Conniving Supreme Court Gorsuch Backers Deserved Tough Tactics

 

The fight by Senate Democrats against President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch that concluded Friday has ripped the phony veneer off the court's non-political image and convoluted plots by conservatives to install their puppets to implement radical agendas.

Neil GorsuchGorsuch, 49, and shown in an official photo, received confirmation April 7 with a 54-45 vote. That was one of the slimmest margins in modern history — and he prevailed only because his backers discarded the Senate's traditional requirement of 60 votes.

But margins and traditions meant little to his backers in comparison to the decades of Gorsuch rulings they envision on the court to implement their agendas. High on the list of radical change for the nation's political structure via the courts is vastly reduced regulation of business and voting rights for Democratic-leaning populations, and the likely abolition of a constitutional right to abortion and other pivotal privacy rights.

As his backers well knew, that agenda energizes social conservatives but primarily serves the ultra-rich, including the unknown donors who contributed millions of dollars of dark money for pro-Gorsuch television ads touting his fairness. 

A Democratic base furious with Republican propaganda and conniving strategies surrounding the court roused Democratic senators into a rare use of their filibuster power in order to protest Gorsuch. Democrats had failed to invoke filibuster even to stop the scandal-plagued 1991 nomination of Clarence Thomas. The Senate confirmed Thomas to the court by a 52-48 margin despite the testimony of his former staffer Anita Hill claiming sexual harassment in nationally televised hearings. 

As wider context, most commentators have parroted the conventional wisdom: that the Democrats' strategy of opposing Gorsuch was doomed to failure on the vote count and also self-defeating longer term because opposing such a well-educated and well-spoken nominee as Gorsuch makes the Democrats seem overly partisan and otherwise diminishes their clout in a GOP-controlled Senate.

Our take is different: Democrats, Independents and indeed all Americans needed to see via this confirmation process that the Supreme Court, like much of the so-called justice system, is already highly partisan, especially when the stakes are high and insiders think they can get away with rigging the outcomes to provide a facade of fairness under the so-called "rule of law."

The Justice Integrity Project was founded to report flagrant Justice Department and similar courtroom abuses stemming from sophisticated officials like Gorsuch and his backers who abuse their authority to get ahead and/or provide favorable legal outcomes for their cronies and patrons. The project broadened its scope over time to document Democratic abuses in the Obama-Holder Justice Department and elsewhere in government corruption. As a personal initiative, this editor went on to research and write the 2013 book Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters.

The book showed how presidents are far more controlled by their backers than the public realizes. That truth extends also to Supreme Court justices like Gorsuch as we report today based on extensive research about hidden elements in the biographies, backers and jurisprudence of court personnel. 

In these ways, the analysis below stems from our mission. But we advise also that we have not seen it articulated widely elsewhere in such specific terms, at least by the senators weighing these two nominations. Decide for yourselves.

The Big Picture

Insiders already know that the "rule of law" at the Supreme Court level is in many ways a myth when the stakes get high, as in the 2000 Supreme Court vote in Bush v. Gore for the Republican majority in effect to award the presidency to their preferred candidate George W. Bush in a case they said had no precedential value for any future litigation — a clear tip-off that it was result-oriented jurisprudence that, among other benefits, would help relatives of three of the five justices prosper in political posts.

With many such outrages in the court's recent history and many more likely to come under the radical decision-making Gorsuch is poised to deliver, it's high time the rest of the public better understood the process. That's because so many vital interests are being sold out, both by the justices and by litigants -- including those from the Justice Department, which groomed Gorsuch like many others to pretend they are undertaking a noble mission that just happens to secure the future of themselves and their patrons.

President Trump, Judge Neil Gorsuch, wife Louise Gorsuch (NBC News)

The Gorsuch Nomination

President Trump promised during the campaign that he would pick Supreme Court nominees from a list of 21 candidates jointly prepared by the conservative Federalist Society and conservative Heritage Foundation (where billionaire financial backers from the Mercer Family hedge fund play a major role). In fact, Gorsuch (shown above with his wife and the president during his nomination announcement came from the list after serving as a loyal soldier for conservatives in their political battles for many years.

