THE SENATE SHOULD CONFIRM JUDGE NEIL M. GORSUCH

Below is my latest column in USA Today on the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.  I testified last week on the nomination before the Senate Judiciary hearing.  I was particularly pleased that one of the other witnesses that day was a GW graduate: Karen Harned (Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center. Karen has quickly become a leader in Washington on legal and policy matters impacting businesses.  Since the hearing (and publication of this column), the Democrats have indicated that they are preparing for a filibuster.  (My colleague Dick Pierce has an interesting column opposing such a move).

 

As I stated at the hearing, I disagree with some of Judge Gorsuch’s opinions but I believe that he is eminently qualified for the Supreme Court. I am particularly disturbed by some of the attacks on his writings on major issues of our time.  While many lawyers in Washington pathologically avoid any statements or writings on controversial subjects in the hope for government appointments, Gorsuch actively participated in the national debate and contributed interesting perspectives on those questions.  He refused to remain a pure pedestrian as others debated issues like euthanasia.  He should not be penalized for doing so.  One can disagree with his perspective but his analysis is uniformly probative and at times profound.

If there is one thing that should be clear from the confirmation hearings of Judge Neil Gorsuch, it is that he is no Antonin Scalia. And that is a good thing.

Many of us had great respect for Scalia, who was a judicial icon on the court. Yet we do not need a jurist who tries to be a knockoff or facsimile of Scalia. We need someone who is comfortable in his own intellectual skin. The priority should be not to replace a conservative with a conservative but an intellectual with an intellectual. Gorsuch is precisely that type of nominee.

I have long been critical of the preference shown nominees who lack any substantive writings or opinions on the major legal issues of our time. This has led to what I have referred to as the era of “blind date nominees,” candidates with essentially empty portfolios when it comes to any provocative or even interesting thoughts. Such individuals make for good nominees but not great justices.

Gorsuch is a refreshing departure from that trend. He has eagerly and substantively participated in the national debate over some of our most sensitive issues.

Every president and senator has expressed a commitment to placing the best and the brightest on the court, though few seem to agree on the qualitative measures for such nominees. Historically, the record is not encouraging. The actual members of the court have ranged from towering figures to virtual non-entities. To put it bluntly, we have had far more misses than hits among appointees to the court.

To be one of nine, a nominee should be an intellectual leader who has shown both a depth and scope of knowledge of the law and its history. Quite frankly, few nominees have been particularly distinguished on this basis. The low moment came with President Nixon’s nomination of Judge G. Harrold Carswell, who was criticized as the “dull graduate of the third best law school in the state of Georgia” and lacked any scholarly articles or significant decisions. Sen. Roman Hruska famously rose to his defense with the declaration that “even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance?” The answer is, of course, no. The highest court is a place for those who have earned the honor of confirmation through a lifetime of demonstrated and exceptional intellectual achievement.

Gorsuch is the gold standard for a nominee. He is widely respected for his writings on legal theory and history, which include refreshingly provocative ideas on the structure of government, morality in the law and interpretive theory. This is, in other words, a full portfolio of work at the very highest level of analysis.

Confirmation hearings often take on an almost mystical character as members and experts hold forth on what type of justice a nominee will prove to be over the course of a long tenure on the court. It is an exercise that not only defies logic but also can border on the occult. If history is any judge, even the nominee cannot say for certain where his tenure on the court will take him.

These hearings always remind me of an often told, but perhaps apocryphal, story of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who was traveling by train to Washington. When the conductor asked for his ticket, Holmes searched high and low for it until the conductor reassured him, “Don’t worry about your ticket, Mr. Holmes. We all know who you are. When you get to your destination, you can find it and just mail it to us.” Holmes responded, “My dear man, the problem is not my ticket. The problem is … where am I going?”

Most nominees are in a position not unlike that of Holmes. People of good faith can evolve on the court and even change dramatically in their new role. I do not expect such a transformation in Gorsuch, who has deep and well-established jurisprudential views. However, I expect he will go wherever his conscience takes him regardless of whether it proves a track to the left or the right. That might make the final terminus uncertain, but it will be an exciting trip to watch.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

176 thoughts on “THE SENATE SHOULD CONFIRM JUDGE NEIL M. GORSUCH

  1. Speaking of President Trump’s deconstruct-the-administrative-state nominees, here’s another nice man the Senate Dems meanly picked on:

    EPA’s Pruitt Faces Probe That Could See Him Disbarred

    “The Oklahoma Bar Association is investigating environmentalists’ complaints that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt used a private email address to conduct official business when he was the state’s attorney general.

