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No Gorsuch Thing
Author: BobR    Date: 03/23/2017 15:24:39

While the ongoing investigation into the tRump campaigns backroom dealings with Russia takes center stage, there are other goings-on within the marble walls and hallowed halls of the Capitol. The AHCA bill (tRumpCare) is sputtering along, ready to die as Republicans in both the House and the Senate avert their eyes from it's hideous deformity. They are split among those who think it doesn't cut enough and those who know how bad it will be for their constituents (including - gasp - Ted Cruz).

More importantly, though, are the confirmation hearings for potential Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch. While the majority of Americans (those who DIDN'T vote for tRump) are still angry about the Republican-controlled Senate's refusal to even have a hearing for President Obama's pick to replace Antonin Scalia, insult has been added to injury with the choice of Gorsuch, and the Senate moving forward with confirmation hearings. It's almost a shame that the hearings are coinciding with the Russia circus, because there are important points being discussed.

One of the main duties of a Supreme Court justice is to be the final arbiter of whether a law passes constitutional muster, and/or whether it's been applied in a manner that is both consistent and in keeping with the intentions of the law, however poorly written. This is where Gorsuch seems to be a poor fit, as two examples of his previous rulings show.

The first is his dissent on a ruling that favored a truck driver who sued to get his job back after being fired. The trucker was stuck in sub-zero temperatures with frozen brakes on his trailer, and his dispatcher told him to stay put, even though the heater was not working in the cab of the truck. He did so until he felt like his life was in danger, then disconnected the trailer, and drove his cab to safety. He was fired for this.

Anyone with any common sense would see that the driver was wronged by the company. Gorsuch, however, decided to parse the words of the law, rather than see the big picture:
Gorsuch said at his confirmation hearing Tuesday that his opinion may have been an "unkind" one, but that it got at "what my job is, and what it isn't."

[...]

Gorsuch had disagreed with the rest of panel, which ruled that the trucker was protected by a law the bars truck companies from firing drivers who refuse to operate their vehicles out of fears for their safety.

"The law as written said that he would be protected if he refused to operate and I think by any plain understanding he operated the vehicle," Gorsuch said Tuesday, when asked about the case. "My job isn't to write the law, Senator. It is to apply the law..."

The second ruling of his was actually overturned in principle by the SCOTUS while the hearing was occurring. That one involved the parent of a disabled child who sued the school district for failing to provide their child with an adequate education. Once again, Gorsuch parsed the language of the law in a way that contradicted its overall intent:
The unanimous decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District expanded the obligations of public-school districts to provide an adequate education to disabled students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts rejected a standard that Gorsuch had used to decide a similar case in 2008, Thompson School District v. Luke P.

Gorsuch wrote then that the Colorado school district must provide an autistic elementary school student with an education that provides “merely more than de minimis” progress every year — a phrase that means better than no progress. Wednesday’s decision in the Endrew case — which Gorsuch was not involved in but that involved the same reading of IDEA — held that “merely more than de minimis” was not the correct standard.

“When all is said and done, a student offered an education program offering ‘merely more than de minimis’ progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all,” Roberts wrote. “The IDEA demands more.”

Some may point out that the case handled by the SCOTUS was not the one that Gorsuch ruled on - but the ruling that was overturned was the same as Gorsuch's. This shows that every member of the SCOTUS disagrees with how Gorsuch ruled.

It is all bad enough that Democrats in the Senate have vowed to filibuster his appointment. Considering a SCOTUS justice appointment lasts a lifetime, here's hoping they succeed.


 

 
 

52 comments (Latest Comment: 03/24/2017 02:08:07 by Raine)
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