There is a lot of talk about Neil Gorsuch’s performance at the hearing about is nomination. A few of the Democrats have tried to hold his feet to the fire over some of his rulings, but the rest seem to be rolling over. Even those who try to hold him accountable, don’t always ask the correct questions.
For me, there is one huge red flag flying over the Gorsuch camp. This red flag is typical retorts from conservatives, especially when it comes to the Supreme Court. That one retort is simply that judges, even Supreme Court Justices, are merely rubber stamps for whatever a law says.
As an example, Sen. Durbin brought up a case about a truck driver whose case came before Gorsuch. Here is a brief explanation of the case. This truck driver was forced to pull his truck over because his breaks froze. As a result, he could not drive the truck because it was considered an unsafe vehicle.
The driver’s dispatcher told him to move the truck, but he said he couldn’t because the brakes would not work properly because the brakes were frozen and couldn’t stop the tuck with the trailer properly. The dispatcher told him to stay put until help arrived. The truck, for reasons I don’t know, did not have any heat in the cab. The temperature was about minus 14 degrees.
After waiting for sever hours without help arriving, the driver was near freezing to death. He then got out, unhitched his trailer and drove the truck to a place to get it fixed and warm up. The company fired the truck driver for “operating an unsafe vehicle”.
Seven different courts sided with the truck driver citing his safety and desire to stay alive. Then the case got to Judge Gorsuch’s court. He ruled in favor of the truck company and the driver lost his job. According to Durbin, he is still without a job and seems to be blackballed from driving again.
During the hearing, Gorsuch said he “felt for the driver” but the law was the law. The driver drove what was considered “an unsafe vehicle” and therefore he should have lost his job. He even went so far as to tell Congress that if they don’t like the results they should change the law. “I was merely adjudicating the law as it was written”. However, judges do have the right, and the responsibility to say when a law is unjust and not adjudicate is as it is written.
In this case, the driver had two choices. Take a chance and get the cab somewhere he could get it fixed and save his life, or simply sit still and freeze to death. Gorsuch says that he should have sat still and froze to death. This a very real case that proves that extenuating circumstances should have ruled the day and not just the letter of the law. Gorsuch, once again placed the company’s interests in front of the person involved.
Gorsuch also said that the same-sex marriage situation is “settled law”. But, he would not say the same thing about Roe v. Wade. If you are wondering why, just look at his stance on the so-called “Freedom of Religion” laws he favors. The ones that allow companies to discriminate against LGBTQ people based on “religious beliefs”.
If anyone would ask me, I would have suggested a few questions for Mr. Gorsuch that would not involve any cases of the past giving him an out. But, they would let everyone know exactly where he would stand if these kinds of cases came before him at any level.
These questions would be something like this: Do you believe that there are two different types of laws, one type being secular which rules civil society and one type being religious law that rules religious beliefs? Do you believe that religious law should be considered when making secular law? If, yes which religion’s or religious sect’s religious laws should be considered? Do you believe that religious law should take precedence over secular law in civil matters?
Those questions would unmask anyone’s beliefs on issues like Roe v. Wade. Let me explain. I believe that civil society is ruled by secular law. In a country like ours that offers freedom of religion, secular law must be the law of the land.
Religious law should never be considered when making secular law. If you really believe in freedom of religion, then it would be impossible to say one religion’s laws should be considered and another’s religious laws should not.
Religious laws should never take precedence over secular law in a civil society that claims to be open and free. If someone believes their religious laws take precedence over secular laws in civil society, you know where they stand on a myriad of issues.
The case of Roe v. Wade is a case of secular law v. religious law. The entire case hinges on the definition of life and when it begins. Religious law, especially with Catholics and Evangelicals, says that life begins at conception. However, there are differences between religious life and secular life.
One could easily argue that life does not begin until the fetus is capable of surviving outside of the womb. The arguments are purely based on different beliefs of secular law or religious law. The pro-life group is based on the idea of life begins at conception. The pro-choice group says otherwise.
If someone asked Gorsuch if religious law takes precedence over secular law, and he said yes, it would be a clear indication that he would override Roe v. Wade if it came before him. I believe I already know that he does believe that religious law supersedes secular law with his stance in the Hobby Lobby case and his support of these “freedom of religion” laws that allow discrimination against groups based on religious beliefs.
That is not someone I would want on the Supreme Court. But, since Democrats are not interested in getting to a person’s true feelings and beliefs, these types of questions are never asked.
Additionally, if you simply look at our own history, you will discover that conservatives always believe that religious law supersedes secular law. You can see that in laws that banned intra-racial marriage, same-sex marriage, separate but equal laws, and many more. All of those laws were justified by “religious beliefs”. If a judge cannot interpret the law and declare it unconstitutional, we would still have those laws on the books.
That is why conservatives argument about “minimal justices” is totally wrong. It is the responsibility of judges, especially on the Supreme Court to interpret laws for their constitutionality. The Constitution is secular law, and NOT religious law. The Constitution protects all minorities from bad laws passed by the majority. If judges are simply rubber stamps for Congress, then we would still have slavery in this country.
I do not believe that Judge Gorsuch belongs on the Supreme Court. His rubber stamp mentality, his willingness to let someone die just because he is too lazy to include extenuating circumstances in applying a law, and his apparent belief that religious law supersedes secular law, makes him unqualified to sit on the highest court of the land.
However, I don’t think that the Democrats are willing to go full-bore on rejecting him. I am not convinced that they are willing to dig in too much on this nominee. There are a lot of old people on the Supreme Court. And, I don’t think they are willing to fight one nominee that might make it easier to get a more conservative wacko on the court with the next opening, which could be any day.
But, in my mind he doesn’t belong there. He appears to me to be just another sleazy snake oil salesman in a fancy suite with a fancy haircut masquerading to be “mainstream”. He isn’t mainstream. He is a far right social conservative activist and his rulings have proven that to be the case.
And, the shirts keep marching along.