So far, the confirmation hearing for Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch has gone relatively smoothly. However, one of his exchanges with the Senate Judiciary Committee shows that Gorsuch may have something to hide.
Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing has gone on for the past few days. Yesterday, a Senator asked Gorsuch about the $10 million that’s been spent to help him get confirmed.
The conservative organization Judicial Crisis Network is spending $10 million to help Gorsuch get confirmed. It’s the same group that spent $7 million to keep Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland from getting a confirmation hearing.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse asked Gorsuch, “We have this ten million dollars that is being spent on behalf of your confirmation. Do you think for instance that we on this panel ought to know who is behind that?”
But Gorsuch refused to comment on the anonymous donations. “Senator, that is a policy question for this body,” he said.
Whitehouse didn’t want to let Gorsuch off the hook. So he continued to press the question.
Whitehouse continued, “Well, it’s also a matter of disclosure. 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.”
But Gorsuch refused to reveal who the donors are. Instead, he put the onus back to Congress.
Gorsuch retorted, “If you want to have more disclosure, pass a law.” Clearly, the man wasn’t about to out any of these mysterious donors.
Gorsuch has taken great pains to paint himself as a judge who doesn’t allow politics to affect his decisions. He said several times during the hearings that he wants to stay out of politics.
Gorsuch’s answers have left Senators like Whitehouse frustrated. Whitehouse said Gorsuch’s evasiveness left his views on special interests undetermined.
Gorsuch doesn’t seem to care, though. He’ll continue to hide the identities of the donors that are helping him.
And maybe that’s the real clue to how Gorsuch feels about special interests in politics. His actions show that he doesn’t have a problem with big money in elections.
That could mean that he supports the Citizen’s United decision. It shows that he supports the role of super PACs in elections.
Right now it looks like Senate is likely to confirm Gorsuch. Conservatives love is qualifications and his views on judicial issues.
There isn’t a lot Democrats can do to stop Gorsuch’s confirmation short of a filibuster. So far, though, Democrats haven’t shown that they’re ready to take that step.
Gorsuch’s comments seem to show that he supports the role of special interests in politics. This should frighten progressives everywhere.
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