Regarding the March 21 front-page article “Gorsuch faces partisan divide as hearing opens”:
Elections have consequences, and barring new disclosures, Judge Neil Gorsuch looks like a reasonable choice from Republicans to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, even if in the long run he and the Republicans do damage to our country. But elections should not wipe away the Republicans’ dereliction of duty and further politicization of our judiciary in their failure to approve Judge Merrick Garland, particularly since then-President Barack Obama was careful to nominate a moderate to encourage bipartisan support.
Democrats should boycott voting for Mr. Gorsuch until Republicans agree to give Mr. Garland the consideration he deserves.
Richard Dine, Silver Spring
The March 23 editorial “A supreme compromise” suggested that the best path forward for the Senate was to “strike a deal that would preserve the filibuster for the minority party in the case of future nominees while providing for an up-or-down vote on Mr. Gorsuch’s confirmation.” This is ludicrous. It rewards the unconscionable behavior of the Republicans, who refused even to hold hearings on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, and who suggested they would not vote to confirm any candidate proposed by Hillary Clinton had she won the presidency.
There is no reason to believe that Senate Republicans, who have shown themselves willing to blow up all norms of political behavior, would uphold a “deal” with the Democrats when the next extremist Supreme Court candidate came around. Democrats cannot continue to bring reason, and principled adherence to norms that Republicans have long since abandoned, to a political gun fight. The Democrats should filibuster Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination and any future candidate who is not a consensus choice. If this triggers the “nuclear option,” so be it.
Christine Adams, Waldorf
The March 18 front-page article “Rulings hint at Gorsuch’s leanings” mentioned a truck driver who was fired when he chose to go for help after being stranded alone and without heat for hours in subzero weather. It should also have mentioned the parents whose 22-year-old son was hit in the head with a stun gun and killed by a police officer after a chase, in violation of the officer’s training. And the family of a mine worker who was electrocuted after his employer failed to give him the adequate safety training given to other workers. And the father attempting to defend his disabled child’s right to an adequate education in a public school.
In each of these cases, Judge Neil Gorsuch tried, sometimes successfully, to slam the courthouse door in the faces of everyday Americans who turned to our third branch of government to protect their rights and stand up to abuse.
Mr. Gorsuch has, by all accounts, a sharp intellect and a friendly demeanor. But in his decade on the bench, he has left a trail of harmed and hurting Americans in his wake.
Michael Keegan, Washington
The writer is president
of People for the American Way.
Dana Milbank criticized Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch as a “folksy sycophant” [“Leave it to Neil,” op-ed, March 22]. Mr. Milbank described Mr. Gorsuch’s personality and personal style as similar to those of Eddie Haskell, the two-faced flatterer from the “Leave it to Beaver” television series. Mr. Milbank offered no evidence of duplicity on Mr. Gorsuch’s part but noted that Mr. Gorsuch used the word “goodness” a lot as an exclamation. What is he supposed to do, curse during his testimony?
Coastal elites look down their noses at anyone who doesn’t march lock step with their preferred policies and lifestyle. That attitude really helped Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, didn’t it?
Rod Coffey, Arnold
After listening to several days of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questioning of Judge Neil Gorsuch, I feel obliged to ask my law school for a refund. I spent thousands of dollars to learn about the intricacies of applying law to facts in fashioning a legal argument. Listening to senators and an appellate judge extol the virtue of adhering to precedent, one would reasonably conclude that most fact patterns are identical, and finding applicable precedent a simple matter of reading the law. If that were true, we could indeed rely on algorithms to mine case law and apply the law.
In reality, however, the facts of a case rarely fit nicely into precedent. In fact, no two cases are exactly alike, and when the facts of a case fit into a particular precedent, there’s not much for lawyers to dispute or judges to decide. Reading any given case gives a clear understanding that a controversy may require a judge to wade through dozens of precedents in making a decision. Not surprisingly, judges applying the same precedents come to conflicting conclusions in the circuit courts; that’s how disputes get to the Supreme Court.
And that’s why all dedicated judges do not rule the same way. If I’m wrong about this, I think my law school owes me money.
By the way, is Dred Scott still good precedent, Mr. Gorsuch?
Robert Honig, Potomac