Donald Trump One Rose To Give Satirical photo

In announcing the nomination, Trump created special drama in the manner of his "Apprentice" television show by keeping his choice as a mystery until the formal announcement. Gorsuch played along with the spectacle, as did a another contender who disappeared from his Pittsburgh home on the evening of the announcement in order to confuse reporters and build suspense. One wag devised the adjoining graphic — modeled on the long-running TV reality show "The Bachelor" — mocks the showmanship that Trump and his players brought to the court announcement.

Neil Gorsuch has been since 2006 a federal judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Denver. He is the son of the late conservative activist Anne Gorsuch Burford, who served as the Reagan Administration's first Environmental Protection Agency administrator. Critics accused her of protecting polluters because of radical ideology and she refused to provide Congress records regarding alleged mismanagement of the $1.6 billion superfund program. She resigned after becoming the first agency head in U.S. history that Congress held in contempt.

Neil Gorsuch Kissinger Quotation at Columbia

During the younger Gorsuch's student years, he combined high academic achievement with a fiercely conservative viewpoint. He founded a "fascist" society at prep school. In college, as indicated by the adjoining write-up, for example, he quoted then-Harvard professor (and close Rockefeller advisor) Henry Kissinger as saying "The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer." Kissinger would become both revered and hated in different circles because his actions as President Nixon's National Security Advisor and later as Secretary of State. 

Gorsuch Backers

Gorsuch earned degrees at Harvard Law School and Oxford University before clerking for two U.S. Supreme Court justice and joining a the high-powered boutique law firm Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, where his clients including the billionaire billionaire Phil Anschutz, now one of the world's richest men.

Gorsuch's longtime political work for Republicans and his backing from Anshultz paid off in a Bush administration appointment for Gorsuch to join the Justice Department on the staff of Robert McCallum, the associate attorney general. McCallum, shown in a file photo, was a former roommate at Yale University of the future president Bush. McCallum also was a fellow member with Bush of the nation's most prestigious secret society, Skull and Bones, which is restricted to 15 members of new recruits who are drawn annually from Yale College's junior class. Skull and Bones, dating back nearly two centuries, is immensely important in the power centers of American life, as illustrated by the 2004 presidential election that pitted Bush against fellow member John Kerry, the Democratic nominee.

Gorsuch rose to become McCallum's principle deputy, with a portfolio heavily focused on an post-9/11 anti-terrorism activities.

That seems patriotic and otherwise impressive in summary. But the Justice Department at that time was also engaged in a wide range of dubious activities falling into his area.

These included a crackdown on civil liberties under the Patriot Act, plus vastly ramped up secret and arguably unconstitutional surveillance of the American public, plus vicious crackdowns on whistleblowers and attorneys seeking to enforce civil rights laws. News reports indicate that Gorsuch was assigned a supervisory role in all the "terror litigation" arising from the President's Global War on Terror. Among specifics that have been reported are defense of the extraordinary rendition of Khalid El-Masri, fighting the disclosure of Abu Ghraib torture and its prisoner abuse photographs, and inspection of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Gorsuch is reported to have helped Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (shown in an official photo) prepare for hearings after the public revelation of NSA warrantless surveillance.

More generally, this was the period preceding increased political prosecutions that led to the 2006 U.S. attorney firing scandal. In it, the Bush Justice Department fired seven (and some say more) Republican U.S. attorneys because they would not bring the kind of dubious cases desired by White House senior advisor Karl Rove and his fellow Bush loyalist Gonzales (shown in an official photo).

Alexander AcostaWe have documented here many times the abuses at the Justice Department during this era, including in the recent columns Did Trump Labor Pick Protect Trump, Rich Rapists, Tax Cheats, Crooked Bankers? (focused on the pending Senate confirmation vote for former Bush Justice Department official Alexander Acosta, shown in an official photo and Trump's nominee to become Labor Secretary. 

