Justice Gorsuch Dismantles CNN’s Fear of ‘Hard Right Turn’ for SCOTUS

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As part of his media blitz to promote his new book A Republic, If You Can Keep It before the start of the next Supreme Court term, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch sat down with CNN’s Ariane de Vogue. In the portion of the interview that was shown during Tuesday’s New Day, de Vogue pressed Gorsuch on the fears CNN and the rest of the left have had about the country supposedly taking a “hard right turn” due to the conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

Following an introduction where co-host John Berman falsely stated the interview was “the first time, really, we're hearing from Justice Neil Gorsuch” (Gorsuch had done an interview with Fox News which aired that past Sunday), de Vogue hyped the upcoming SCOTUS term and touted her questioning:

And I asked him about the fact -- I said, “Look, many people are thrilled that you're on the bench, but there are a lot of people who are concerned. They're seeing now a solid five-member conservative majority, and they're worried about the direction of the court.” And John, he chafed a little bit about my characterization.

So, do the people who say this court is going to move, they're going to overturn precedent, and now there are five solid members, we could see a hard right turn,” she said to Gorsuch with concern in her voice.

 

 

In a calm, even, and reassuring tone, Gorsuch explained that there was no basis for that fear because many of the cases the Supreme Court heard last session (with the conservative majority) had been decided unanimously:

I just don't view judges that way. I reject that idea of how judges operate. As we talked about earlier about half – 40 percent of our cases are decided unanimously. We talked about the five-four cases. They make up a quarter of our docket, maybe a third. Those numbers have been consistent since the second World War. The only thing that's new is that nothing is new.

A point that Gorsuch didn’t bring up, but was worth noting, was the fact that many of the decisions, in general, involved a mingling of the left-leaning and right-leaning justices.

But de Vogue didn’t seem to want to hear it and insisted that there was a problem with the Supreme Court because of the conservatives. “Some people do think things have changed. When you say nothing has changed, now there are solid five conservative members on the court, something has changed,” she wanted to know.

Again, Gorsuch expertly defused de Vogue’s argument using reason, and asked his own telling question (click expand"):

I just -- again, to my mind, it hasn't. The wonder of the rule of law in this country is its consistency over time. And as troublesome as sometimes our times may seem and as difficult as they may appear to us, this country has been through a lot of challenges and always risen resiliently to them. Whether it's the civil rights movement, surviving through our civil war, or today's challenges, whatever they may be, I've got great confidence in America. And I say to those who don't, look elsewhere. Where else would you rather be?

You see he's a solid conservative. He allowed the travel ban to go into effect. He would have allowed a citizenship question on the census. Some ways he's carrying on the torch of Justice Antonin Scalia,” de Vogue warned viewers following the end of the clip.

Adding: “He looks to the original meaning of the Constitution. He doesn't believe that judges should invent new rights and, of course, that's where he comes under criticism because many people, his critics say that that's an outdated way to look at the Constitution.”

After the caution that Gorsuch looked to the original meaning of the Constitution, she noted that “a lot has changed since 1787” such as the abolishment slavery and women’s suffrage. She appeared to frame it as if that meant the Justice wasn’t for those things. Speaking for Gorsuch’s critics, she noted that “they say that look, his view writes certain individuals out of the Constitution.”

The interview was clearly a chance for a liberal advocacy group to air the fears and grievances of the left, because, of course, they would never fear a hard left turn from the highest court in the land. This is CNN.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN’s New Day
September 10, 2019
7:33:45 a.m. Eastern

JOHN BERMAN: All right. New this morning, a crucial new voice on the Supreme Court opens up in a rare and revealing interview. For the first time, really, we're hearing from Justice Neil Gorsuch. He sat down with CNN's Ariane de Vogue who joins us now live from Washington, and Gorsuch really opened up to you about what he sees his role in on the court?

ARIANE DE VOGUE: Right. He's heading into this new term, President Trump's first nominee on the bench, and he sat down to discuss this book. And John, the timing is interesting here because, of course, the court is about to start this blockbuster term. They're going to hear immigration cases, second amendment, LGBT rights, maybe even health care and abortion. And I asked him about the fact-- I said, “Look, many people are thrilled that you're on the bench, but there are a lot of people who are concerned. They're seeing now a solid five-member conservative majority, and they're worried about the direction of the court.” And John, he chafed a little bit about my characterization. Take a listen.

[Cuts to video]

JUSTICE NEIL GORSUCH: I think all a judge can do is fulfill his or her oath as best they can, putting all the other stuff aside. Right? Politics, your personal points of view. You leave that over there. When you put on the robe, you put that stuff aside and you open your mind, and you listen, and that's all a judge can ever promise. Can't promise outcomes. Can only promise their best efforts in the process.

DE VOGUE: So, do the people who say this court is going to move, they're going to overturn precedent, and now there are five solid members, we could see a hard right turn.

GORSUCH: I just don't view judges that way. I reject that idea of how judges operate. As we talked about earlier about half – 40 percent of our cases are decided unanimously. We talked about the five-four cases. They make up a quarter of our docket, maybe a third. Those numbers have been consistent since the second World War. The only thing that's new is that nothing is new.

DE VOGUE: Some people do think things have changed. When you say nothing has changed, now there are solid five conservative members on the court, something has changed?

GORSUCH: I just -- again, to my mind, it hasn't. The wonder of the rule of law in this country is its consistency over time. And as troublesome as sometimes our times may seem and as difficult as they may appear to us, this country has been through a lot of challenges and always risen resiliently to them. Whether it's the civil rights movement, surviving through our civil war, or today's challenges, whatever they may be, I've got great confidence in America. And I say to those who don't, look elsewhere. Where else would you rather be?

[Cuts back to live]

DE VOGUE: Right, John. You see he's a solid conservative. He allowed the travel ban to go into effect. He would have allowed a citizenship question on the census. Some ways he's carrying on the torch of Justice Antonin Scalia. He looks to the original meaning of the Constitution. He doesn't believe that judges should invent new rights and of course that's where he comes under criticism because many people, his critics say that that's an outdated way to look at the Constitution.

A lot has changed since 1787. There was slavery there. Women didn't have the right to vote. And they say that look, his view writes certain individuals out of the Constitution. But, he comes back strong, and he says he rejects that. He says if you want to change the Constitution, then you've got to amend it. So, it was a really interesting, honest philosophy, John, on the eve of this huge term that's coming up.

BERMAN: It's so interesting to hear ever from a Supreme Court justice, what a revealing interview.

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