Courts

Trump Likely Considering Future Supreme Court Picks

Now that the battle over the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch is officially over, the word on the hill is that President Trump is already setting his sites on more nominees.

Among the other justices on the Court are several octogenarians, all of whom are liberal.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer could easily retire or worse in the next four years.

Trump is rumored to be prepping his short list for an immediate nomination should one of them step aside.

Here’s more from Newsmax…

With a Supreme Court that’s collectively the oldest on record, the real possibility exists that President Donald Trump could name more justices during his presidency, reported Fox News Saturday. 

Congress just saw a contentious fight as Republicans and Democrats debated the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s pick to fill the vacancy that had been open following the death of Antonin Scalia just over a year ago. Just hours after Scalia’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced there would be no discussion of Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy.

While still a candidate, Trump in August predicted the next president could appoint as many as five justices during their tenure, which could change the court for decades. Future vacancies in the Supreme Court could arise as justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 84, Anthony Kennedy, 80, and Stephen Breyer, 78, ponder their future.

Republicans in the Senate were forced to use the nuclear option to confirm Gorsuch, widely considered to be a sterling pick for the position. Future nominees could undergo even more public scrutiny as Democrats consider the results that could come from an even more conservative Supreme Court.

“Imagine if in a year or so Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, or Kennedy leave the Court,” Rick Hasen, a professor at the University of California at Irvine, wrote on Election Law Blog.

“Then things get MUCH worse from the point of view of progressives. Then Roberts becomes the swing voter and there goes affirmative action, abortion rights, etc. If you think things with the Supreme Court are bad for progressive now they can get much, much worse.”

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Courts

It’s Official: Senate Confirms Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

After a week of drama both on and off the Senate floor, Republicans prevailed over Democrat attempts to railroad Judge Neil Gorsuch.

After the filibuster was shut down abruptly by a rule change on Thursday, the vote on Gorsuch was given a green light.

This morning the formal vote to confirm Gorsuch was held, resulting in a 54-45 split with three Democrats crossing over to join Republicans in the majority.

Gorsuch will be sworn in next week, which will restore the Court to a full nine justices.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

The Senate voted just before noon Friday to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Nation’s highest bench.

The vote, originally set for Friday evening, was moved up to the morning after Democrats agreed to waive part of the final debate period. Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s pick to replace conservative anchor of the Court, Justice Antonin Scalia, was confirmed by a vote of 54-45, with Democrats Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) joining a unanimous Republican Caucus.

Judge Gorsuch’s nomination process was among the most contentious in American history. After assembling the pledges of 41 Senate Democrats to iniate the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sought to prevent a vote of the full Senate. This set up a showdown over Senate cloture rules that resulted Thursday in Republicans invoking the “constitutional option” and abolishing the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.

The partisan animosity of the nomination continued into the vote. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), representing Gorsuch’s home state, voted against his fellow Coloradan. He had previously sought to chart a middle path, voting at least to allow a vote of the full Senate before the constitutional option was used.

Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) took to the floor immediately after confirmation to thank his staff for their work throughout the momentous proceedings.

The Senate moved on to invoke cloture on President Trump’s pick for Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein.

Gorsuch is now expected to be formally sworn in on Monday and will join his eight fellow justices in an investiture ceremony to be held later this month.

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Courts

Senate GOP Pulls the Trigger: ‘Nuclear Option’ Sets Up Gorsuch Vote

In a dramatic turn of events on the Senate floor today, Democrats opened up with an attempted filibuster before the GOP moved to invoke cloture and then to a vote on Neil Gorsuch.

As expected, there weren’t enough votes for cloture, so the GOP made good on threats to change Senate rules lowering the bar for cloture votes on judicial nominees.

The historic change in rules guarantees approval for Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, which will have major ripple effects for decades to come.

It also likely greases the skids should President Trump have an opportunity to fill a second seat on the Court.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

Senate Republicans used the “constitutional option” to change longstanding cloture rules around 12:30pm Thursday, clearing the way for Judge Neil Gorsuch to receive a vote of the full Senate on his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Republicans resorted to the party-line 52-48 vote after weeks of wrangling over Gorsuch’s nomination in which Senate Democrats threatened the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee in American history. After the Democrats assembled the forty-one votes needed to prevent the end of debate under current rules, the constitutional option allowing cloture on a simple majority became the only remaining path to placing Gorsuch on the Court.

