On Day 2, Judge Gorsuch ‘Showed Command Of The Law’

‘On A Day Mostly Devoid Of Drama,’ Judge Gorsuch ‘Took A Long Step Toward Senate Confirmation’ With ‘An Impressively Disciplined Performance’

“In a hearing that stretched through nearly 12 hours Tuesday, the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch took a long step toward Senate confirmation… [a] testament to Gorsuch's own temperament. He kept an even keel throughout the day, rarely betraying more than a hint of impatience or pique. He smiled a lot, made jokes about family and matched the mood of each of his interrogators…. By day's end there were surely those who had been charmed and won over...” (“Gorsuch Hearing For Top Court Lacks The High Drama Of Those In Recent Past,” NPR, 3/22/2017)

  • “Sitting at a small table, he turned to listen to each senator as they spoke, hour after hour, carefully writing notes before launching into his replies. The questions … never rattled him. He showed command of the law and pushed back if a senator tried to cut his answer short.” (“Neil Gorsuch's Sales Pitch: I'm My Own Judge,” CNN, 3/21/2017)

‘An Impressively Disciplined Performance’

“Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch came to the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday prepared to deliver a clear message: I'm a judge, not a politician. He stressed on several occasions that he is independent from the President who has appointed him, that as a judge he ‘doesn't give a whit’ about politics, and that he treats his plaintiffs fairly.” (“Neil Gorsuch's Sales Pitch: I'm My Own Judge,” CNN, 3/21/2017)

MSNBC’S CHRIS JANSING: “I would say that this was an impressively disciplined performance … A lot of Democrats said going into this, many of them among the 72 [senators] he met with personally, that he was extremely likeable, and you saw that…. So he is somebody who not only showed that he can sort of navigate these difficult questions, but do it very comfortably.” (MSNBC, 3/21/2017)

“Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch declared Tuesday he's made no promises to Donald Trump or anyone else about how he'll vote on abortion or other issues and testified he'll have no trouble as a justice holding anyone accountable, including the president who picked him.” (“No Promises And No One Above Law, Supreme Court Pick Says,” The Associated Press, 3/21/2017)

‘He Went Out Of His Way To Establish His Complete Independence From Any Administration

CNN’S GLORIA BORGER: “What was striking to me is Gorsuch maintaining his independence…. At every moment, at every juncture he could today, he went out of his way to establish his complete independence from any administration, including this one.” (CNN’s “Situation Room,” 3/21/2017)

“After more than 10 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, [Judge Neil] Gorsuch was prepared for how to respond to questions about judicial independence and how a judge should consider a decision outside his personal political ideology. ‘I go through it step by step and keeping an open mind through the entire process as best as I humanly can. And I leave all the other stuff at home, and I make a decision based on the facts and the law. Those are some of the things judicial independence means to me,’ he told [Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck] Grassley.” (“Gorsuch Promises Independence From Trump — And Steals Democrats’ Line Of Attack,” The Washington Post, 3/21/2017)

  • “Rarely has there been such a demand that a Supreme Court nominee declare his independence from the president who picked him … ‘Would you have any trouble ruling against a president who would appoint you?’ Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) directly asked Gorsuch in the first few minutes of the hearing. ‘That's a softball,’ Gorsuch responded. ‘I have no difficulty ruling against any party based on what the law and the facts of the particular case requires.’ … ‘No man is above the law,’ Gorsuch would go on to say several times.” (“4 Takeaways From Neil Gorsuch’s Highly Politicized Confirmation Hearing,” The Washington Post, 3/21/2017)

‘What Democrats Initially Viewed As An Opportunity To Hit The Nominee With Gotcha Questions Instead Allowed Gorsuch To Appear Even More Reasonable’

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): “…well, of course, he's very gifted. He has a great background and service as judge, he's very smooth and very folksy and personable in the witness chair.” (CNN, 3/22/17)

“[T]wo days into his multi-day confirmation hearing, Democrats seem to be coming up short in finding that overriding reason on which to hang their opposition to Gorsuch … [I]t felt like every time they went down that road of questioning, they hit a dead end -- specifically, they ran up against Gorsuch's insistent defense of his impartiality.” (“Senate Democrats’ Neil Gorsuch Dilemma,” The Washington Post, 3/22/2017)

“What Democrats initially viewed as an opportunity to hit the nominee with gotcha questions instead allowed Gorsuch to appear even more reasonable than he would have otherwise. The smooth performance seemed even to impress Republican supporters.” (“Gorsuch Promises Independence From Trump — And Steals Democrats’ Line Of Attack,” The Washington Post, 3/21/2017)

“Throughout the day, Democrats have failed to level any damaging blows on Gorsuch, leading Republicans to believe that the federal appellate judge will emerge from the confirmation hearing unscathed. And [Sen. Mazie] Hirono [D-HI] admitted that her party is struggling to build interest in the hearings.” (The Washington Post, 3/21/2017)

‘Democrats Seem Completely Stumped By Gorsuch’

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD’S JESSE WEGMAN: “The SJC Democrats seem completely stumped by Gorsuch. You’d think after decades of this game, they’d play it a little better.” (Jesse Wegman, @jessewegman, Twitter, 3/21/2017)

“‘If critics of Judge Gorsuch were looking for a seminal moment to cement the case against his confirmation, they didn't get it today,’ said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law.” (“Neil Gorsuch's Sales Pitch: I'm My Own Judge,” CNN, 3/21/2017)

GEORGETOWN LAW PROFESSOR RANDY BARNETT: “Fact that all networks have cut away from Gorsuch hearings suggests Dems are scoring no political points beyond their base.” (Randy Barnett, @RandyBarnett, Twitter, 3/21/2017)


Related Issues: Nominations, Supreme Court, Judicial Nominations