to Washington for the evening announcement. Additionally, after ten days in which the Administration stumbled over itself repeatedly in a number of areas, last night’s roll-out went off smoothly appears to be on track for approval notwithstanding what seems like inevitable Democratic opposition.

As I noted on Monday, Gorsuch is most assuredly a conservative and, as President Trump said in his introductory remarks last night, appears as though he would be a Justice very much in the mold of the man he would be replacing. Given the outcome of the election, this is hardly surprising, of course, and Gorsuch’s nomination doesn’t come as much of a surprise given the fact that he was named as one of the potential, nominees that Trump named in the list that he put out during the primary campaign last year. Additionally, there seems to be little doubt that Gorsuch is qualified for the position he has been nominated for. His education includes an undergraduate degree from Columbia University, a law degree from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Jurisprudence from Oxford University. As noted above, he clerked for a Judge on the D.C. Circuit of Appeals and two Supreme Court Justices before beginning the early part of his career before being appointed and confirmed for a seat on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006. In his time on that Court, Gorsuch has held to a generally conservative viewpoint on the issues that have come before him, but it doesn’t appear from that record that he is radically far to the right or in fact much different from the current conservative wing of the Court or from the Justice he would be replacing. In other words, he is the type of nominee we’d expect from any Republican President and seemingly a very good candidate for the highest Court in the land all other factors considered.

Given the partisan world we live in, and the bitter taste that the Senate GOP’s treatment of the Merrick Garand nomination last year, the reaction to Trump’s nomination has been about what you’d expect but even with the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees still in place, it seems unlikely that Senate Democrats would be successful if they did try to block Gorsuch’s elevation to the high court. Almost as soon as Gorsuch was named and seemingly before Trump and his nominee were even done speaking last night, the reactions from both sides of the political aisle began pouring in. liberal groups were already sending out press releases listing reasons why Gorsuch must be blocked while conservative groups were praising the nomination and pushing for a quick vote so that Gorsuch would be able to join the Court in time to at least to be able to vote in the handful of cases that will be argued during the final weeks of oral argument in April.

The answer to this question, of course, depends on how Senate Democrats ultimately react to the nomination and what course they choose to take on the floor of the Senate. Already, there are some liberal legal commentators, such as Lawyers, Guns, and Money’s Scott Lemuix who argue that Democrats should filibuster the nomination both because of Gorsuch’s philosophy and essentially as revenge for what happened to former President Obama’s selection of Merrick Garand, who was not given either a hearing or a vote by the Senate after he was selected to replace Scalia. Others on the left, on the other hand, argue that it would be mistaken for Democrats to oppose Gorsuch out of hand or to expend political capital in what is likely to be a failed effort to block his ascension to the Supreme Court. Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, for example, argues that while Gorsuch is a conservative he is not radically so and that there are signs in his record that he may actually be ‘better’ from a liberal point of view than Scalia was, or to put it more precisely, how Scalia was perceived by people on the left. Neal Kaytal, who served in the Obama Justice Department as one of the top attorneys in the office of Solicitor General and, for roughly a year, as Acting Solicitor General, argues that Gorsuch is both highly qualified for the position of Supreme Court Justice and is a Justice that liberals should back rather than opposing reflexively.  George Washington Univerity Law Professor Jonathan Turley, meanwhile, argues that Gorsuch there are several areas where Gorsuch’s record indicates that he will be ‘perfect’ for the position to which he is appointed.