Vice-President Mike Pence, who would have been needed to break a tie should any two Republicans have voted to maintain the 60-vote cloture rule, was not present for the vote, indicating Republican confidence their entire caucus would agree to the change.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) moved for a point of order after his first attempt to invoke cloture failed with only 55 votes. From the podium, he cited the need to “restore Senate norms” in light of the Democrats’ “unprecedented partisan filibuster” of a Supreme Court nominee.

McConnell invoked the precedent of Senate Democrats’ own change to same simple majority cloture rule for all presidential nominees but those to the Supreme Court in 2013 in calling for an override of the Senate chair’s determination sixty votes were needed for cloture. That appeal passed on a party-line 52-48 vote.

 

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Courts

Last Ditch Effort: Left Accuses Gorsuch of Plagiarism

Today Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he has enough votes to invoke cloture and kill the Democrats’ filibuster of Judge Neil Gorsuch during debate on the floor tomorrow.

Which means Democrats have no more options to stop the confirmation of Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

That might explain the hail mary pass they’re throwing today with a last ditch effort to smear him.

They’re charging that he plagiarized in his most recent book.

Except the person he quoted has already said he wasn’t plagiarized by Gorsuch.

More ‘fake news’ it seems.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

Democrats are launching a last-minute attack against Judge Neil Gorsuch that some say smacks of desperation, latching onto a leftwing publication accusing this Harvard- and Oxford-educated scholar of plagiarism.

Gorsuch has written thousands of pages as a federal judge. Prior to that, with not only a law degree from Harvard but also a D.Phil. (the UK version of a Ph.D.) from Oxford, Gorsuch became a published academic scholar. On the eve of his confirmation to join the U.S. Supreme Court, his critics are accusing him of three instances of plagiarism.

Allegations of plagiarism have come from both Buzzfeed and Politico.

One person Gorsuch is accused of plagiarizing, Abigail Lawlis Kuzma, flatly refuted the attack. “I have reviewed both passages and do not see an issue here, even though the language is similar,” she began. “Given that these passages both describe the basic facts of the case, it would have been awkward and difficult for Judge Gorsuch to have used different language.”

Emeritus Professor Jon Finnis of Oxford University agreed. Finnis supervised Gorsuch’s dissertation, which contains some of the allegedly plagiarized material. He responds, “None of the allegations has any substance or justification.” He adds, “Neil Gorsuch’s writing and citing was easily and well within the proper and accepted standards of scholarly research and writing in the field of study in which he and I work.”

Professor Robert George of Princeton University was the general editor for Gorsuch’s publisher, the Princeton University Press. “I can only say that [these allegations’] timing and substance (or, more to the point, lack of substance) makes it difficult to avoid the conclusion that this is a politically motivated effort to smear him in the hope of derailing his confirmation,” George surmised.

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Courts

Green Light: Republicans Tee Up Showdown on Constitutional Option

The ball is officially in motion in the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a motion yesterday for cloture which is the formal procedural move to block a filibuster.

With the Democrats promising to filibuster the vote for Neil Gorsuch on Thursday, Republicans plan to preempt it by changing the rules to kill the filibuster.

Over the next 24 hours, McConnell needs to nail down 50 GOP votes to prevent the filibuster.

If he can pull it off, Gorsuch is the newest Supreme Court justice.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved for cloture on Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch Tuesday, as both the judge’s confirmation and the future of Senate rules hang in the balance.

Senate Republican leadership must now assemble the necessary votes for the “constitutional option” ahead of the vote on McConnell’s motion, now scheduled for Thursday, which would end debate and allow a vote of the full Senate on Gorsuch if he is to have any hope of being confirmed. At least fifty of the Senate’s fifty-two Republicans will have to sign on to change Senate rules to allow simple majority votes on cloture for Supreme Court nominees.

Senate Democrats have assembled at least forty-two senators who have pledged to filibuster any effort to bring Gorsuch to a vote of the full Senate — one more than is needed to prevent a vote under current Senate rules. The Democratic filibuster was put over the top during Monday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, at which Gorsuch was approved in a party-line 11-9 vote, making the constitutional option the only likely path to confirmation.