    “The Center for Biological Diversity submitted the complaint to the association last week, claiming that Pruitt inaccurately told a Senate panel in Washington that he never used a private email to conduct his duties as attorney general.

    “The group is part of a coalition of environmental groups that is suing the Trump administration for approving the Keystone XL pipeline. One other person was named on the complaint, University of Oklahoma law professor Kristen Van de Biezenbos.

    “The complaint said the state attorney general office’s recent court-ordered disclosure of hundreds of Pruitt’s emails and documents showed that he did use his personal email in an official capacity on a number of occasions. [My emphasis]

    “The complaint said Pruitt ‘misrepresented a material fact’ during a Senate confirmation hearing in January, in which he told lawmakers that he did not use a personal account. The group hopes to show that Pruitt violated Oklahoma’s rules for professional conduct, which could result in his disbarment.

    ” ‘In apparent contradiction to Mr. Pruitt’s statement, in an e-mail dated August 14, 2013, Ms. Sarah K. Magruder Lyle, vice president, Strategic Initiatives, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, communicated with Mr. Pruitt, requesting that he take a particular action in his capacity as Oklahoma attorney general,’ the complaint stated.

    ” ‘Another email includes a partially redacted email address for Mr. Pruitt, and shows correspondence from an Oklahoma representative of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, regarding a speaking engagement for Mr. Pruitt at an ALEC meeting in his capacity as Oklahoma attorney general.’

    “Pruitt was confirmed last month to head the EPA, but not before Democrats tried to block his nomination at every turn. Democrats complained that Pruitt did not answer their questions adequately, prodding the GOP leadership to delay a confirmation vote until the Oklahoma attorney’s general office disclosed Pruitt’s emails under an emergency court order.

    “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky ignored their request.”

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/epas-pruitt-faces-probe-that-could-see-him-disbarred/article/2619049

    • Answer: That Gorsuch will be seated on the Supreme Court of the United States by the end of the month.

      We all see Gorsuch as we may. Senators need to vote on the nomination as their constitutional duty and otherwise act like public servants. Food fights in the Senate, whether they’re about blue dresses or Gorsuch being another Scalia (indisputably one of the most influential members of the Court to social conservatives as were Douglas, Warren, Brennan, and T. Marshall to social liberals) won’t get us anywhere.

  2. “WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democratic opposition to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee swelled Friday as Democrats neared the numbers needed for a filibuster, setting up a showdown with Republicans who have the votes to confirm Neil Gorsuch.

    “Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Brian Schatz of Hawaii became the latest Democratic senators to announce their opposition to Gorsuch, a 49-year-old federal appeals court judge in Denver whose conservative rulings make him an intellectual heir to the justice he would replace, the late Antonin Scalia.

    “McCaskill’s decision came a day after she said she was torn over the decision. She said she’s opposing the federal appeals court judge because his opinions favor corporations over workers and he’s shown ‘a stunning lack of humanity’ in some of those decisions.
    “She also criticized Trump in her statement announcing her opposition, saying ‘the president who promised working people he would lift them up has nominated a judge who can’t even see them.’

    “Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York warned Republicans against changing Senate rules, which could prove momentous for the chamber and would allow all future Supreme Court nominees to get on the court regardless of opposition from the minority party. He says President Donald Trump should just pick a new nominee if Gorsuch is blocked.

    “Blumenthal, a Senate Judiciary Committee member who questioned Gorsuch on judicial independence and other topics in last week’s hearings, complained that the judge didn’t give straightforward responses.

    ” ‘We must assume that Judge Gorsuch has passed the Trump litmus test — a pro-life, pro-gun, conservative judge,’ Blumenthal said in a statement.