No doubt Senate Democrats will feel pressure from their base to make every effort to block Gorsuch’s nomination in the same manner that Republicans blocked Garland, but it’s not at all clear that they’ll be able to do so. Within hours after the nomination was announced, protesters were already outside the New York home of Senate Minority Leader Chuch Schumer calling on Democrats to block the nomination, and we’re likely to see similar protests in the future. In addition to the pressure from the base, though, Democrats also face political reality and the prospect that they could fall further behind in the Senate in the midterms in 2018. As things stand right now, 23 of the 33 Senate seats that will be at risk in that election are held by Democrats. Of those, ten are in states that Donald Trump won in the 2016 election and eight are in states that have voted Republican in Presidential elections for many election cycles, in some cases dating all the way back to the 1968 Presidential election at least. Given that, it’s not at all clear that Schumer would be able to keep his caucus united enough for Republicans to get the  60 votes they would need to invoke cloture on the nomination. Additionally, Republicans are leaving open the possibility that they could choose to follow the precedent set by former Senator Harry Reid in November 2013 and eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court, although it’s worth noting that several Republicans have previously expressed doubts about taking that step and McConnell is working with a thin majority that could not withstand more than two defections from the GOP caucus. Personally, I suspect that Democrats will put up a fight but that Gorusch will be ultimately confirmed. The real fight will come if and when President Trump get a chance to replace another Justice, particularly if that Justice is Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or Stephen Breyer. Unlike replacing Scalia, that would be a pick that would drastically alter the direction of the Court for a generation or longer.

UpdatePost updated to include a link from Independent Journal Review‘s Benny Johnson, who by all accounts was the first journalst to break the news that Gorsuch was the pick.

FILED UNDER: Democracy, Law and the Courts, Supreme Court, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Another anti-choice Republican intent on controlling the reproductive rights of women…ho-hum. It’s unfortunate that, in this day and age, the country has to take a step backwards in freedom…but some day we will look back on this as quizzically as we see not allowing women to vote. (something most Republicans would still like to eliminate, I’m sure)
    Eliminate the fillibuster for SCOTUS nominees????
    I see that the Senate changed the rules this morning so that Republicans could ignore the laws broken, the un-ethical behavior, and the outright lies of Trump’s Cabinet Nominees. (amazing to me…although it shouldn’t be)
    That tells me that it won’t be very long at all before McConnell uses the nuclear option to eliminate the fillibuster all together in order to advance the Trump agenda.

  2. al-Alameda says:

    Personally, I suspect that Democrats will put up a fight but that Gorusch will be ultimately confirmed.

    I believe Democrats will put up a fight that will be the equivalent of a
    minor speed bump in a 20 mph School Zone.

    They have no cards to play here, no leverage whatsoever.
    This will be a minor Kabuki for the base.
    Democratic senators will say what they need to say, the final vote will be party line.

  3. SenyorDave says:

    @al-Alameda: They have no cards to play here, no leverage whatsoever.

    having no cards, they might as well play the only thing close to a card and filibuster him. McConnell will eliminate it, but it was going to happen eventually. Maybe one journalist will have the audacity too ask Yertle his justification for the treatment of Garland.

  4. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:


    I believe Democrats will put up a fight that will be the equivalent of a
    minor speed bump in a 20 mph School Zone.

    I hate to defend Schumer…I really, really hate it…but there isn’t much he can do.
    And Ryan and Turtle-Face are too busy giving out tax cuts and polluting our air and streams to care about anything Trump is doing. Need us to change the rules for you? Sure…whatever you want Dear Leader.
    The Republic is fwcked and there is nothing to be done about it.

  5. Moosebreath says:


    “Maybe one journalist will have the audacity too ask Yertle his justification for the treatment of Garland.”

    And maybe also ask if the precedent that Presidents don’t get to have hearings on Supreme Court nominees during the campaign season, plus Trump having filed for re-election on Inauguration Day, means that the people should decide in 2020 who fills this vacancy.

  6. JKB says:

    It is interesting that in no time at all they protestors showed up with pre-printed anti-Gorsuch signs.

    But more revealing is this photo. Nothing says unreasonable like a fill-in-the-blank #Stop sign.

    An additional troublesome point is so many current Democratic Senators voted to unanimously confirm Judge Gorsuch back in 2006. They were for Gorsuch, before they were against him.

  7. JKB says:


    Then you’ll like this:

    “Why are we letting Trump pick a Justice in the last year of his presidency?”

    Joke seen on Facebook.

  8. David M says:

    Filibuster. No other option should even be discussed.

  9. Gustopher says:

    The Democrats need to fight to win, even if they know they will lose. In normal times, this would be a normal Republican pick who probably would be confirmed. These are not normal times.

    The filibuster is worth nothing if it cannot be used. It’s worth less than nothing if it can only be used by Republicans.