Senate rule changes can be accomplished by a simple majority. Because Vice-President Mike Pence holds the tie-breaking vote as President of the Senate, the constitutional option could be invoked if two or fewer Republican senators refuse to join the effort. If Republicans succeed Thursday in invoking cloture, the Senate would hold a vote of the full membership Friday, in which fifty-five senators — all fifty-two Republicans and three Democrats — have pledged to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the nation’s highest court.

Several Republicans who had previously expressed their uncertainty or misgivings on the idea have confirmed they will back the constitutional option. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who, in the weeks before the cloture-proof filibuster took shape, was unwilling to committo changing Senate rules, came out forcefully in favor of the constitutional option Monday night, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer he “absolutely” would support what Blitzer called the “nuclear option.”

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Courts, Politics

Schumer: Trump Should Ditch Gorsuch for a ‘Mainstream Nominee’

Senate Minority potentate Chuck Schumer doesn’t like it when he’s not calling the shots in Congress.

It’s just unfair that Republicans get to choose the next Supreme Court justice.

Never mind that he was perfectly okay when Obama appointed Justices Sotomayor and Kagan over objections from Republicans.

Now he’s arguing that Trump work with Democrats to choose a more ‘mainstream’ nominee…because, you know, Democrats will accept someone who has even just a few conservative positions.

Not so much.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said President Donald Trump should change his Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch for “a mainstream nominee” who can get 60 votes in the senate.

Schumer said, “Let me make a proposal here to maybe break this problem that we have, okay? It looks like Gorsuch will not reach the 60-vote margin. So instead of changing the rules, which is up to Mitch McConnell and the Republican majority, why doesn’t President Trump, Democrats, and Republicans in the Senate, sit down, and try to come up with a mainstream nominee? Look, when a nominee doesn’t get 60 votes, you shouldn’t change the rules, you should change the nominee. And let’s just take, give me one minute here, because this is important, let’s just look at the history, okay?”

“Our nominee was Merrick Garland, Mitch McConnell broke 230 years of precedent and didn’t call him up for a vote,” he continued. “It wasn’t in the middle of an election campaign, it was March.Second, then now it looks like we have the votes to prevent Gorsuch from getting on. Now that doesn’t mean you have to change the rules. Each side didn’t get their nominee. Let’s sit down and come together. Our Republican friends are acting like, you know, they’re a cat on the top of a tree and they have to jump off with all the damage that entails. Come back off the tree, sit down, and work with us and we will produce a mainstream nominee.”

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Courts

Lindsey Graham Promises ‘Nuclear Option’ if Dems Filibuster Gorsuch

Yesterday Sen. Chuck Schumer promised the Democrats will filibuster the formal confirmation vote of Neil Gorsuch in the Senate after the barrage of pointless questioning during the hearings didn’t successfully blow him out of the water.

And now Sen. Lindsey Graham issued a counter-threat.

He promised Republicans will change the debate rules to suspend filibuster rights to completely shut down the Democrats’ attempt to railroad Gorsuch.

It’s gonna get ugly.

Here’s more from the American Mirror…

Sen. Lindsey Graham issued a “promise” to Senate Democrats if they filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court:

He’s vowing to change the Senate rules — the so-called “nuclear option” — if they block a vote.

“If you filibuster Judge Gorsuch, you’re telling President Trump and every other Republican, ‘We don’t care that you won,’” Graham said on CNN Thursday night.

“He’s the most qualified person President Trump could have chosen, beyond reproach in terms of his qualifications. It would basically be setting aside the election and denying President Trump his ability to appoint a Supreme Court justice and I will not let that happen,” Graham said.

Graham is so determined to get a vote, he went so far as to admit he didn’t even vote for Trump, but still believes he ought to get the nominee he chooses.

“I’m telling my Democratic colleagues: if you do not allow an up-or-down vote on this guy after what I’ve done in the past? And you don’t care about the traditions of the Senate? And you don’t care about President Trump being treated fairly? I didn’t vote for him. I didn’t vote for Obama. I haven’t vote for a president who won in 12 years,” he said.

“But the one thing I will not do is allow President Trump to be denied what every other president’s had the ability to do is nominate qualified people, so yes, I’m not going to play the game two different ways.

