Excuse me while I adopt the vernacular of the day:
Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch has been impressive in his confirmation hearing, showing an unflappable adherence to judicial principle.
As of yet, I have not seen him tripped up or drawn off course, and that is saying something, considering the atmosphere.
Democrats are still miffed that Republicans refused to allow a hearing for former President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, so they are in revenge mode.
During one exchange today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) pressed Gorsuch to reveal the names of donors to Judicial Crisis Network, which ran an amply-funded ad campaign to fight Garland’s confirmation.
Though he did not name Judicial Crisis Network by name, Whitehouse asked why the group spent at least $7 million to keep President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland from getting a confirmation hearing and is now spending $10 million to get Gorsuch confirmed.
“Ask them,” Gorsuch said.
“I can’t, because I don’t know who they are,” Whitehouse replied.
We could debate all day about why it matters who is willing to put their money up for the causes or candidates they believe in.
Whitehouse attempted to frame it as a matter of courtesy, in order to know what interests are backing Gorsuch’s confirmation.
That is vile, on its face. It suggests that Gorsuch would be the puppet to special interest groups, and there is nothing in his background, or from his confirmation answers to suggest that to be the case.
“You could ask right now as a matter of courtesy, as a matter of respect for the process that anybody funding this should declare themselves right now so we can evaluate who is behind this effort,” Whitehouse said.
It is Whitehouse who is guilty of disrespecting the process.
Wisely, Gorsuch turned it back on Whitehouse.
“It would be a politics question and I’m not, with all respect senator, going to get involved in politics,” he said.
Gorsuch said if lawmakers want to pass legislation that would require that political advocacy groups to disclose their donors, they could do that.
“If you want to have more disclosure, pass a law,” he said.
It is no shock that Whitehouse would play the outraged party and say Gorsuch’s answer was unsatisfactory.
According to Whitehouse, Gorsuch failed to give his views on the problem of special interest influence in the political process.
One problem, Senator Whitehouse: That wasn’t your question.
You wanted specific names. You didn’t want to know Gorsuch’s opinion on special interests.
Nice try, though.
I continue to be impressed with Gorsuch.
Let’s hope things go in his favor.