    Delay and grill and try to find something that causes the nomination to be withdrawn. Did he pay taxes for his nanny? Does he eat the brains of children?

    Filibuster. Or not. If there are the votes to maintain the filibuster, go for it. There are several Republicans who are unwilling at present to kill the filibuster — if we can strike a decent deal, take it. Not sure what that deal could be, but we have some leverage. I would take a tiny, unrelated victory if we could get one.

    Refuse to vote once the filibuster is over/broken/nuked. Another tiny delay. This is just showmanship for the base.

    Keep the pressure on Trump, expose his corruption and entanglements, and get him so mired that if another vacancy appears, there is an honest question that we cannot have the corrupt, unpopular embattled president nominating anyone while there are credible calls for his impeachment.

  10. CSK says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Well, not all the Trumpkins are thrilled with Gorsuch. As Phyllis Schlafly’s son Andy pointed out, Gorsuch can’t possibly be pro-life because he’s an…Episcopalian.

    No, I didn’t make that up.

  11. Jack says:


    having no cards, they might as well play the only thing close to a card and filibuster him. McConnell will eliminate it, but it was going to happen eventually.

    Watch what you wish for. If the Democrats filibuster this nomination and the Republicans eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, there will be nothing to stop the nominations to replace possible vacancies by Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or Stephen Breyer. Trump could go even more Conservative and the Dems will have already lost before the game had begun. If you want a judge in the mold of Judge Roy Moore on the Supreme court, do this.

    If however, the Dems do not filibuster then it would be difficult for the Republicans to threaten the nuclear option for a later nominee and Trump will have to moderate his selection(s).

    Just my opinion though.

  12. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:


    Just my opinion though.

    Which is, like everything else you type, stupid.

  13. Moosebreath says:


    “Just my opinion though.”

    And a remarkably silly one at that.

    If the Republicans are prepared to eliminate the filibuster if the Democrats use it in 2017, why would they not if the Democrats don’t use it this year, and instead use it next time a Supreme Court vacancy occurred?

  14. An Interested Party says:

    It is interesting that in no time at all they protestors showed up with pre-printed anti-Gorsuch signs.

    But more revealing is this photo. Nothing says unreasonable like a fill-in-the-blank #Stop sign.

    Oh please, spare us the outrage…nothing is unreasonable compared to what the GOP did with the Garland nomination…this nomination is tainted, stolen…anything goes from this point forward…

  15. Jack says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Glad to see you have the ability to actually refute my comment intelligently. Keep up the good work.

  16. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:


    actually refute my comment intelligently.

    Make an intelligent comment…then I will consider spending my time.
    You’re an idiot.

  17. Kylopod says:


    As Phyllis Schlafly’s son Andy pointed out, Gorsuch can’t possibly be pro-life because he’s an…Episcopalian.

    You mean the creator of Conservapedia, the site that says dinosaurs coexisted with humans and that Obama was “reportedly” born in Hawaii? Color me unsurprised.

  18. An Interested Party says:

    Watch what you wish for. If the Democrats filibuster this nomination and the Republicans eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, there will be nothing to stop the nominations to replace possible vacancies by Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or Stephen Breyer. Trump could go even more Conservative and the Dems will have already lost before the game had begun. If you want a judge in the mold of Judge Roy Moore on the Supreme court, do this.

    If however, the Dems do not filibuster then it would be difficult for the Republicans to threaten the nuclear option for a later nominee and Trump will have to moderate his selection(s).

    Umm, yeah…

  19. reid says:

    The Democrats, sadly, have no power anymore. Their options are limited. Elections have consequences. There’s not a lot they can do to stop the descent into a right-wing 1950s fantasy, and we’ll all suffer for it. This is why I was so morose on election night. It’s truly sad that so many support this nonsense, and that not enough of the majority that don’t bothered to show up to vote.

  20. CSK says:


    Oh, dear Lawd, I just checked out Conservapedia. The article on Trump is a real thigh-slapper.

    Some quotes:

    “He is the legitimately elected and fully-qualified president of the United States.” (Just in case you had any doubts on the issue.)

    “Trump is not known to be beholden to any big money donors.” (Just Vladimir Putin.)

