Yesterday, Judge Neil Gorsuch began his Senate confirmation hearing. Ahead of the hearing, Democrats planned to make the case that Judge Gorsuch is a pro-business, social conservative insufficiently independent of 45 (as reported by Reuters). There is a reaspon he is called "Scalia 2.0," and proud of it.
WHAT'S HIS DEAL, AGAIN?
Judge Gorsuch is an appeals court judge from Colorado. He attended Harvard Law School, and clerked for two Supreme Court justices. I don't care what side of the aisle you're on -- that's pretty impressive. Good ol' W. appointed Gorsuch to the US Court of Appeals in 2006.
WHAT ARE HIS OPINIONS?
- Religious Freedom: He is best known for siding with religious employers seeking to limit access to birth control coverage for their employees in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius. This very expansive ruling declared that some corporations are people, and therefore have a right to deny healthcare coverage if it violates their (the corporation's) religious belief. Not that I go to church except when forced, but it's been awhile (as in never) since I've sat with a corporation in the pews. I didn't even realize they could "sit."
- Marriage and Gender Equality: Gorsuch has referred to marriage equality as part of the liberal social agenda and joined a ruling against an imprisoned transgender woman who was denied access to hormone therapy. The claim in Druley v. Patton, et al. was dismissed, thus denying that limiting her access to hormone therapy was cruel and unusual punishment.
- Federalism: A member of the Federalist Society, Gorsuch believes that the Chevron doctrine -- which holes that courts should defer to agencies when the law authorizing a regulation is ambiguous -- doesn't align with the framers' design of the Constitution. If overturned, there would be a significant shift in power from an elected branch of government (executive) to the judiciary. If this were to occur, it would matter even more which party controls the Supreme Court.
- Criminal Justice: Judge Gorsuch has repeatedly failed to hold government officials accountable for improper actions in obtaining search warrants and carrying out searches, and he is repeatedly dismissive of the constitutional rights of the accused.