    “There are now at least 36 Senate Democrats who oppose Gorsuch and have pledged to block him with a filibuster, just five shy of the number that would be required to mount a successful filibuster. All of the Senate’s 52 Republicans are expected to support him. The vote is expected next week.” [Emphasis added]
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/schumer-warns-gop-against-rules-change-supreme-court-075504442–politics.html

  3. “The Federalist Society may be the most powerful right-wing organization you’ve probably never heard of. Founded in 1982, they have been bankrolled by reactionary billionaires like the Koch Brothers and Richard Scaife to reshape the American judiciary to support their pro-corporate, anti-middle class agenda.

    “The Federalist Society believes ‘the easiest way to change the law is to change the judges,’ and they have been phenomenally successful in doing so. Every Federal judge appointed by both President Bushes was either a member of, or approved by, the Federalist Society. The same is true of Supreme Court Justices Roberts, Alito and Thomas, and the late Justice Scalia. So it comes at no surprise that Gorsuch’s nomination was hatched in their laboratory.

    “Like Roberts, Neil Gorsuch may have top academic and professional credentials, be a skilled legal writer and conversationalist, and look like Jimmy Stewart. But beneath his amiable veneer, he is a dedicated champion of the Federalists’ Koch-funded, pro-corporate legal agenda.

    The Federalists’ Agenda

    “What are some of the Federalist Society’s greatest victories in moving the law in a pro-corporate direction? Citizens United, which held that corporations are persons with the same First Amendment rights as actual people, and that unlimited contributions by billionaires and corporations to Super PACS, often run by a candidates’ family members and former top campaign aides, are not [politically] corrupting.

    “This case was argued before the Court by Federalist Society luminary Ted Olson, and backed by the four Federalist Society Justices on the Court, Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia. Shelby County v. Holder, which overturned the provisions of the Voting Rights Act which had required that states with a history of racial discrimination receive pre-clearance from the Justice Department before changing their voting laws.

    “The Shelby ruling has unleashed a flood of voter suppression laws throughout the country. it was likewise backed by the same four Federalist Society Justices and fulfilled a decades-long goal of the Federalist Society to undermine voting rights going back to the Reagan administration.

    “Vieth v. Jublirer, written by Federalist Society leader and Gorsuch mentor Antonin Scalia, ruled that partisan gerrymandering in which elected officials can pick their own voters is Constitutional. The result is multiple cases in which one party (usually Democrats) receives a majority of the popular vote, but the other party (usually Republicans) ends of with a majority of Congress People or state legislators.

    “Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, in which the Court ruled that a for-profit corporation can deny contraceptives to women under their health insurance policies if contraception violates the religious beliefs of the corporation. [Which corporation is, after all, a highly sensitive religious person, like Church Lady]

    “The Federalists’ Man

    “Notably, Judge Gorsuch authored a concurring opinion on Hobby Lobby even before the case reached the Supreme Court. As this and his other opinions make clear, The Federalist Society can count on him to advance its pro-corporate, anti-civil rights agenda if he’s confirmed for the Court.

    “If Gorsuch is confirmed it may not be long until he joins, or even leads, Federalist Society-supported decisions which would make it much easier to overturn environmental regulations and regulations protecting workers’ rights.

    “The vote on Gorsuch is the most consequential vote that’s likely to come before the current Congress. Senators serve for six years. A young justice like Gorsuch could spend thirty to forty years helping overturn laws protecting the environment, workers, minority groups, and women. [My emphasis]

    https://ourfuture.org/20170321/why-democrats-must-filibuster-gorsuch-or-face-a-primary-challenge

    • This is very persuasive argument that Federalist Society members on the Supreme Court are a bad deal for working-class Americans. (I wonder if Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the opinion in Citizen’s United, is a closet member, hypnotically-induced by economic issues like Budweiser’s opposition to marijuana.) The author should have noted Lochner v. New York (radical concepts of freedom of contract), too, as we’re headed back there with Gorsuch’s confirmation.

      This isn’t my endorsement of Chuckie “Vote for me and I’ll set you free” Schumer’s filibuster, however.

  4. Make Every Democratic Senator Filibuster Gorsuch
    March 31, 2017
    Miles Mogulescu

    “The number one priority for the resistance movement this coming week must be to use every tactic in the playbook – phone calls, emails, letters, petitions, mass demonstrations at senators’ homes and offices, and more – to make clear that every Democrat who votes to end the filibuster of Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination will lose the votes of their constituents.