    But it’s not by any means a love-fest. I give you:

    “For all practical purposes, Trump seems to be on the side of the homosexual agenda.”

    And my fave:

    “Trump used to own the un-Christian Miss Universe Pageant, which objectified the female body and promoted lust and infidelity.”

  21. wr says:

    @JKB: “An additional troublesome point is so many current Democratic Senators voted to unanimously confirm Judge Gorsuch back in 2006. They were for Gorsuch, before they were against him.”

    What terrible hypocrites! Now please go ahead and explain why all those Republicans who unanimously voted to confirm Merrick Garland to his seat refused to even hold a hearing for his Supreme Court nomination.

    We’ll wait.

  22. SenyorDave says:

    As long as Steve Bannon is calling the shots (see below for how his role is “evolving” into something pretty scary) the Democrats should avoid working with the Republicans, and they should make it clear that having a white supremacist anti-Semite as the president’s senior adviser is unacceptable. This should be emphasized every time a senior Democrat is interviewed.

    Just as a primer, here is a great Bannon quote:

    “I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.
    Shocked, I asked him what he meant. “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.

    Just to be clear, Bannon’s new role is defined here:

    But the defining moment for Mr. Bannon came Saturday night in the form of an executive order giving the rumpled right-wing agitator a full seat on the “principals committee” of the National Security Council — while downgrading the roles of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence, who will now attend only when the council is considering issues in their direct areas of responsibilities. It is a startling elevation of a political adviser, to a status alongside the secretaries of state and defense, and over the president’s top military and intelligence advisers.

    WTF!!! This guy sounds like he wants to bring down the country, and he is the voice Trump is listening to regarding national security.

  23. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Here are a few other zingers from the site:

    “The Second Law of Thermodynamics disproves the atheistic Theory of Evolution and Theory of Relativity.”

    “Public opinion polls show that despite liberal denial, one in five Americans recognizes that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim.”

    “The homosexual agenda is the biggest threat to the right of free speech today.”

    [And I swear I’m not making this example up] “There are many compelling reasons to conclude that God does have a sense of humor…. there are many whites named ‘Black’ and many African Americans named ‘White’.”

  24. Pch101 says:


    It’s time to change the national anthem to “Dare to Be Stupid.”

  25. Hal_10000 says:

    The Democrats need to pick their fights. If they oppose everything Trump does, they will quickly lose the attention of the public. They have to oppose specific bad policies. Unless something very bad comes up in the hearings, this should proceed. “Revenge” is one of the things that got us here. I thought the Republicans should have considered Garland. The Democrats should consider Gorsuch, especially given that the Republicans are likely to gain seats in 2018.

    Gorsuch is about as good a nominee as I could expect. There appear to be two camps in the Trump Administration — the crazy camp and the sensible camp. The crazy camp wanted to ban green card holders; the sensible camp decided to uphold Obama’s EO on LGBT discrimination. This fight was won by the sensible camp. If you care about criminal justice issues, which are one of the biggest issues facing the Court, Gorsuch is actually a better choice than Garland. Garland has a long history of deferring to law enforcement and executive power. Gorsuch is more suspicious of such power and has written several dissenting opinions upholding the 4th Amendment, which has been severely weakened by previous Courts. Gorsuch is more likely to reign in executive power, which is a very big concern about now.

  26. SenyorDave says:

    @Jack: If however, the Dems do not filibuster then it would be difficult for the Republicans to threaten the nuclear option for a later nominee and Trump will have to moderate his selection(s).

    Its hard to read this with a straight face. Your entire argument assumes that the Republicans will act in good faith. May I ask what that assumption is based upon? After Garland, no serious person could make such an assumption.

  27. CSK says:


    Why not? Trump said that he “love(s) the poorly educated.”

    Or as The Waco Kid said, “You know…morons.”

  28. reid says:

    @Kylopod: I guess I will have to rethink my attitude that conservatives can’t do comedy. How utterly idiotic….

  29. gVOR08 says:

    It would feel good to say scorched earth, oppose everything Trump does. And it’s more important to make sure what Trump does is attached to Republicans generally. But this is a place to save powder for another day.

