Fireworks were expected during today’s confirmation hearing of Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s replacement for the late Justice Scalia. As expected, Gorsuch was asked about Roe v. Wade – from more than one Senator – and people took notice.
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 21, 2017
For the record, there is no such thing as “super precedent.” National Review helpfully explains it:
“There is no such thing as “super precedent.” The concept simply doesn’t exist in the law. There is stare decisis, the legal principle that binds lower courts to follow the rulings of superior courts and also traditionally holds that courts should be reluctant to overturn their own precedents. But there is no such thing as a precedent so settled it is irreversible….
To put it plainly, then, the Supreme Court has the power to reverse its own rulings. The tradition of stare decisis holds that it should do so only in compelling circumstances, to correct a legal wrong. This is what Judge Gorsuch is talking about when he speaks to Senator Feinstein of the value of certainty and predictability in judicial pronouncements. Stare decisis is indeed an important part of our nation’s legal fabric. But that does not mean — and has never meant — that the Supreme Court can’t reverse itself.
The article goes on to mention how the Supreme Court has, in fact, “overruled itself dozens of times over the years, reversing some entrenched and culturally important precedents in the process.” Roe v. Wade is bad law and we are hopeful it will be overturned in our lifetime.
Then there was this exchange:
The conservative blog, HotAir.com, analyzed it this way:
Some social conservatives are grumbling about this on Twitter but I’m not sure what answer they were looking for. How could he say he’d have promised the president he’d rule a certain way in a particular case that might end up before him? He would have shredded his credibility on judicial independence. Guaranteeing an outcome when you’re being interviewed for a Supreme Court vacancy would be tantamount to accepting a bribe.
In return for Trump giving Gorsuch his dream job, Gorsuch would be promising Trump in return a very, very valuable political outcome. Quid pro quo. The reason SCOTUS nominees are vetted to within an inch of their lives is partly to spare them from that sort of dilemma while gaining assurances that they would, in fact, vote the way you’re hoping they’d vote.
Looking carefully over his career, noting his Scalia-esque reputation for consistent conservatism and his writings on the sanctity of life vis-a-vis euthanasia, are we confident that Gorsuch would vote to overturn Roe? Pretty confident, I’d say.
Look, the idea of nominating a judge expecting a certain vote from this potential Justice is fundamentally opposed to what the Justices and the US Supreme Court is supposed to be. They are given lifetime terms so that they don’t have to worry about “re-election” and stay true to their intended jobs and attempt to stay above politics.
If asked to vote a specific way, and if the Justice complies, that is a clear demonstration of corruption and a breakdown of the checks and balances.
Like HotAir, and many others have said, including us, you have to look at his past decisions and philosophy to render what his views are and how he would potentially write legal opinions for the Supreme Court. In that respect, we urge the US Senate to quickly confirm Judge Gorsuch and applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to nominate a judge in the mold of the late Justice Scalia.