Senate Democrats came loaded for bear to the second day of Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch. They walked out with egg on their faces.
It became a familiar formula. Democrats would try to ambush Gorsuch on issues that matter to their base such as Roe v. Wade and the Citizens United decision, and Gorsuch would handily deflect their attacks.
First up, they attacked him on abortion. California Senator Dianne Feinstein asked Gorsuch whether Roe v. Wade should be overturned. “Once a case is settled, that adds to the determinacy of the law,” Gorsuch told Feinstein, according to Fox News. “What was once a hotly contested issue is no longer a hotly contested issue. We move forward.” Gorsuch even went on to describe Roe v. Wade as a “super precedent.”
The next issue Democrats tried to trip him up on was gay rights, with Illinois Senator Dick Durbin attempting to pigeonhole Gorsuch as an anti-gay bigot. From The Guardian:
“What about LGBTQ individuals?” Durbin asked.
Gorsuch replied: “What about them?”
He continued: “I’ve tried to treat each case and each person as a person, not a this-kind-of-person, not a that-kind-of-person. A person.” Without giving his own thoughts on the court’s ruling, Gorsuch noted that the supreme court already “has held that single-sex marriage is protected by the constitution”.
Democrats were still not done embarrassing themselves. Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse grilled Gorsuch on the Citizens United campaign finance decision and Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy pressed him on Trump’s travel ban and the Voting Rights Act. But Gorsuch wasn’t to be pinned down. He emphasized repeatedly that he’d ruled according to the law and deftly avoided political and policy concerns.
The only senator to land a shot was Minnesota’s Al Franken, who hit Gorsuch on his dissent in a decision that’s been nicknamed the “frozen trucker case.” A driver was fired after unhitching his truck from his trailer whose brakes were frozen in below-zero temperatures. Gorsuch was the only judge to uphold the firing, which led Franken to paint him as heartless.
However, the rest of Franken’s fellow Democrats fell short. They used tired partisan talking points and Gorsuch ably rebutted them.
Only a filibuster will stop a Gorsuch confirmation at this point.
Should Gorsuch be confirmed? He should be, if his hearing is any indication. A president should have his choice of appointments, unless an appointee proves himself to be unqualified. Gorsuch has demonstrated he’ll be able to handle the job of Supreme Court justice.
As for the Democrats, they’ve failed to railroad yet another Trump nominee. What else is new?