Similarly, the Bush Administration rewarded its Justice Department official Noel Hillman with a lifetime appointment to the federal bench after he led a remarkably abusive series of political prosecutions as head of the department's Public Integrity Section. We documented those problems and their continuation to the present in this column, Tainted Judge Grants Casino $10m As GOP Prepares To Pack Courts

Noel HillmanGorsuch prospered in this environment to the extent that President Bush nominated him to the federal appeals court in Denver in 2006, the same year Hillman (shown in an official photo) won his appointment to a Philadelphia-based appellate court. The Senate approved him in 2006 by a voice vote. He has since served on the bench, achieving prominence in conservative circles for opinions and presumed loyalty to conservative agendas if he advanced to the Supreme Court. 

Republicans praised Gorsuch in extreme terms during the confirmation hearing and expressed astonishment that Democrats would dare protest Republican stonewalling on President Obama's 2016 nomination to the court of U.S. District of Columbia Circuit Court Chief Judge Merrick Garland, who never received a hearing despite educational and other attainments comparable to Garland's.

A 'Stolen' Seat?

Merrick GarlandDemocrats, while protesting what they repeatedly called a "stolen" Supreme Court seat held by the GOP senate majority for a Republican following the February 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia, failed for the most part to identify scandal or much controversy in Garland's judicial decision-making. Garland is shown in an official photo.

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken did score points, however, by underscoring an elitist, anti-worker element in the nominee's opinions that was particularly dramatic when Gorsuch ruled against a truck driver's suit protesting his firing when he left his disabled truck at a roadside in minus 14 degree snowstorm after many hours of being marooned in the storm. 

Franken (shown in an official photo) said the driver risked freezing to death if he had remained in the truck, whereas Gorsuch's opinion merely described the situation as cold weather. Other allegations, including reported this week by Politico claiming that a section of a Gorsuch book constituted plagiarism of an uncredited law review article, seemed to make little impact.

Another telling moment for Democrats may well have been his denial that he had discussed with Trump the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision finding constitutional protection for the right to an abortion. Democrats seemed to take Gorsuch at his word that no such discussion had occurred.

But their skepticism at his overall presentations suggested that they considered the possibility that Gorsuch and his handlers were playing legalistic word games, and that Trump was confident via intermediaries (such as the Federalist Society and/or Heritage Foundation) that anyone so highly recommended by the right as Gorsuch would be a reliable vote to overturn abortion rights as payback for his backers.

This would be much as Clarence Thomas delivered a pivotal fifth vote in the Citizens United campaign finance decision, thereby rewarding the same right wing advocacy group that had paid for a vast television ad campaign urging support for the Thomas nomination in 1991 despite Anita Hill's accusations.  

Senate Confirmation Hearing

Gorsuch, who is tall, lean and attractive in conservative manner, repeatedly dodged hypothetical questions and responded with bromides about his respect for law and a non-partisan approach. These techniques to avoid controversy have served many judicial nominees well through the years, thereby enabling them to win maximum Senate support by avoiding predictions on hot-button issues.

U.S. Supreme Court Eight Members 2016

The 4-4 Democratic-Republican split on the court before the Gorsuch confirmation. He begins work April 17

The strong Democratic opposition to Gorsuch therefore surprised many observers. The Judiciary Committee chaired by Sen. Churck Grassley of Iowa (shown in a file photo) approved Gorsuch on a strict party-line vote of 11-9.

Charles Grassley R-IOBefore the full Senate, Gorsuch won preliminary approvals April 6 with a series of nearly party-line votes, with the key preliminary votes by 55-45 margins.

His backers included all of the Senate's 52 Republicans plus three Democrats from heavily Republican states. A fourth Democrat, Michael Bennet of Colorado, split his ballot on procedural votes, siding at times with fellow Democrats and other times with Republicans, but not voting for approval in the final tally. Bennet doubtless voted that way to defer to Gorsuch's Colorado supporters, especially the jurist's powerful Colorado-based patron Anschutz.

