Newsweek Writer Opposes Gorsuch Because of Vengeance

February 1st, 2017 6:59 PM

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Newsweek writer!

Newsweek senior writer Kurt Eichenwald admits that President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, is "eminently qualified." However, he angrily proclaims that this nomination must be stopped because of a need for vengeance. Eichenwald doesn't try to hide that as an ulterior motive. In fact, he absolutely obsesses over it.

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Federal Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, must not be confirmed. Democrats must fight it to the bitter end. The preservation of the final, tattered remains of American constitutional government demand it.

This has nothing to do with Gorsuch as a nominee. On first assessment, there is no doubt he is eminently qualified, perhaps more so than several other sitting justices were at the time of their nomination. He has done it all. His legal education is first-rate, with a law degree from Harvard and a doctorate in jurisprudence from Oxford. He has seen up-close how the Supreme Court works, serving as a clerk for Justice Byron White and then Justice Anthony Kennedy. For more than a decade, he has served as a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, where he has gained a reputation as someone committed to the rule of law. He is a member of the Federal Appellate Rules Committee.

There was a time in history when that would have been enough. And had someone with Gorsuch’s pedigree had been nominated by, say, George W. Bush in his first term, I would be supporting Senate confirmation under Article II of the Constitution—not because I agree with him on policy, which to me has usually been irrelevant in selecting a judge, because the High Court is not supposed to be filled with the equivalent of lifetime senators. If he is qualified, and has a philosophy of jurisprudence that is widely recognized as legitimate—which Gorsuch does—that would be enough.

That's what Eichenwald claims but I wouldn't be surprised if he still would have opposed Gorsuch even if these conditions had been met. Anyway, he lets us in on what motivates his fury:

But no more. Gorsuch, unfortunately, must be sacrificed on the altar of obscene partisanship erected by the Republicans in recent years. Temper tantrums designed to undermine the Constitution for naked political purposes cannot be rewarded. Our government cannot survive the short-term games-playing that has replaced fidelity to the intent of the founders’ work in forming this once-great nation.

This goes back to the unconscionable decision of Republicans who refused to consider any nominee put forward by former President Obama following the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Obama nominated Merrick Garland, another eminently qualified candidate who served as Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the second most important court in the nation. But in a decision that will go down as one of the greatest abuses of the Constitution in the history of this nation, the Republican majority of the Senate declared they would not give Garland hearings, would not examine his qualifications, would not take a vote. Instead, they made up a rule – a nominee for the Supreme Court can only be considered for three-quarters of any president’s term. In the fourth year, confirmations have to wait until after the election. And so, the Supreme Court has been hobbled for coming up on a year—and, as the confirmation hearings will inevitably drag on, for months more to come.

Of course, Eichenwald coveniently forgets that it was the Biden Rule stated by former Vice President Joe Biden about a president making an election year nomination to the Supreme Court:

BIDEN: …in 1800, 1828, 1864, and 1956-the President himself withheld making a nomination until after the election was held. …it is time to consider whether this unbroken string of historical tradition should be broken. In my view, what history supports, common sense dictates in the case of 1992.

Eichenwald wants the Democrats to fight to the bitter end against Gorsuch. For what purpose? The absurd answer will make you think that he isn't operating on all cylinders but if you have been reading Newsbusters, you probably already knew that:

The end game: Force Trump to renominate Garland. Filibuster every nominee until he does. I have no illusions that the Senate would accept Garland; the Republicans still have the majority. Then Trump will come in with another nominee, almost certainly Gorsuch. Yes, even under that scenario, the Republicans will gain a seat on the court; they would have anyway, even if they had considered him during the Obama Administration, because the GOP had the senate majority then, too, and would have voted him down. (Democrats knew the price of a Trump victory could be the Republicans would get to name the next Supreme Court justice, and enough of the anti-Clinton types chose to sit out or cast their vote for someone who could not win anyway. They have relinquished the right to object.)

So, even though Garland would not win a Senate confirmation vote, a precedent needs to be established: the Senate’s confirmation responsibilities under the Constitution are not a joke, are not something where absurd rationalizations that pass for smarts on Fox News can be used to circumvent history and precedent. Nominees must be given hearings and votes. And yes, if that means letting the Republicans blow up the filibuster, let them do it.

So the Senate must now waste its time to satisfy Eichenwald's thirst for vengeance by holding hearings on Garland. Oh, and the idea of President Trump placing Garland's name into nomination will definitely happen...but only in Eichenwald's alternate reality.

Even with this utter silliness, Eichwald wouldn't be satisfied. He still wants to revive one of the worst political ideas ever:

Then, when a Democratic president is in office, the Democrats control the Senate, and there is no filibuster, show the Republicans a real exercise in raw power: Revive Franklin Roosevelt’s plan to pack the Supreme Court and fill it with the most liberal justices around. If the Republicans insist on turning the judiciary into a political plaything, play the roughest game of hardball they have ever seen.

Wow! It sure sounds like poor Kurt Eichenwald is in need for some heavy duty Anger Management!