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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Monday, April 10, 2017

Justice Neil Gorsuch Sworn-In

Justice Neil Gorsuch was administered his Article VI constitutional oath by Chief Justice John Roberts at 9:00 am sharp in the judicial conference room of the SCOTUS Courthouse. This was followed by the more public "judicial oath" in the Rose Garden of the White House.

The first of what may be several Trump appointees to the SCOTUS, Justice Gorsuch fills a vacancy on the bench created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. Opposition to Justice Gorsuch in the Senate was based on pure politics rather than on the merits of the nomination.

Among legal scholars, the consensus about Justice Gorsuch is that he is perhaps the best-suited, both in temperment and intellect, to fill the shoes of Justice Scalia. Like Scalia, Justice Gorsuch has a flair for authoring an opinion.

"Nothing personal, just business", is most likely how Justice Gorsuch views his relatively quick run through the Senate confirmation gauntlet. A veteran of high-stakes political appointments, Justice Gorsuch came of age in the mid-1980s when his Mother, Anne Burford, resigned under controversy during the Regan Administration; as a then 15-year old, Justice Gorsuch felt deeply that she should not have resigned.

Most Presidents have the advantage of being in office a while before having to make such an important nomination; for Trump, it was a chance to fulfill a campaign promise.

In the end, the Democratic caucus stood firm as a united block only to see the Republican majority take the unprecedented step of subjecting President Trump's nominee to a straight up and down vote, replacing the centuries-old tradition of requiring 60 votes for confirmation. Rather than squandering the so-called "nuclear option", the Senate Democrats perhaps should have embraced the symmetry involved in replacing a conservative justice with another like-minded conservative justice.

Justice Gorsuch is too high-qualified a jurist to deny him a seat on the bench simply because the Senate Judiciary Committee refused to meet with President Obama's timely nomination of Judge Merrick Garland. The real political battle will be Trump's next appointment, especially if the High Court seat is vacated by a liberal justice.

Not taking any chances this time around, the conservatives sent Federalist Society executive vice chairman Leonard Leo, to work with Justice Gorsuch during the nomination process. With two successful conservative appointments under his belt, Leo was the slam-dunk ingredient that put the nomination through and into Trump's "W" column.

Something tells us that Trump's second appointment will not be too far off.

Post #585

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