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Old 03-20-2017, 10:38 AM  
Cochise Cochise is offline
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The case for Democrats' not opposing Gorsuch

The case for Democrats' not opposing Gorsuch

I worked to block Robert Bork and regret it because his defeat politicized the process. Now, there's no valid reason to block Gorsuch and a peace offering might benefit all.

By James Robertson MARCH 17, 2017



In the summer of 1987, I led a team of young lawyers to oppose President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. Our work, which today would be called opposition research, found its way into the devastating confirmation hearing testimony of Erwin Griswold, the former Harvard Law School dean who had been Bork’s predecessor as solicitor general.

I do not claim that the work of my little team had any real impact on the Senate’s 58-to-42 vote rejecting Bork’s nomination. Griswold was only one in a parade of powerful anti-Bork witnesses, and Bork’s arrogance and tin ear for politics were his own worst enemies. As distasteful as the battle was, the end — the successful nomination of Anthony Kennedy after Bork’s defeat — seemed to justify the means.

Nevertheless, I regret my part in what I now regard as a terrible political mistake. While the nation did wind up with a much more acceptable choice, the treatment of Bork touched off a Thirty Years’ War on judicial appointments. We have politicized the judicial confirmation process far beyond historical norms and undermined public confidence in the judiciary. It’s time for a truce.

Judge Neil Gorsuch is superbly well-prepared and well-qualified to serve as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. There is no real dispute about that. Nevertheless, it seems that anti-Gorsuch forces are girding their loins for battle. “Poor Gorsuch,” they will say. “We’re going to do the best we can to defeat your nomination — but it’s not about you.”

Just what is it about, then?

The first answer is: “We don’t like the decisions we are afraid he will make.” Anyone with a basic understanding of how judges make decisions rejects that simplistic argument out of hand. Teams of young lawyers are certainly doing opposition research on Gorsuch today just as we did 30 years ago, but they have found nothing disqualifying yet and (I predict) will fail to do so.

Does his record support the label “extremist”? Certainly not. “Ideologue”? No. “Conservative”? Yes, of course — but elections do have consequences. Gorsuch has declined and will continue to decline to answer questions about how he would decide any issue that might come before him — not only because he is ethically bound to do so, but also because, until he reads the briefs and hears the arguments, he doesn’t know. Neither does anyone else.

Another common reason to oppose Gorsuch: “The Democratic base demands it.” That answer gives new meaning to the term “leading from behind.” It assumes that this “base” is a rabid, unthinking multitude of sans-culottes who must be obeyed. But the real base that Democrats need to find and cultivate is voters who can distinguish outrageous actions from responsible ones.

Democrats should want leadership from the front, not mindless obedience to those whose only position is opposition. Responsible leaders should be explaining the function of the third branch in the U.S. constitutional system, the importance of judicial independence and the danger of a politicized judiciary. A base that understands those things will support the prompt and uncomplicated confirmation of Gorsuch.

The final reason for opposition — and for many Democrats the most powerful one — is really schoolyard talk: “Because you did it to Merrick Garland.” Set aside for a moment the obvious retort from Republicans — that is, “We did it to Garland because we had the votes, and you don’t” — and consider instead where the argument goes from there. It goes on and on and on. We will struggle without end, each obstructionist act lacking any better reason than the most recent insult. This is the Hatfields and McCoys. The Jets and Sharks.

Are there no statesmen in politics today? No game theorists? It is true that Democrats would not receive many points for making a cooperative move that can be coerced anyway, but (as the Harry Reids and Mitch McConnells of this world love to remind one another) there will be another election, and what goes around comes around. A peace offering, plainly labeled as such, just might lead to something that is better for the country than mindless, vindictive tit for tat. What do the Democrats have to lose?


James Robertson is a retired U.S. district judge for the District of Columbia. He wrote this article for the Washington Post.


http://www.startribune.com/the-case-...uch/416474923/
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:52 AM   #2
Prison Bitch Prison Bitch is offline
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They'll oppose him lockstep. They always have. They threw fits over Alito and Roberts. Dems always act like this during confirmations because their base is crazy and needs to be constantly massaged


A few red state Dems like Tester or Heitkamp may break, but it'll be a lot of Chuck Schumer gravely telling Americans how "concerned" he is. And Franken shaking his head at the "extreme" views
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:59 AM   #3
Cochise Cochise is offline
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Originally Posted by Prison Bitch View Post
They'll oppose him lockstep. They always have. They threw fits over Alito and Roberts. Dems always act like this during confirmations because their base is crazy and needs to be constantly massaged
Well, I agree, but as the author states:

Quote:

That answer gives new meaning to the term “leading from behind.” It assumes that this “base” is a rabid, unthinking multitude of sans-culottes who must be obeyed. But the real base that Democrats need to find and cultivate is voters who can distinguish outrageous actions from responsible ones.
I think his only mistake is believing that this 'real base' exists. I'm not sure it does.
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:04 AM   #4
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http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2...XhJ/story.html
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:22 AM   #5
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He regrets blocking Robert Bork. The guy three levels down in the Justice Department that Nixon finally found to fire the Watergate Special Prosecutor.

Ok. Sure.
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:24 AM   #6
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They will look the ass. Shumer will stand and read another statement, they will send out a few loons like Warren.
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:24 AM   #7
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I think it's unfortunate that the Republicans refused to hold confirmation hearings last year for Merrick Garland, as I think he would have made a fine SC Justice. It was a completely political process. I suppose that shouldn't be surprising since this IS politics, by definition, but I think the country is worse off because of the politicization of this process.

That's all water under the bridge now. I don't claim to really know anything about Neil Gorsuch, but what I've read indicates that he would be a solid pick for the SC. The Democrats need to go ahead and confirm him sooner rather than later. Opposing this nomination would be a pointless act of political grandstanding.
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:25 AM   #8
Trolly McTrollson Trolly McTrollson is offline
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I like Gorsuch, but it would be inappropriate to hold a hearing in the middle of an election.
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:59 AM   #9
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Prison Bitch View Post
Oh gee, I'm shocked that Elizabeth Warren is triggered
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:18 PM   #11
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Oh gee, I'm shocked that Elizabeth Warren is triggered
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trolly McTrollson View Post
I like Gorsuch, but it would be inappropriate to hold a hearing in the middle of an election.
What election are you referring to?
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Old 03-20-2017, 02:39 PM   #13
Trolly McTrollson Trolly McTrollson is offline
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What election are you referring to?
Trump has already filed for the 2020 campaign.
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Old 03-20-2017, 02:44 PM   #14
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I like Gorsuch, but it would be inappropriate to hold a hearing in the middle of an election.
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:04 PM   #15
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You realize Biden did the same thing in 08. A thing the dems really avoid bringing up when bitching about Garland.
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