Democratic Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee seem focused on painting Neil Gorsuch as an enemy of the poor, the blue collar working class, racial minorities, the LGBT community, and whatever other groups go on the list these days.
Dianne Feinstein, the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, demonstrated this line of attack on Tuesday when she asked Judge Gorsuch. “I am looking for something that would indicate you would give a worker a fair shot.”
“I have not seen that the rights of minorities are a priority for you,” Senator Mazie Hirono (D – HI) said in her opening statement to Judge Gorsuch.
Al Franken, in one of the more memorable exchanges on Tuesday, called Gorsuch’s ruling in the “Frozen Trucker” case “absurd,” and cited it as an example of Gorsuch picking big business over the little man.
These are just three examples from Democratic senators on the Senate Judicial Committee, but I could cite many more examples from other Democratic lawmakers and interest groups in the lead up to Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings.
Each attack is focused not on the law involved, but on the identity of the party who happened to lose a case.
It didn’t matter that in over 2,000 decisions since taking the bench, Gorsuch has neutrally and consistently applied the law to every litigant who has come before him. What mattered to Senators Feinstein and Hirono was the identity of those litigants, and that he had often ruled for evil corporations instead of voting lockstep with certain constituencies.
It didn’t matter to Senator Franken that the “Frozen Trucker” case required Gorsuch to faithfully apply a federal law, even if the Judge didn’t like the ultimate conclusion. In his dissenting opinion, Gorsuch wrote, “It might be fair to ask whether TransAm’s decision was a wise or kind one. But it’s not our job to answer questions like that. Our only task is to decide whether the decision was an illegal one.”
The Left has embraced a form of justice that is entirely ends-based. When Al Franken sees a case between a trucker and his employer he’s already picking a winner and a loser. When Dianne Feinstein reads a case where a corporation is challenging the provisions of democrat-drafted health law, she’s already picking a favorite. When Senator Hirono sees a minority plaintiff versus a white defendant, she’s taking her pen out to keep score.
The Left is so immersed in identity politics, justice is no longer allowed to be blind.
President Obama said as much when he claimed empathy was among the most important characteristics he looked for in a prospective Supreme Court Justice. “I view the quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.” A worthy sentiment for a legislator or executive, directly elected by the people to draft and execute laws, but not for a judge.
For a Judge to consider one party’s background, gender, race, employment status, or any other distinction the Left wants to make, violates the rule of law.
The rule of law says that judicial decisions must not be made arbitrarily. The law should be applied equally, predictably, and consistently to everyone, regardless of any trait they many have.
In the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, which John Adams drafted, he codified that “it is essential to the preservation of the rights of every individual, his life, liberty, property and character, that there be an impartial interpretation of the laws, and administration of justice. It is the right of every citizen to be tried by judges as free, impartial and independent as the lot of humanity will admit.”
Or, as Adams more famously said, we are to “have a government of laws, not of men.”
This is exactly the kind of Judge that Neil Gorsuch, by all accounts, has attempted to be during his last ten years. One day, when Justice Neil Gorsuch follows the rule of law and perhaps rules with the new cause du jour of the Left, we will know that it’s a legitimate opinion based on the law, and not arbitrarily imposed by some empathetic super-legislator who found his way onto the bench.