    “Mass actions like these have already helped block the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the implementation of Trump’s Muslim ban. But until now, the resistance movement has mostly given a pass to Democratic senators on Gorsuch.

    “A number of Democrats hint they may try to play it both ways: vote to end the filibuster that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for, then cast a meaningless vote against Gorsuch’s then-inevitable confirmation in order to appease their Democratic base. Even the moderately liberal Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy has strongly hinted that he will vote to break the filibuster and then vote against Gorsuch’s confirmation. If he’s not opposed on this, it could give permission to other Democrats to do the same.

    “Democratic senators can’t be allowed to get away with such a ploy. Masses of people must make it loud and clear that any Democratic Senator who votes to break the filibuster will face a primary challenge.

    This is the most consequential vote of the year in the Senate. Senators come and go, but Supreme Court Justices sit on the Court for decades. [Emphasis added]

    “Gorsuch may be good-looking and well-spoken, but he’s a product of the hard-right, pro-corporate, billionaire-funded Federalist Society that played a key role in the successful appointment of other right-wing Supreme Court Justices: John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and the late Antonin Scalia, who was Gorsuch’s mentor.

    “If anything, Gorsuch may be to the even further to the right than Scalia. His record of opinions shows him to be even more closely aligned with the views of the Chamber of Commerce, the Federalist Society, and the Christian right.

    As a Supreme Court Justice, Gorsuch is likely to vote to further loosen remaining restrictions on campaign donations by billionaires and corporations, restrict voting rights, allow the expansion of partisan gerrymandering, close courthouse doors to workers and consumers, overturn environmental and financial regulations, mix church and state, and make it more difficult for women to control their bodies and their health.

    “Gorsuch is also being named to the seat that rightfully belonged to Merrick Garland and his nomination has been backed by millions of dollars in conservative ‘dark money.’

    “As Chuck Shumer has said, if Republicans can’t get 60 votes for Gorsuch, they should change the nominee, not the rules. Schumer should enforce party discipline on any back-sliding Democratic senator who votes to end the filibuster.

    “Wavering Democratic senators cannot be allowed to get away with voting to end a filibuster of Gorsuch.
    And this coming week, the resistance movement must use every tactic in its book to be sure that they don’t.

    “UPDATE: Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota just announced that they will vote to confirm Gorsuch. (Full disclosure: I contributed to Heitkamp’s 2012 campaign in the hopes that my modest donation in a small state could help the Democrats gain the majority in the Senate – I won’t be contributing to or supporting her again.)
    Only 6 more Democrats are needed to break a filibuster. Among the Democratic senators who are still on the fence are Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Diane Feinstein (CA.), Michael Bennett (Colo.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), John Tester (Mont.), and Clair McCaskill (Mo.)
    The right-wing Judicial Crisis Center is rolling out a 7-figure ad buy targeted at these fence-sitting Democrats.

    “All who believe justice matters in the United States should put maximum pressure on these ‘undecided’ Democratic senators, and making clear they will pay a political price if they side with Republicans to break the filibuster and allow Gorsuch to be confirmed.”
    https://ourfuture.org/20170331/make-every-democratic-senator-filibuster-gorsuch

    • “This is the most consequential vote of the year in the Senate. Senators come and go, but Supreme Court Justices sit on the Court for decades. ”

      Federal judges sit for decades too, but in 2013 Harry Reid put an end to the filibuster of nominees to the federal bench other than the Supreme Court. I see no reason why the Republicans won’t follow in kind and happily do the same knowing Kennedy’s and Ginsburg’s seats may be the next to go. They have nothing to lose by doing so.

  5. Watch the exchange (Warning: you may find it emetic) between Mitch McConnell and Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” McConnell clearly reveals himself as a shucking-and-jiving, Republican pol who lusts after having another crypto-corporatist judge on the US Supreme Court:

    “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate said on Sunday it was unlikely that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch would be able to clear a procedural hurdle to a final vote, even as a third Senate Democrat threw support behind the pick.
    Senator Joe Donnelly, a Democrat from Indiana, announced he would vote in favor of Gorsuch, calling him in a statement a ‘qualified jurist who … is well-respected among his peers.’