“I hope I never have to get (to the nuclear option), but I want you to know, I am not going to play the game where they get everything they want and we never get anything.”

“That’s a threat,” host Kate Bolduan interjected, “I’ll take that as a yes.”

“That’s a promise,” Graham said with a laugh.

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Courts, Politics

Boom: Gorsuch Schools Diane Feinstein on Second Amendment

During his final day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Neil Gorsuch was pressed by Left Coast liberal Diane Feinstein to defend his ‘originalist’ perspective on constitutional legal theory.

In her questioning she reiterated the standard leftist line how sticking to the original Constitution is “troubling.” She argued that the Constitution is a “living document intended to evolve as our country evolves.”

This is pretty much straight out of the liberal manual for Democrats’ “whatever you want it to mean” legal theory.

Then Gorsuch took her task on the Second Amendment after she asked whether he agrees with the right to bear arms.

He hit back, “It’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing…It’s a matter of it being the law.” Period.

Here’s more from DC Statesman

In today’s confirmation hearings for Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) made some head scratching comments. In prepared remarks, Feinstein said that she found “this originalist judicial philosophy to be really troubling,”and asserted that she believes “the American Constitution is a living document intended to evolve as our country evolves.”

These comments make conservatives cringe and for good reason. It’s the same philosophy that has given us terrible judicial rulings over the years. Rulings should be made on law, not based on politics, emotion, or ideology. The framers of the Constitution put together a system where future decisions are not meant be made on the whims of the day.

Jusge Gorsuch firmly believes in the rule of law, as his idol Antonin Scalia did. To lose sight of this fact is deeply troubling.

Here is the whole quote from Senator Feinstein:

“[Judge Gorsuch] has also stated that he believes they should look to the original public meaning of the Constitution, when they decide what a provision of the Constitution means. This is personal. But I find this originalist judicial philosophy to be really troubling. In essence, it means the judges and courts should evaluate our constitutional rights and privileges as they were understood in 1789. However, to do so would not only ignore the intent of the framers that the Constitution would be a framework on which to build, but it severely limit the genius of what our Constitution upholds.

“I firmly believe the American Constitution is a living document intended to evolve as our country evolves. In 1789, the population of the United States was under 4 million. Today, we’re at 325 million and growing. At the time of our founding, African-Americans were enslaved. It was not so long after women had been burned at the stake for witchcraft. And the idea of an automobile, let alone the Internet was unfathomable. In fact, if we were to dogmatically adhere to originalist interpretations, then we would still have segregated schools and bans on interracial marriage. Women wouldn’t be entitled to equal protection under the law and government description against LGBT Americans would be permitted.

“So I am concerned when I hear that Judge Gorsuch is an originalist and a strict constructionist. Suffice it to say, and I conclude, the issues we are examining today are consequential. There is no appointment that is more pivotal to the court than this one. This has a real-world impact on all of us. Who sits on the Supreme Court should not simply evaluate legalistic theories and Latin phrases in isolation. They must understand the court’s decision have real-world consequences for men, women and children across our nation. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”

Watch:

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Courts

The Left’s Attempt to ‘Bork’ Neil Gorsuch Was an Epic Fail

‘Borking’ a Supreme Court nominee is the practice started by the left in the mid-eighties when Ronald Reagan’s nominee, Judge Robert Bork, was scurrilously attacked both personally and politically by leftist organizations and Democrats in the Senate until he was finally forced out of the confirmation process.

But the left’s attempt to employ the same strategy against Neil Gorush has been a non-starter as they’ve literally found zero dirt on him.

Here’s more from the Federalist

To “Bork” someone is to obstruct through systematic defamation or vilification. The practice slightly pre-dates the obstruction of Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court in 1987, but he was its earliest and most prominent victim. The campaign against Bork was run by leftist activists and Democratic senators and included publishing his video rental records and scurrilous allegations of reprehensible views, lack of evidence notwithstanding. It worked, to the shame of those involved in the efforts.

The practice completely changed the judicial nomination process, and its continued use is one of the reasons why Judge Neil Gorsuch is such a formidable nominee. The Borking groups have been working overtime for months to dig up dirt on the Colorado judge and have come up completely empty. They were reduced to running a story in the New York Times last week alleging that Gorsuch served a wealthy client well. The New York Times’ spin was evident in the headline choice — “Neil Gorsuch Has Web of Ties to Secretive Billionaire” — but the story didn’t raise any alarms at all.