Why Democrats Fought

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne explained the unusual opposition in an April 6 column that serves as a must-read for those seeking to understand the Democratic opposition. In The Gorsuch filibuster is about far more than payback, Dionne wrote:

Why are Democrats filibustering Judge Neil Gorsuch? Because they’ve had enough with the politics of power-grabbing and bullying. At the root of this fight is a long-term conservative effort to dominate the Supreme Court and turn it to the political objectives of the right.

Dionne continued:

In 2010, Roberts and Alito voted with the 5-to-4 majority in Citizens United that overturned decades of law and precedent to widen the gates to big money in campaigns. Then, in 2013, they were integral to another 5-to-4 decision, Shelby County, that gutted the Voting Rights Act. Many Republican-controlled states rushed in with new laws, including voter ID requirements, that impeded access to the ballot by African Americans and other minorities.

You do not have to believe in conspiracies to see how Shelby County and Citizens United fit together. In tandem, they empowered the most privileged parts of our society and undercut the rights of those who had historically faced discrimination and exclusion. They also tilted the electoral playing field toward Republicans and the right.

Dionne's column provides rare insight why the Democrats fought so strongly on this issue. Still to be written is true investigative history of the recent and current Supreme Court. The advent of the Gorsuch era — perhaps extending for many decades thanks to his backers' strategic plan — should make such an investigation all the more important.

 

Contact the author Andrew Kreig
 

 

Gorsuch Nomination (Coverage in reverse chronological order)

U.S. Supreme Court BuildingRoll Call, Tense Senate Confirms Gorsuch to Supreme Court, Todd Ruger, April 7, 2017. The Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court justice on Friday on a mostly party-line vote, 54-45. Democrats Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana joined all Republicans present in voting to confirm. Republican Johnny Isakson of Georgia did not vote.
 

Washington Post, Immediate impact: Gorsuch could begin playing pivotal role on court starting next week, Robert Barnes, April 7, 2017. The new justice is likely to consider how voting rights should be protected and to weigh in on whether to expand the breadth of the Second Amendment. He may even cast the deciding vote in a major case on the separation of church and state. 

National Law Journal, Gorsuch's SCOTUS Vote Could Soon Prove Decisive on Many Cases, Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro, April 7, 2017. The final round of arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court this month will give soon-to-be Justice Neil Gorsuch opportunities to reveal how he would deal with a range of issues, including government support of religious institutions and requirements for securities and product liability claims.

Washington Post, The Gorsuch filibuster is about far more than payback, E.J. Dionne Jr., April 6, 2017. Why are Democrats filibustering
Judge Neil Gorsuch? Because they’ve had enough with the politics of power-grabbing and bullying. At the root of this fight is a long-term conservative effort to dominate the Supreme Court and turn it to the political objectives of the right.
 
This is thus about far more than retaliation, however understandable, for the Senate Republicans’ refusal to give even a hearing to Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the seat Gorsuch (shown in photo) would fill. Behind the current judicial struggle lies a series of highly politicized Supreme Court rulings.
 
It started with Bush v. Gore, when five conservative justices abruptly halted the recount of Florida’s ballots in the 2000 election and made George W. Bush president. The unsigned majority opinion unmasked (to use the word of the moment) the unprincipled and unmistakably results-oriented nature of the decision with this lovely little sentence: “Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.”
 
In 2010, Roberts and Alito voted with the 5-to-4 majority in Citizens United that overturned decades of law and precedent to widen the gates to big money in campaigns. Then, in 2013, they were integral to another 5-to-4 decision, Shelby County, that gutted the Voting Rights Act. Many Republican-controlled states rushed in with new laws, including voter ID requirements, that impeded access to the ballot by African Americans and other minorities.
 
You do not have to believe in conspiracies to see how Shelby County and Citizens United fit together. In tandem, they empowered the most privileged parts of our society and undercut the rights of those who had historically faced discrimination and exclusion. They also tilted the electoral playing field toward Republicans and the right. So let’s can all of these original-sin arguments about who started what and when in our struggles over the judiciary. From Bush v. Gore to Citizens United to Shelby County, it is the right wing that chose to thrust the court into the middle of electoral politics in an entirely unprecedented and hugely damaging way.
 

