It has been amusing, satisfying, pleasing to watch a little bit of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justice nominee Neil Gorsuch, because the man really is coming across as Jimmy Stewart — calm, kind, mannerly, brilliant, untrickable, and committed. And the Democrats on the committee have been reduced to simply reading questions, obviously written for them by their staff. I swear. I watched Senator Dianne Feinstein; I don’t think she understood half of what she was asking.
She’s mentioning all these Supreme Court precedents, and then she would ask whatever question it was, and Gorsuch would have an answer. For example, they’re asking political questions. “Um, y’know, President Bush tortured and President Trump has said that he likes torture and he thinks torture works.” And Gorsuch said, “Well, Senator, the law of our land currently proscribes of use of torture.” (stammering) “Y-y-yeah, I know, but — but do you think Trump’s right? Did — did — did — did — did you have to promise Trump anything? Did you have to promise anything before you were picked?”
“I didn’t speak to President Trump before I was chosen.” “Well, what about the circuit? What did the circuit…? Did you promise anybody?” “No, Senator, I was not asked anything prior to being selected to be on the circuit, appellate court, or the Supreme Court.” “What do you think about…? What do you think about Plessy v. Ferguson and the precedent of stare decisis?” “Senator, the law is my client. I do not do what you do. We on courts do not do what you do. We judges are not equipped to do what you do. We simply follow the law.”
“Okay. Okay. Fine. Uh, well, then let me ask you this…” So they’d ask another question, and Gorsuch would just knock it out of the park with brilliant simplicity — just common-sense, obviously brilliant legal simplicity. “Well, okay. All right. Let me ask you this…” Back to their page where the staffer had written the question and read the next one. And Gorsuch would laugh and smile, “Thank you, Senator! (chuckles) That reminds me of a story when I was,” blah, blah. He starts telling a story that led him to a particular life belief or legal belief or some such thing.
And these senators are so used to intimidating, like making Alito’s wife cry. They are so used to intimidating these nominees and forcing them to promise that they will not rule in certain ways, and Gorsuch isn’t getting even close to giving them what they want, and the answers that he’s giving are unassailable. They don’t know what to do with it ’cause I frankly don’t think… Now, I haven’t seen all these. I’ve just seen Leahy and Feinstein, so I haven’t seen them all. Like, Senator Durbin is now taking his turn, and again it’s during the program, so I’m unable to follow that.