  30. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Noted conspiracy-theorist Mike Flynn, of the conspiracy-theorist-rich White House, put Iran “on notice” today after they tested a missile.
    I promise you that these incompetent buffoons will pop a nuke before the year is out.

  31. Pch101 says:

    The Wikipedia editing battles that were waged in support of Sarah Palin’s historical revisionism with Paul Revere shed some insights into the right’s war on reality :

    You can make 2+2=22 if you really mean it.

  32. gVOR08 says:


    WTF!!! This guy sounds like he wants to bring down the country, and he is the voice Trump is listening to regarding national security.

    Our best move, collectively, is to refer to Bannon at every turn as the power behind the throne, the real brains of the operation, the go-to guy if you want something done, Trump’s Svengali. Schumer should start calling Bannon directly. If Bannon gets the limelight, Lord Shortfingers will fire him in a New York minute.

  33. SenyorDave says:

    @gVOR08: I think Bannon knows where the bodies are buried. IMO, he has something on Trump that really will destroy him. I do agree with you about calling Bannon out as the man making the decisions, it will piss Trump off.

    This has to be the worst self-inflicted wound a Western Democracy has made in the last 75 years.

  34. Ben Wolf says:

    @Gustopher: I question how many Democrats are willing to do more than deliver strong rhetoric when 13 of them vote to prevent drug reimportation (had it passed it would have significantly slowed repeal of the ACA) and when Diane Feinstein has cut off communication with her constituents and turned herself into a rubber stamp for Trump appointees.

    I question their commitment when they take a pass on opportunity after opportunity to attack this administration in ways that will have an impact. We’ve heard little about Mnuchin’s serial law-breaking, about DeVos plans to burn her way through America’s children on a march to the sea, and virtually nothing on the Trump administration being a literal oligarchy, a god-given point of attack no one seems to want to target.

    So far it looks like they’ll continue their long record of tough talk and no action when time comes for progressive voting.

  35. Hal_10000 says:

    Radley Balko, who knows a thing or two, has an op-ed arguing that in Gorsuch, Trump has given the Democrats a gift, someone who seems skeptical of executive power. That could be the most critical battlefield of the next four years. And things could get *very* interesting when Gorsuch sides against Trump in a case (all Presidents will eventually finds themselves on the wrong side of a decision by their SCOTUS nominees).

  36. David M says:

    If the filibuster isn’t to be used for stopping a right wing reactionary from being nominated to an illegitimate opening by an illegitimate president, then it’s of no use.

  37. gVOR08 says:


    This has to be the worst self-inflicted wound a Western Democracy has made in the last 75 years.

    Yes. BREXIT’s only going to make Britain poorer. Trump shows promise of much worse.

    But out of curiosity, did you have something in mind in 1942?

  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Frankly, he’s as crazy right wing as his mother was (in this case the apple fell directly under the tree), but confirming him doesn’t change the tenor of the court. In fact it might motivate Kennedy to move further to the left, but we’ll see.

    Funny thing – I’m a Wall Street attorney, so my professional life has been largely populated with some pretty objectionable people, but few rise to the level of being termed “vile”.

    This guy’s mom and her mentor Joe Coors were resoundingly on my vile list. I’ve drank one toast in my life to someone dropping dead, and it was Joe Coors.

    Once more unto the breach …

  39. SenyorDave says:

    @HarvardLaw92: This guy’s mom and her mentor Joe Coors were resoundingly on my vile list. I’ve drank one toast in my life to someone dropping dead, and it was Joe Coors.

    I’ve never had that experience, but there are several people who I will be very happy when they drop dead, and curiously they all congregate around one figure.

    Seriously, the old saying about judging a person by the company they keep. Trump’s inner circle:

    Steve Bannon
    Roger Ailes
    Rudy Giuliani
    Newt Gingrich
    Uday and Qusay (the Trump boys)
    Ivanka Trump
    Jared Kushner

    Ivanka Trump is the closest thing to a human being among the bunch, and that’s only by comparison.

  40. JohnMcC says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Ditto on the opinion expressed about Joseph Coors. I associate him with James Watt and the ‘conservative’ idea soon to be heard again no doubt that carelessly plundering the planet is totally OK because Jesus is coming again real soon.