    “Donnelly joins Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota as the only Senate Democrats to announce support for President Donald Trump’s court pick.

    “Most other Democrats have made their opposition clear and 36 senators have indicated support for a filibuster of the nomination, which would force Republicans to come up with 60 votes to move forward. Republicans control the Senate 52-48.

    ” ‘It’s highly, highly unlikely that he’ll get to 60,’ Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
    If the planned filibuster holds, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell would only be able to advance the nomination of the conservative appeals court judge by changing Senate rules so it could be approved by a simple majority. McConnell, who also appeared on ‘Meet the Press,’ declined to rule out that option, and vowed the Senate would confirm Gorsuch one way or another.

    ” ‘What I can tell you is Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week. How that happens really depends on our Democratic friends,’ he said.
    The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on the nomination on Monday, setting the stage for what McConnell has said will be a vote in the full Senate on Friday.

    “McConnell declined to say if he had sufficient support among his fellow Republicans to change the Senate’s rules.” [My emphasis]

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/top-senate-democrat-says-unlikely-trump-court-pick-161713403.html

  6. http://www.groenfamilylaw.com, April 1, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    “ ‘This is the most consequential vote of the year in the Senate. Senators come and go, but Supreme Court Justices sit on the Court for decades.’

    “Federal judges sit for decades too, but in 2013 Harry Reid put an end to the filibuster of nominees to the federal bench other than the Supreme Court. I see no reason why the Republicans won’t follow in kind and happily do the same knowing Kennedy’s and Ginsburg’s seats may be the next to go. They have nothing to lose by doing so.”

    What do you mean they “have nothing to lose”? When there’s again a Democratic majority in the Senate, they stand to lose a lot.

    Your trivializing the current struggle in the Senate by characterzing it as a “food fight” clearly indicates (to me, at least) the superficiality of your thinking (or your indifference) regarding the virtually inevitable consequences of having another 5-4 corporatist majority on the Supreme Court.

    As the corporatists of the Federalist Society have said, “The easiest way to change the law is to change the judges.” And they do not lobby for and fund the appointment of judges who are as concerned about individual as for corporate rights.

    • Ken: “Your trivializing the current struggle in the Senate by characterizing it as a “food fight” clearly indicates (to me, at least) the superficiality of your thinking (or your indifference) regarding the virtually inevitable consequences of having another 5-4 corporatist majority on the Supreme Court.”

      To the contrary, you’re trivializing not only Judge Gorsuch’s importance to Republicans’ own beliefs promoted by getting a conservative jurist confirmed but the actual vote count in the Senate as well.

      Frankly, this may sound radical to you, but I think the Senate’s constitutional duty to confirm or deny cannot be delayed unreasonably (there’s nothing in the document which permits delay of that obligation), and a majority permits confirmation, outright. Otherwise, as we’re seeing here with the threat of filibuster, it leaves disputes on constitutional principles to the lower appellate courts with a vacant seat for nearly fourteen months.

      I do not support corrupted Democrats who are corporatists themselves. Charles Schumer knows what’s best for us? The Democrats lost the presidential election as did the Greens, and now we’ve all got to suffer the consequences for the Democrats’ money-comes-first, ill-fated strategy.

      I’m not a fan of filibuster in this instance, if ever. What you’re advocating is on par with the Republicans’ delay in advice and consent to Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland. Neil Gorsuch isn’t some malingerer, child molester or mass-murderer. Likewise, one must take into account the impossibility of being empirically-separated from one’s legal opinions. Judges try to get outcomes that are justified by the facts and law – isn’t that how we got Brown v. Board of Ed., Roe v. Wade, Citizens United v. FEC, DC v. Heller, Obergefell v. Hodges, et al?

      If I were a Senator, I would oppose the nomination and leave it at that. I would want to be above the food fight and would respect the vote count in such a distinguished legislative body. With any glimmer of hope for the future the Republicans would, too.

