The Schumer Supreme Court nomination game
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., last Wednesday dragged out his feeble effort to block Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court. Ahead of today's confirmation hearing, he trotted out three people, representing supposed "victims" of Gorsuch's jurisprudence. He hoped to demonstrate that Gorsuch is hostile toward workers and cancer patients, and takes the side of "the powerful" and corporations against the "powerless" little guy.In Schumer's world "justice for all" does not include anyone but the "little guy." Nor does he even worry about the little guy when an oppressive government comes in to take over their property as it did in the Kelo case where liberal justices said the government could seize private property from individuals so the that the government could use for commercial purposes.
Never mind that in all three cases, one of which was decided unanimously by a three judge panel that included one of former President Bill Clinton's appointees, Gorsuch scrupulously applied the text of the laws as written by the Congress in which Schumer serves. Schumer just didn't like the outcomes or, to be more precise, he hopes the outcomes might be sufficiently tear-jerking that they can inflict damage on the judge's chances of confirmation. He feels pressure from his party's left wing to make a show of resistance against Gorsuch's nomination, which seems likely to be smooth sailing.
Schumer's disingenuous behavior is typical of his treatment of conservative judicial nominations. Fifteen years ago, under a previous Republican administration, he tried to create a religious litmus test for circuit court nominations, using the thinly coded phrase "deeply held personal beliefs" to justify a years-long filibuster against a number of well-qualified judges who deserved much better. Most of those nominees were confirmed when cooler heads prevailed.
But aside from his personal behavior, Schumer's attempt last week to impose the tyranny of anecdote on the judiciary evinces a hopelessly distorted and corrosive idea of what law is.