This morning I will testify at the confirmation hearing on the nomination of the Hon. Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court. The hearing will commence around 9 am at the hearing room of Hart 216. Ironically, it is the same room that I litigated much of the Porteous impeachment case before final arguments before the 100 Senators on the Senate floor. Below is my written testimony. Continue reading
Judge Neil Gorsuch is scheduled to complete the long and grueling questioning of his confirmation hearing today. Indeed, he may finish a bit early. Like past nominees, Gorsuch declined to discuss cases and said little about his positions on possible cases dealing with subjects like abortion. Nominees are trained to hit grounders in these hearing and avoid pitches in the corners or trying to put anything over the wall. He stayed with that strategy and the Democrats have made little progress in undermining his stellar record. I have two columns out today at USA Today and The Hill newspaper discussing different aspects of the nomination. I am scheduled to testify at the hearing on Thursday when they call expert witnesses. There remains one disturbing question, however, that needs to be addressed: is Judge Gorsuch anti-duck?
There is a highly disturbing case out of Idaho where a 14-year-old boy and his ellow Labrador retriever, Casey, were poisoned by a “cyanide bomb” planted by U.S. government. In a truly baffling act, the Wildlife Services of U.S. Department of Agriculture planted the device to kill coyotes, wolves, cougars, foxes and other animals considered nuisances for farmers and ranchers. It seems unbelievably reckless to me to place these devices near trails and farms, even with signs that might be missed in the dark or lost to weather conditions.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has released the schedule and witness list for confirmation hearing of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch for the United States Supreme Court. I have been called as a witness for the majority and will likely testify on Wednesday or Thursday. The hearings will begin on Monday. Questions for Judge Gorsuch will begin on Tuesday and likely continue into Wednesday.
Last night, U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson issued a
temporary restraining order that prevents the second immigration order of President Donald Trump from going into effect on Thursday. The 43-page opinion is scathing and relies not only on the statements of President Trump but the recent statements of his chief aide Stephen Miller. While I respectfully disagree with Judge Watson and view his decision as contrary to the weight of existing case law, the opinion again shows the perils of presidents and their aides speaking publicly about litigation. Political facing saving comments can be case legal damaging comments. Yet, I still believe that Judge Watson relied too much on campaign statements and television interviews to overcome the facial neutrality of the language of the executive order.
Below is my recent column about a type of new article of faith for lawyers in opposing President Donald Trump and his Administration. Here is the column:
The build up last night on MSNBC had my phone ringing off the hook. Rachel Maddow proclaimed “we’ve got the Trump returns.” It turned out to be just the 2005 filing. Well, not the 2005 filing, the first two pages. Worse yet, it turned out to be an entirely predictable tax return for a wealthy businessman with tons of deductibles. It seemed like the tax version of Al Capone’s safe with Geraldo Rivera. What was particularly odd is that MSNBC was “all in” — even after seeing that there was little there. Maddow led with a long list of things we want to know from Trump’s tax return. But none of those things were in the return. They lined up experts who seemed a lot like the “weather center” reporters the night before covering the major snow storm in D.C. Reporters literally showed a dusting on cars in parking lots and spoke breathlessly about the possible storm that never came. The tax experts were left in the same curious position — discussing what might have been shown. As a legal commentator, I bowed out. It was like being called as a seismologists to discuss an earthquake that never happened. It is certainly true that Trump and Melania paid is a rate of less than 4 percent on their personal income — $5.3 million. However, they paid an additional $31 million under the alternative minimum tax, or AMT. They used every loophole and tactic to reduce payments but those loopholes were legal and used by many in his tax bracket.
Having said that, the White House and others went too far in raising allegations of criminal conduct by Maddow and MSNBC in reporting on the story. There was also a return to the mantra of the “dishonest media.” There was nothing dishonest in publishing the return. It was clearly overplayed but it was not dishonest to cover the leak.