Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
U.S. | By Monique Johnson

Iowans Prepare for Monday's Supreme Court Justice Hearing

Iowans Prepare for Monday's Supreme Court Justice Hearing

As Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch prepares for his confirmation hearing next week, liberal groups in Missouri are coming out against him.

"It's always hard to say how a judge is going to affect the ideology of the Supreme Court", attorney Mark Champoux told Anne Trujillo on this week's Politics Unplugged. A recent survey showed that 91 percent of Democratic congressional staffers expect him to be confirmed, as Democratic senators have failed to find any salient items that would merit disqualification. Someone should ask Schumer whether it is ever acceptable for a judge to rule against a poor person and in favor of a large corporation?

Gorsuch could also face questioning over a legal question that hasn't received much mic time in the past - doctor-assisted suicide.

Colorado Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet will introduce Gorsuch when his confirmation hearing opens.

Senate President Mitch McConnell said the Senate would likely vote on Gorsuch's nomination the week before its April 8 recess.

As a judge on the Tenth Circuit, Gorsuch wrote a concurring opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that suggested employers would be "involved in the wrongdoing of others" if they complied with employment laws that prohibited certain types of discrimination in health care coverage.

As one observer put it: "When the Senate ceases to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues, the confirmation process takes on an air of vacuity and farce, and the Senate becomes incapable of either properly evaluating nominees or appropriately educating the public". Some have even held out the prospect of voting for a Trump nominee if he or she were more in the mold of Judge Garland.

Republicans now want a completely different standard for themselves, arguing Democrats should neither scrutinize Gorsuch's record nor oppose his nomination. Sure, activists will attempt to tar Gorsuch as anti-women, anti-worker, anti-this-that-and-the-other, but the mild-mannered originalist is anything but the cartoon Monopoly Man this caricature tries to paint.

Adopted by the high court in a 1984 case involving the Chevron oil company, the so-called Chevron doctrine says that when the law is ambiguous, judges should defer to federal agencies' interpretations of their own powers. During the presidential campaign Trump pledged to nominate a judge with traditionally conservative credentials on issues like abortion and gun rights.

With the United States divided sharply between liberals and conservatives, ideological dominance of the Supreme Court, where justices serve for life, is a blue-ribbon prize, with an impact that can last for decades.

But traditional Democratic big spenders, such as the super PAC Priorities USA and the advocacy network led by Democratic operative David Brock, have not spent any money on paid media to defeat Gorsuch, and as of Thursday they had no plans to. "The president made a brilliant choice with Judge Gorsuch". Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) of CT, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said a central question of the hearings would be whether Gorsuch passed Mr. Trump's "litmus test". Tobi Young, a former Gorsuch clerk now practicing law in Texas, said Gorsuch adhered to the tenet that "any judge who likes every conclusion he reaches is a bad judge".

Gary Marx, a senior adviser for the group, said the goal of taking people from Gorsuch's life around to newsrooms is to "talk about who the judge is as a man".

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