    Haven’t drunk a Coors beer since the Reagan administration. (Which is a shame ’cause I really liked Killian Red.)

  41. HarvardLaw92 says:


    You know this guy’s mom was Anne Gorsuch, right? The hag that nearly destroyed the EPA. Thoroughly vile people.

    I’ve always said Joe Coors truly helped to make the world a better place – by exiting it.

  42. reid says:

    Orrin Hatch is having the vapors because Democrats on his committee are being so mean-spirited about approving this very decent man. He really doesn’t want to even consider the nuclear option, but the Democrats may force him to. *vomit* Greta Van Susteren, the interviewer, fluffed him nicely.

  43. Tyrell says:

    I was surprised. I was expecting Big D to nominate someone with a law degree from Outer Mongolia Law School, Boggy Creek Online Law University, Podunk Tech; or just bring in old Judge Proctor himself ! Instead, this Gorsuch fellow has degrees from the literal “Hall of Fame”, all star Ivy League schools: Columbia, Harvard, and Oxford. Schools with the same reputation and renown as UCLA, Notre Dame, Duke, and UNC (Go Tarheels if you please, sorry Blue Devils fans). So Trump has hit the proverbial 9th. inning grand slam, the half court 3 pointer buzzer shot, the hail Mary touchdown pass, and the power play backward slap shot goal – all rolled into one action !
    This judge seems to be a reasonable, middle of the road person who does not seem the activist type who wants to rewrite the Constitution, or go out on some wild tangent.
    The Supreme Court’s infamous ObamaCare decision of a few years ago:
    “The chief justices decided to hold their own Constitutional Convention !”

  44. grumpy realist says:

    @Hal_10000: Yah, as I keep saying over at TAC, Trump may be very unpleasantly surprised down the pipeline….

    I just hope we get some people on SCOTUS who don’t continue to make micefeet out of their interpretations of patents, sigh….

  45. An Interested Party says:

    The Democrats need to pick their fights. If they oppose everything Trump does, they will quickly lose the attention of the public.

    Oh really? Opposing everything with President Obama certainly didn’t hurt Republicans…

  46. Pch101 says:

    @An Interested Party:

    The Democrats Republicans need to pick their fights. If they oppose everything Trump Obama does, they will quickly lose the attention of the public.

    If I ever make a comment like that, feel free to shoot me.

  47. Terrye Cravens says:

    Republicans are just thrilled Trump did not nominate his sister. I think that it would be a good idea for some Democratic Senator to ask Mr. Gorsuch what he thinks of the Senate leadership refusing to even give a nominee for the Supreme Court a hearing. After all, he is a believer in original intent. What would they think of McConnell’s tactics?

  48. george says:


    In fairness, I’ve never met a conservative who actually used the conservapedia, nor have I ever seen it mentioned on conservative sites (I make a habit of surfing National Review to see what conservatives are saying). Even the goofiest writers, article and letter, never seem to mention it. The only place I’ve ever seen it is on Google searches.

  49. george says:


    Interesting. I figure the Dems should fight it on principle (the principle being the Repubs stonewalled Obama’s last choice). But if Gorsuch is as vile as you claim, why didn’t the Dems oppose him in 2006? Have his morals changed that much in the last decade?

  50. Davebo says:

    @Hal_10000: I somewhat like Balko but in this case he’s being silly.

  51. Pch101 says:


    Alexa rankings are flawed, but Conservapedia’s is about 53,000. Which makes it more popular than this website.

  52. george says:


    Wow, I stand corrected. I figured it was kind of a joke, but apparently not.

  53. dxq says:

    He pushes it for the homeschooling community, IIRC.

  54. dxq says:

    He pushes it for the homeschooling community, IIRC.

  55. dxq says:

    my favorite Conservapedia bit is “E=mc^2 is liberal claptrap”

  56. HarvardLaw92 says:


    I find him vile on a personal / social level, and I vehemently disagree with his viewpoints about the law, but he’s well qualified for the position. I imagine that they voted to confirm him on that basis.