  7. This article is a load of nonsense. Turley thinks that some academic writings of a certain standard can justify reconstituting the pro-plutocracy majority on the Court. Turley deceives himself and readers if he thinks virtually every politicized judicial supremacist ruling of Gorsuch cannot be predicted to fall just as the Federalist Society expects. Turley think his thumb in the wind vetting process is more effective that the multi-million dollar process of the FS and Heritage, funded by the billionaires whose continued ownership of the plutocracy depends on this nomination. With all respect Turley is and educated political idiot.

  8. @Steve Groen, April 3, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Ken: “Your trivializing the current struggle in the Senate by characterizing it as a ‘food fight’ clearly indicates (to me, at least) the superficiality of your thinking (or your indifference) regarding the virtually inevitable consequences of having another 5-4 corporatist majority on the Supreme Court.”

    Steve: “To the contrary, you’re trivializing not only Judge Gorsuch’s importance to Republicans’ own beliefs promoted by getting a conservative jurist confirmed but the actual vote count in the Senate as well.”

    I’m sorry if you think that your response above has any truth value, as it’s barely even intelligible. The more you write, the more understandable it is that you were taken in, not once, but twice by Obama’s con job regarding his being a change agent.

    Your generalized animus toward Democrats and their past behavior is obviously clouding and compromising your thinking with respect to the political option available here and now to prevent the appointment of someone to the Supreme Court who would almost certainly (the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior) advance the Federalist Society’s agenda of consolidating the already enormous power of corporations, which is why they are financing his appointment.

    Any thinking person has political beliefs, and judges are no exception. Legally-binding interpretation of the law is a political act. As a matter of fact, judges are most realistically viewed as being, to one degree or another, politicans in black robes. The Federalist Society does not select and fund the appointment of judges randomly, but bases the support of its wealthy members on evidence of judicial candidates’ political willingness to prioritize corporate interests over those of individuals in the general public.

    Judge Gorsuch is obviously such a candidate, and it is equally obvious that this fact accounts for the Federalist Society’s multi-million dollar campaign to get him appointed to the Supreme Court.

    As Dr. David Korten points out in his extremely important book When Corporations Rule the World (1996),

    “Corporate libertarianism is not about creating the market conditions that market theory argues will result in optimizing the public interest. It is not about the public interest at all. It is about defending and institutionalizing the right of the economically powerful to do whatever best serves their immediate interests without public accountability for the consequences. It places power in institutions that are blind to issues of equity and environmental balance.

    “Millions of thoughtful, intelligent people who are properly suspicious of big government, believe in honest hard work, have deep religious values, and are committed to family and community are being deceived by the false information and the distorted intellectual and moral logic repeated constantly in the corporate-controlled media.

    “They are being won over to a political agenda that runs counter to both their values and their interests. Those who work within our major corporate, academic, political, governmental, and other institutions find the cultural and reward systems so strongly aligned with the corporate libertarian ideology that they dare not speak out in opposition, for fear of jeopardizing their jobs and their careers.

    “We must break through the veil of illusion and misrepresentation that is holding us in a self-destructive cultural trance and get on with the work of re-creating our economic systems in service to people and the living earth.” (p. 86)

    To paraphrase (less harshly) the assessment of JT’s endorsement of Gorsuch by “I kay” at 10:58 pm yesterday, your thinking regarding Gorsuch’s nomination (or at least your articulation of it in this forum) amounts to a species of political ignorance and passivity that borders on being politically idiotic.

  9. Steve Groen, April 3, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    “Ken, I’m sorry to hear you feel that way, but I don’t know that the Republicans have as much to lose by changing the cloture rule as you might think.”

    Regarding the second part of your comment immediately above, you seem to assume that the Republicans will maintain a majority in the Senate in perpetuity, a rather strange assumption, I must say, which surely isn’t shared by Republicans themselves, who must know that eliminating the filibuster will deprive them of that option when it’s they who are in the minority.

    Regarding the first part of your sentence, as a libertarian Christian, I’m quite happy to “feel” that way, i.e., oppose the body-and-spirit crushing oppression of individuals by corporate behemoths and their tools in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government who treat them as flesh-and-blood persons, rather than as abstract organizations with immense economic and political power acquired as a direct result of being treated as though they were persons.

