Neil Gorsuch spent his confirmation hearings refusing to answer questions about nearly any aspect of case law, arguing that it would have been presumptive for him to do so. After his startlingly humiliating performance during his first day on the bench yesterday, it’s possible his earlier reticence to answer the Senators’ questions was because he didn’t understand them. As it turns out, Gorsuch is a simpleton with almost childlike understanding of the law – and the existing Justices on both sides of the spectrum already seem to have concluded he’s an idiot.
Even as the other Supreme Court Justices were trying to decipher a series of complex and interlocking statutes that were in conflict with each other, NPR reports that Neil Gorsuch kept merely saying things like it would be “a lot easier if we just follow the text of the statute” (link). Even the arguably most conservative existing Justice, Samuel Alito, pushed back against Gorsuch by pointing out that “This is unbelievably complicated.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor, an outspoken liberal, agreed.
But Gorsuch kept suggesting they simply follow the “plain language” and didn’t seem to understand that there was no way to do so, because the court had to decide which of the conflicting statutes overruled the other. This is a remarkable turn of events. The late Antonin Scalia was such a conservative extremist that no one with a soul could understand the moral basis for his positions. But he had the intellect to make sophisticated arguments in support of his amoral stances. And now he’s been replaced by Neil Gorsuch who, despite being roughly as conservative, appears to have only a small fraction of the intellect or depth.
And yet the Republicans in the Senate essentially cheated just to ram Neil Gorsuch through confirmation hearings – and they were only able to get away with it because the major media outlets treated the shallow, vapid, and poorly spoken Gorsuch as if he were a reasonable choice. Donald Trump may have set the bar so low with his consistently incompetent and often deranged behavior that his choice of Gorsuch came across as reasonable by comparison, simply because Gorsuch wasn’t visibly deranged himself.
But his confirmation hearings proved him to be wholly unqualified for the Supreme Court, and probably unqualified for the lower judge position that he already held. Because the Republicans have a majority in the Senate, and because the media failed to do its job, the Supreme Court will spend the next thirty years saddled with a new Justice who’s such a waste of a seat that it’s taken him all of one day to earn equally outspoken scorn from far smarter Justices on the left and right of the spectrum. And to think we could have had Merrick Garland instead. Contribute to Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report