    Democrats, at its most basic, seem to care more about fairness and doing the right thing than they do about winning / playing the game that actually exists, which is why he’ll probably be sitting on SCOTUS soon. Ideally, we’d filibuster every nominee that Trump puts forward and leave the seat empty for the next four years, and simply say “Garland” every time we’re asked why, but we don’t live in an ideal world.

  57. george says:


    Thanks. I agree on filibustering everyone on the principle that not giving Garland a hearing was ridiculous, but given that the GOP will go the nuclear option I doubt the seat will remain empty long. However, since they’re going to go nuclear in any case, there’s no reason not to filibuster. I think people worrying that it’ll affect the 2018 elections are overestimating how much most people know or care about the supreme court – the only people that will care are people so heavily into politics that their votes are already set.

  58. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101: I don’t think it really works the same for both parties. Then again, I don’t have a dog in this fight, so I’m amenable to letting each side shoot itself in the foot with whatever gun it chooses.

  59. Pch101 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Democrats would be wise to acquire a taste for brawling (which the Tea Party didn’t need to learn) and to avoid the appearance of representing only minority groups. But otherwise, Dems outnumber Republicans and they should be able to figure out how to inspire their own supporters to show up.

  60. CSK says:


    I’m not sure if Bannon has something on Trump, or if he simply looked at Trump and decided: “Yeah, this one I can manipulate to get my hands on the reins of power.”

    Remember that Bannon initially thought he could get into the White House by way of Sarah Palin, who is–or was–basically Trump in second gear. He made that lousy documentary, The Undefeated, to promote her candidacy in 2011. He also turned into a Palin propaganda organ, assigning a “reporter” to write hard-hitting near-daily pieces rhapsodizing about her Facebook postings as if they were The Federalist Papers. The documentary bombed spectacularly, as did Palin’s run for the presidential roses. So Bannon bided his time till Donnie reared his orange-maned head, and then he leaped aboard the Trumpwagon.

    This time, he had better luck.

  61. Tony W says:

    One of the unanticipated problems with the tactic Republicans used during the last year of Obama’s administration is that Trump now has to choose a Supreme Court justice in his first days as president.

    Normally a president has many months, even years, of political experience before having to make such an important decision, but in this case it’s left to a rookie.

    Media vetting of Gorsuch is revealing some skeletons. I’m fairly sure it won’t be enough to kill the nomination, but I wonder what other downstream effects we’re in for here.

  62. Trump did not choose Gorsuch. The Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society that did.

  63. LaMont says:

    I really do not see why this have to be so hard for the Democrats. Yes they will lose – but it should take the nuclear option to do so.

    The way I see it, Congress is still in direct violation of the constitution. Regardless of who the President is now, we still have a person who was nominated by a sitting President who did not receive his constitutionally mandated hearing! Voting for someone else does not make that go away. The Democrats can easily spin it to suggest that they are bound, by the constitution, to filibuster until Garland’s nomination is properly considered.

    I don’t know much about law but I do know that, politically, it is a simple and winning argument. They should want the Republicans to go nuclear. That way, everyone gets to see them for what they are – blatant constitutional hypocrites more interested in changing the rules to keep or obtain power! Now are the Democrats capable of growing a spine? That is the real debate we should have!

  64. SKI says:

    I just love how he joked (presumably) about founding a “Fascists Forever” club at Georgetown Prep and how he used in both his high school and college yearbooks the same quote from Henry Kissinger, “The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.”

    Gives a lot of confidence in his ability to empathize and understand the impact of his judicial decisions…

  65. Pch101 says:


    There are Republicans who don’t want the nuclear option, either, as they know that it will be used against them when seats eventually shift back. So you don’t want to box those senators into a corner.

    However, every opportunity should be taken to make the process as aggravating as possible. The Dems won’t get to choose the nominee, but they can use it to stir up the Dem base.

  66. Tyrell says:

    @LaMont: Obstructing and pulling all kinds of stunts could cost the Democrats. The people do not want more activist judges trying to rewrite the Constitution. This Gorsuch man seems to be smart, impeccable education, hard working, and honest.