Obama took grief from many progressives who saw Garland as too moderate. Gorsuch, by contrast, passes all of his side’s litmus tests. During the campaign, Trump added Gorsuch to his roster of potential justices in response to lists from the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. There is nothing moderate about Gorsuch except his demeanor. The demand for a 60-vote threshold is really a plea that Republican presidents put forward choices who can win broad support by reflecting Garland-style restraint.

New York Times, How Senators Voted on the Gorsuch Filibuster and the Nuclear Option, Staff report, April 6, 2017. In a party-line vote, Republicans agreed Thursday to end the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees, passing the so-called nuclear option. The move came shortly after most Democrats filibustered the nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch (shown in an official photo) to the Supreme Court. A final confirmation vote is now set for as early as Friday evening. See how every Senator voted on the filibuster and the nuclear option.

Roll Call, Why McConnell Vowed to Preserve Minority’s Big Remaining Power, David Hawkings, April 6, 2017. After going ‘nuclear’ for Gorsuch, legislative filibuster not endangered. Senators have a ready rationale to forswear scorched earth tactics now that Republicans Mitchell_McConnellhave matched Democrats in exercising the “nuclear option” a single time. And for the rest of this Congress, they are actually on course to debate policy without further parliamentary warfare — because the power to create a 60-vote test for all bills and amendments will remain untouched.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (shown in photo) was vowing unilateral disarmament on the other half of the Senate’s agenda. So long as the Republicans are in charge and he’s in charge of the Republicans, he promised on Tuesday, there will be no change whatsoever to the legislative filibuster. 

Washington Post, Neil Gorsuch could help cement Republican majorities for a generation, James Hohmann, April 4, 2017. Once Neil Gorsuchconfirmed, the justice will be well-positioned to provide the decisive vote on a host of issues that might help the party keep a hold on power, or at least give it a leg up in future elections.

New York Times, Debate in Gorsuch Battle: Use Filibuster Now or Later? Charlie Savage, April 4, 2017. Deploying the filibuster now to stall the appointment of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch might please an energized liberal base, but Democrats could lose a weapon that would be more potent in a future Supreme Court fight.

Huffington Post, The Underrated Reason Republicans Will Regret The Nuclear Option, Christopher Kang (National Director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans), April 3, 2017. The Senate Rules provide a 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed, and it appears less and less likely that Neil Gorsuch will be able to meet that threshold. If he can’t, Senate Republicans will face a choice — and yes, it is their choice — as to whether they should unilaterally change the Senate Rules through the nuclear option, so that Supreme Court nominees can be confirmed with just a majority vote.

How will Senate Democrats respond to this historic power grab? If Democrats follow the Republican response in 2013, it will freeze the Senate for thousands of hours, preventing Republicans from advancing their agenda. In November 2013, Senate Democrats invoked the nuclear option to lower the confirmation threshold for lower court and executive branch nominees. In response, over the next 13 months, Republicans forced Democrats to file cloture on 154 nominees, and they forced 131 cloture votes. This was extraordinary.

To put these numbers in perspective, from 1949, when cloture could first be invoked on nominations, until November 2013, cloture had been filed on only 148 nominees, with cloture votes on only 91 nominees. (And this includes cloture filed on 80 Obama nominees, with 40 votes, prior to November 2013).

One reason Republicans forced so many cloture votes — even though the overwhelming majority of the nominees were not controversial — is that each time cloture is invoked, the Senate Rules require that the Senate expend a set amount of post-cloture time, during which no other business can be conducted, unless every Senator agrees to yield back that time. So the Republican response used hundreds and hundreds of hours, and Democrats lost this precious Senate floor time in which they could not advance their agenda.

The Standing Rules of the Senate require 30 hours of post-cloture debate on a matter. In other words, if Senate Democrats simply responded to the nuclear option in the same way that Republicans did in 2013—forcing cloture votes on 131 nominations — that would use nearly 4,000 hours of floor time.

Neil Gorsuch Kissinger Quotation at Columbia

President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's college yearbook portrait at Columbia University was illustrated with the quotation above attributed to President Nixon's Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Gorsuch, son of a Reagan cabinet member, founded and edited a conservative newspaper in college

USA Today, Fact check: No, Neil Gorsuch didn’t start a fascism club in high school, D'Angelo Gore, Feb. 9, 2017.

