Last night on Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stated, "There are no good arguments to vote against Gorsuch, none whatsoever." Every time a Democrat opens his mouth to explain why he's trying to block Gorsuch, he proves McConnell's point. Here are five of the worst arguments against the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court:
1. Judge Gorsuch Isn't Mainstream
Senator Schumer, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says that Judge Gorsuch is out of the mainstream. Unfortunately, Senator Schumer, D-N.Y., must have forgotten to distribute that talking point to the rest of his team—a slip-up resulting in liberal doyenne Rachel Maddow pontificating embarrassingly off-script. And not just Maddow. Ari Melber, MSNBC's chief legal correspondent and scribe at left-wing weekly The Nation, also missed the memo.
To make matters worse, former Obama Solicitor General Neal Katyal took it upon himself to introduce the public to Judge Gorsuch in a glowing op-ed he wrote in the New York Times the very day he was nominated. Katyal also introduced him to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he praised the judge's dedication to the rule of law. And the American Bar Association, which is hardly dominated by conservatives, has given Judge Gorsuch its highest rating: "well-qualified."
2. Judge Gorsuch Was Hand-Picked by the Conservative Federalist Society
Liberals are back to conspiracy-theorizing about The Federalist Society, the networking and educational organization for conservative lawyers. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., went so far as to claim during the confirmation hearings that he could not question the organization about their spending in support of Judge Gorsuch's confirmation because, "I don't know who they are. It's just a front group."
Far from a secret society of dark-money interests, the Federalist Society is the largest organization of its kind in the country, hosting hundreds if not thousands of events every year for the benefit of lawyers, law students, and the public. Its members are anything but monolithic, and the organization regularly explores diverging points of view in sponsored debates.
The Federalist Society even provides a platform to its ideological opponents. In 2005, then-Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan earned a standing ovation from Federalist Society members when she shouted, "I love the Federalist Society!" According to one attendee, she credited the society for its contributions to the intellectual lives of American law schools and its commitment to open debate. In fact, it's so inclusive that all eight sitting members of the Supreme Court have addressed the group.
3. Judge Gorsuch Is a Hypocrite on Affirmative Action
Judge Gorsuch has never ruled directly on an affirmative-action case. Nevertheless, liberal law professor Richard Hasen took to the Washington Post to speculate that Judge Gorsuch is likely to be a hypocrite on the issue when it comes before the Supreme Court. Hasen outlines a list of petty grievances about Gorsuch. He notes, for example, that Justice White, who Gorsuch clerked for, liked to hire clerks from his home state of Colorado [gasp!] and pulled some strings for his young clerk to work for Justice Kennedy.
Aside from the fact that none of these is an example of affirmative action, they also happen to be incredibly weak examples of favoritism. Hasen's evidence that "people expect" Gorsuch to be a reliable vote against the constitutionality of affirmative action, by the way, consists of a link to a news story in which the only person who says that is...Richard Hasen.
4. Judge Gorsuch Is Not for the Little Guy
Liberal partisans have settled on a populist attack that Judge Gorsuch is not for the little guy. They cherry-pick a small number of his rulings in an effort to establish a pattern, arguing that he consistently sides with corporations instead of real people. But the idea that Judge Gorsuch is biased against the little guy is unfounded.
When Senator Feinstein attempted this line of attack during his confirmation hearings, Judge Gorsuch completely dismantled her argument, reciting a litany of cases in which he ruled against corporations and moneyed interests in favor of individuals (see more examples here). But he didn't stop there: he reminded her that his obligation is to be fair and impartial, and not to prejudge any case that comes before him. Judge Gorsuch knows that a commitment to the rule of law is the most valuable protection the little guy has ever known, as is evidenced by every society in which it does not exist.
5. Judge Gorsuch Is Too Legalistic
California's junior Democratic Senator Kamala Harris argued, "Judge Gorsuch has consistently valued narrow legalisms over real lives," and quotes Justice Thurgood Marshall, "You do what you think is right and let the law catch up." It certainly sounds like Senator Harris is arguing that she does not believe in the rule of law. What she's saying is that anyone fit for the office of judge is disqualified for it in her mind.
Judge Gorsuch is a strong nominee, respected by lawyers across the political spectrum. Most Democratic senators have decided to pretend otherwise at the behest of their base. That's why so much of what they're saying this week is embarrassing and baseless.
April Ponnuru (@AprilPonnuru) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is a senior adviser at the Conservative Reform Network. Previously she was an adviser to Jeb Bush's presidential campaign.
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