    And speaking of Republicans, you may want to at least consider what Noam Chomsky, not exactly a political naif, has to say about them:

    “We speak with world-renowned political dissident Noam Chomsky about the Republican party, the rightward shift in U.S. politics and the 2016 election. ‘If we were honest, we would say something that sounds utterly shocking and no doubt will be taken out of context and lead to hysteria on the part of the usual suspects,’ Chomsky says, ‘but the fact of the matter is that today’s Republican Party qualify as candidates for the most dangerous organization in human history. Literally.’
    https://www.democracynow.org/2016/5/17/chomsky_todays_republican_party_is_a

  10. Well, the Federalist Society’s $10 Million-Dollar Golden Boy, Neil Gorsuch, has gotten off to an auspicious start in his life-time tenure on the US Supreme Court by voting with his barbaric colleagues to approve the killing of another totally powerless and defenseless human being, notwithstanding there having been only “a very weak case” against the man who has now been put down like an animal.

    “(Little Rock, AR – April 20, 2017) The following can be attributed to Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Nina Morrison who along with the ACLU represented Ledell Lee in seeking DNA testing prior to his execution this evening:

    “Ledell Lee proclaimed his innocence from the day of his arrest until the night of his execution twenty-four years later. During that time, hundreds of innocent people have been freed from our nation’s prisons and death rows by DNA evidence. It is hard to understand how the same government that uses DNA to prosecute crimes every day could execute Mr. Lee without allowing him a simple DNA test. [Emphasis added]

    “Arkansas’s decision to rush through the execution of Mr. Lee just because its supply of lethal drugs are expiring at the end of the month denied him the opportunity to conduct DNA testing that could have proven his innocence. While reasonable (sic) people can disagree on whether death is an appropriate form of punishment, no one should be executed when there is a possibility that person is innocent.

    “In a dissenting opinion denying Lee a stay issued today, Arkansas Supreme Court Judge Josephine Linker Hart made a powerful argument for why DNA testing was in the interest of justice. Justice Hart characterized Lee’s claim for DNA testing of hairs the state claimed linked Lee to the crime as a “modest request,” noting that the hair evidence had been used against him at trial and “tilted in the State’s favor a very weak case based entirely on circumstantial evidence.”

    “Judge Hart also emphasized the unfairness and arbitrariness of the Arkansas court’s grant of a stay to Stacey Johnson for DNA testing while denying one to Lee, adding, ‘I am at a loss to explain this Court’s dissimilar treatment of similarly situated litigants.’ Judge Hart concluded by stating, ‘The court’s error in denying the motion for stay will not be capable of correction.’ ”

    “As of October 2015, we (sic) have executed over 1,414 individuals in this country since 1976. 156 individuals have been exonerated from death row–that is, found to be innocent and released – since 1973. In other words, for every 10 people who have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in the U.S., one person has been set free.”
    http://www.ncadp.org/pages/innocence

    And, of course, these are the innocent people sentenced to death whom we so far know about.

    Speaking of putting down animals and running short of the drugs to do so, I wonder why the neanderthalic worthies running the US Domestic Death Machine haven’t thought to investigate the use of the reportedly highly effective canine euthanasia solution, Euthasol, a non-sterile solution containing pentobarbital sodium and phenytoin sodium as the active ingredients, which seems to be in plentiful supply.

    As a matter of fact, because so many physicians decline to participate in the wanton killing of helpless (and quite possibly innocent) human beings, based on their bleeding-heart interpretation of their Hippocratic Oath and perhaps their so-called “religious faith,” why not hire veterinarians of flexible conscience to push the plungers in the State Death Chambers? This would have the additional, symbolic, benefit of indicating how these probably guilty mad dogs are definitely viewed by the Guardians of Barbaric Law and Order and their lusting-for-revenge cheerleaders in the general populace.

  11. @desperatelyseekingsasquatch, April 22, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    “Blah blah blah”

    Thanks, Desperate Seeker, for once again evincing your awesome, three-blah intellectual (and humanitarian) bona fides.

  12. @desperatelyseekingsasquatch, April 22, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    “Blah blah blah”

    I should add, Desperate One, that although I speak neither Neanderthalic nor Sasquatchian blah, blah, blah, if you’re willing to teach me, I’m willing to learn.

    Shouldn’t take too long.

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