Q: Was Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court nominee, the president of a “Fascism Forever Club” in high school?

A: Despite what his 1985 yearbook says, Judge Neil Gorsuch did not start a “Fascism Forever Club” at Georgetown Preparatory School. As a joke, the Supreme Court nominee wrote that he founded the nonexistent club, according to his former student government adviser. “The club never existed,”said Stephen Ochs, a history teacher who also advised Gorsuch as a member of the student government. Ochs told us that Gorsuch listed the club in his yearbook profile as “an inside joke” between himself and some of his liberal classmates.

Daily Mail, Trump's Supreme Court pick Neil Gorusch founded and led club called 'Fascism Forever' against liberal faculty at his elite all-boys DC prep school, Alana Goodman, Feb. 2, 2017. Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch founded and led a student group called the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ at his elite high school, DailyMail.com can reveal. The club was set up to rally against the ‘left-wing tendencies’ of his professors while attending a Jesuit all-boys preparatory high school near Washington D.C.

Gorsuch founded the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ during his freshman year at Georgetown Preparatory, a now-$30,000-a-year private Jesuit school that is one of the most selective in the United States. He served as president until he graduated in 1985, according to his senior yearbook.

ProPublica, Fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Said to Have Been Investigating HHS Secretary Tom Price, Robert Faturechi, March 17, Preet Bharara2017. Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (shown in an official photo), who was removed from his post by the Trump administration last week, was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the president’s health secretary, according to a person familiar with the office.

Tom Price, head of the Department of Health and Human Services, came under scrutiny during his confirmation hearings for investments he made while serving in Congress. The Georgia lawmaker traded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shares in health-related companies, even as he voted on and sponsored legislation affecting the industry.

Price testified at the time that his trades were lawful and transparent. Democrats accused him of potentially using his office to enrich himself. One lawmaker called for an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, citing concerns Price could have violated the STOCK Act, a 2012 law signed by President Obama that clarified that members of Congress cannot use nonpublic information for profit and requires them to promptly disclose their trades. The investigation of Price’s trades by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which hasn’t been previously disclosed, was underway at the time of Bharara’s dismissal, said the person.

Washington Post, Fighting Gorsuch is hopeless. Democrats should do it anyway, Eugene Robinson, Feb. 2, 2017. ​Senate Democrats should use any and all means, including the filibuster, to block confirmation of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. They will almost surely fail. But sometimes you have to lose a battle to win a war.

This is purely about politics. Republicans hold the presidency, majorities in the House and Senate, 33 governorships and control of the legislatures in 32 states. If the Democratic Party is going to become relevant again outside of its coastal redoubts, it has to start winning some elections — and turning the other cheek on this court fight is not the way to begin.

President Trump, Judge Neil Gorsuch, wife Louise Gorsuch (NBC News)

President Trump announces Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, with his wife Louise Gorsuch (NBC News Photo)

NBC News, Trump Nominates Federal Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court, Pete Williams, Jan. 31 2017. President Donald Trump said Tuesday night that he will nominate Neil Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge in Denver, to succeed Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Gorsuch, who currently serves on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, was appointed in 2006 by George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate on a voice vote.

Trump made the announcement in a prime-time event from the East Room of the White House, after a day of speculation. The president called the power to nominate Supreme Court justices the most important one behind national defense. "Millions of voters said this was the single most important issue to them when they voted for me for president," Trump said. He said Gorsuch possesses "outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline."

A widely respected judge, he had the backing of two conservative legal groups that advised former President Barack Obama and included his name on a list of potential nominees.

Washington Post, Trump picks Neil Gorsuch, judge seen as similar to Scalia, for Supreme Court, Robert Barnes, Jan. 31 2017. Nominee is favorite of conservative legal establishment President Trump selected Colorado federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee on Tuesday, opting in the most important decision of his young presidency for a highly credentialed favorite of the conservative legal establishment to fill the opening created last year by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Gorsuch prevailed over the other finalist, Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, also a federal appeals court judge, and Trump announced the nomination at a televised prime-time event at the White House.