The last ditch Bork attempt is a letter from one of Gorsuch’s law students. She alleges that in an ethics class, Gorsuch discussed ethics. I’m sure this will be devastating. Of course, the headline from NPR tells you how such stories get spun for maximum impact — “Former Law Student: Gorsuch Told Class Women ‘Manipulate’ Maternal Leave.” The piece is authored by Arnie Seipel and Nina Totenberg, the latter’s liberal bias being pronounced since her 1995 suggestion that justice would be served if Jesse Helms and his grandchildren contracted AIDS.

Multiple students report that Gorsuch discussed the topic of parental leave in the ethics class in which students were to think ethically about their professional behavior, but they differ on whether those discussions were problematic. Student Jennifer Sisk says, according to NPR:

Law professors often ask provocative questions in the course of teaching. When asked if that’s what Gorsuch may have been doing, Sisk told NPR, “It wasn’t what he was doing. This was second-to-last class, hadn’t been the style he had been using to sort of raise issues all class, or all semester.”

She added, “He kept bringing it back to that this was women taking advantage of their companies, that this was a woman’s issue, a woman’s problem with having children and disadvantaging their companies by doing that.”

Sisk complained at the time to a dean and says of her motivation, “I did think he was a good professor. But my interest is more with having someone talk to him and explain to him why he shouldn’t be making these comments in class, why he needed to understand what the state of employment law was, and why it was problematic for him to express this view of employment law to a class full of students.” She made a comment on Facebook when Gorsuch was nominated by Trump and liberal activists took it from there. Again, there are slim pickings for a borking, so they have to take what they can.

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Courts

Dershowitz: Supreme Court Will Uphold Trump Travel Ban

Alan Dershowitz is a liberal’s liberal.

A renowned attorney at Harvard Law, Dershowitz has staked a claim as one of the most left-leaning constitutional experts in the country.

And now his fellow liberals are fuming at his latest prediction.

After pointing out that the injunctions by several federal judges on Trump’s refugee ban are ridiculous, he’s predicting the Supreme Court will ultimately uphold the president’s order.

And now liberals are scrambling to find a way to stop that.

Here’s more from Newsmax:

Federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii who blocked President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban overstepped their bounds by using his campaign rhetoric to justify their rulings, Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Saturday, and what’s more, he thinks the Supreme Court will uphold the ban.

“I’m putting my reputation on the line,” Dershowitz told Fox News in a morning interview. “I predict if the case gets to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court will uphold the major provisions of this ban.”

That’s because the ban blocks focus more on campaign rhetoric than constitutional law, Dershowitz continued.

“Focusing so heavily on campaign rhetoric and essentially saying, ‘look, if Obama had issued the very same order with it would be constitutional, but if Trump issues it it’s unconstitutional because he said some things about Muslims in the run-up to the campaign or Rudy Giuliani said some things and other people said some things,’ that’s not the way the law is supposed to operate,” Dershowitz explained.

Dershowitz said he believes the Justice Department under Trump is “getting smart,” as it is not filing its appeals to the Ninth Circuit court district, where it will likely get an adverse ruling, but to the Fourth Circuit, a “much more conservative court” that would be more likely to uphold the travel ban.

And if the case makes it to the Supreme Court, Trump will likely win his case, as the vote would be split 4-4, said Dershowitz.

Meanwhile, Dershowitz said he believes the courts, in ruling against both of Trump’s travel bans, are performing psychoanalysis, not constitutional analysis.

“There is precedent in extreme cases, where legislators in an in enacting a statute say things that you can look to the legislative intent,” said Dershowitz. “I have never heard of a case where the rhetoric of a candidate, ambiguous rhetoric to be sure.”

He also said he does not believe the ban is a Muslim ban, but rather focuses on countries like Iran, “the greatest exporter of terrorism.”

“Not only no vetting, but it sends terrorists out in order to kill Americans,” said Dershowitz. “Iran has so much blood on its hands of Americans and American allies, to exclude a country like Iran from the list would be absurd.”

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