  67. grumpy realist says:

    Another reason why Trump has been dropping the “we’re going to investigate all those illegal immigrants who voted” case like a hot potato. Turns out that the guy who claims he has “proof” (which of course, he won’t release) has a history of such scams.

  68. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101: As I said, you’re free to shoot yourself in whatever manner you prefer. (And yes, I DO know that your statement really doesn’t apply to you because you’ve noted several times that you’re not really a Democrat.)

  69. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @gVOR08: If they had the brains to do this–it would actually be brilliant. “Shadow-President”, “President-non-elect”, etc. Something to that effect as long as its catchy.

  70. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    When I channel my inner “child who doesn’t play well with the other children,” I find myself wondering how many ways the following question can be phrased:

    Justice Gorsuch, what do you think about the problem of having recently had an equally qualified candidate, who was not even granted the courtesy of a hearing, denied the opportunity to serve the nation for the sake of political expediency by the party whose President just nominated you?

    And then I wonder how the press will respond if said question, in its various forms, is asked 5 or 10 (hopefully) times during Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing.

    I also like going back to ask and reask about the Fascist club in high school repeatedly.

  71. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jim Brown 32: How about calling Donald the “President pro forma” and Bannon the “president in fact?” (No capitalization error on “president in fact”)

  72. Mr. Bluster says:

    Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch founded ‘Fascism Forever Club’ in school
    The Colorado judge was the president of the right-wing club during his time at the prestigious Georgetown Preparatory school in the 1980s.

  73. John says:

    The obstinacy of Senate Democrats reflects the mood of their progressive base, whose panicked anger is the natural reaction of those for whom politics has become an article of faith. Progressives, as the terms implies, believe society must always be progressing toward something better. Always forward, never backwards. After eight years of Obama, they believed progressive politics in America would forever be on an upward trajectory.
    Trump shook that faith. But his election also unmasked the degree to which progressivism as a political project is based not on science or rationality, or even sound policy, but on faith in the power of government to ameliorate and eventually perfect society. All the protests and denunciations of Trump serve not just as an outlet for progressives’ despair, but the chance to signal their moral virtue through collective outrage and moral preening–something that wasn’t really possible under Obama, at least not to this degree.

    Not that they didn’t try. Recall that during the Obamacare debate in 2009 Ezra Klein suggested that Sen. Joe Lieberman was “willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score,” simply because he threatened to filibuster what would become the Affordable Care Act. This is the language of political fundamentalism–policy invested with the certainty of religious conviction.

    Religious fundamentalism of course rests on immutable truths that cannot be negotiated.

  74. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Religious fundamentalism of course rests on immutable truths that cannot be negotiated.

    “Science consists of questions which may never be answered. Religion consists of answers which may never be questioned.”

    You can pray to your washing machine for all that I care if it gets you through the day, but enough with the “immutable truths” silliness.

  75. John says:


    Ha ha

  76. Mr. Bluster says:

    Maybe John can elaborate on whatever “immutable truths” he is talking about “that can not be negotiated.”

  77. Just 'nutha ig'rant ig'nint cracker says:

    @John: Okay, I see your point. You have my permission to set the country on a backwards trajectory for 4 years so that we can see again how much better things are when knotheads of your sort aren’t in charge. Enjoy your war with China, Iran, and sanity at large.

    Make that 2 years, there’s another election for Congress then, and we may already be sick of you guys.

    (This pledge is not binding on any other poster to this or any other political topics blog on the interwebs thingie, is not valid beyond the scope of my personal power to control the world, and may be rescinded at any time.)

  78. Kevin says:


    Harvard I hope not.

    Educated past your intelligence.

  79. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Democrats would be a Damn fool not to filibuster this guy. Republicans basically slapped them and Obama in the face by not giving Garland a hearing. Not that I give a rat’s ass about Garland. Obama should have nominated a black judge, because, you know, we supported him at levels that will never be seen again. Ever. Being overlooked comes with voting for the Dems so no surprise there.

    But I digress, some things you just don’t let people do without retaliation. The Garland refusal is one. You forces them to go nuclear….take it on the chin and as soon as the tide swings back in 2018 or 2020 you steam roll the $#!t outta them on judge nominations. A giant FU.