U.S. Supreme Court SealTrump broke tradition by entering the White House ceremony by himself, rather than alongside his nominee. He declared that after “the most transparent” judicial selection process in history, he had delivered on a campaign promise to “find the very best judge in America” for the court.

Gorsuch, 49, said he would strive to be independent and impartial, and that he would “follow the law” to its rightful outcome. A judge who personally agrees with the outcome of every case, Gorsuch said, is probably a “bad judge.”

Gorsuch and Hardiman, 51, emerged from a list of 21 as Trump’s most likely choices. A third person on the shortlist — U.S. Circuit Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of Alabama — saw his chances diminish as some Senate Republican leaders have said his confirmation would be difficult. By comparison, Gorsuch was confirmed a decade ago to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver on a voice vote.

Huffington Post, Donald Trump Is Treating His Supreme Court Decision Like ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ The two judges in the running are headed to the capital, Cristian Farias, In a move that should surprise no one, President Donald Trump is reportedly bringing the two expected finalists for Justice Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat to Washington to create a sense of intrigue ahead of Tuesday’s primetime reveal.

Donald Trump One Rose To Give Satirical photoOr “to build suspense,” as CNN’s Pamela Brown put it in her report on Tuesday. “This is all an extraordinary measure ... to keep the selection private ahead of tonight’s announcement,” Brown said of what increasingly looks like a piece of political theater. (One satirist compiled the photo entitled "He has only one rose to give.")

Finalists Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman ― both of whom are highly respected in conservative circles ― are either in Washington or en route for the 8 p.m. announcement, according to CNN. Trump has already said he’s made his choice. So is the purpose of this arrangement to give the president one last sit-down with the nominee just to make sure?

Under normal circumstances, a president’s choice for the Supreme Court is shrouded in secrecy. The chief executive meets with the candidates in the days leading up to the nomination and may not make a decision until moments before the announcement. But there’s no precedent for this kind of spectacle, and no apparent reason for bringing both candidates to town for the announcement. The White House has announced the event will be broadcast live on Facebook.

NBC News, Trump Nominates Federal Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court, Pete Williams, Jan. 31 2017. President Donald Trump said Tuesday night that he will nominate Neil Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge in Denver, to succeed Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Gorsuch, who currently serves on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, was appointed in 2006 by George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate on a voice vote.

 

Acosta & Hilman Nominations

Labor Department logoJustice Integrity Project, Did Trump Labor Pick Protect Trump, Rich Rapists, Tax Cheats, Crooked Bankers? Andrew Kreig, March 14, 2017. President Trump nominated as labor secretary last month a former federal prosecutor suspected of covering up multiple scandals, including the alleged rape of underage girls in 1994 by billionaire pervert Jeffrey Alexander AcostaEpstein and Trump, who was Epstein’s friend and neighbor.

Trump picked former Bush administration prosecutor R. Alexander Acosta Feb. 16 to lead the Labor Department despite his multiple legal controversies involving sex predators, corrupt bankers and billionaire tax cheats. Their crimes largely escaped prosecution from Acosta and his law enforcement colleagues.

Justice Integrity Project, Tainted Judge Grants Casino $10m As GOP Prepares To Pack Courts, Andrew Kreig, Jan. 1, 2017. A scandal-tainted GOP federal judge (shown in an official photo) ruled in December to strip a casino gambler of $10 million in winnings just as Republicans Noel Hillmanprepare to pack the courts in 2017 after blocking Obama appointments to the lifetime posts. The two developments underscore the mainstream media's reluctance to report in depth on judges and nominees except in the rarest of scandals.  

The Washington Post, for example, omitted any mention of New Jersey federal judge Noel Hillman's past in reporting about him on Dec. 20 in a story headlined Famed poker pro with ‘remarkable’ $9.6 million scheme has to pay it back, judge rules. That omission typifies the timid, superficial coverage that traditional newspapers and broadcasters accord to judges and nominees.