So we have a new Justice on the Supreme Court. Neil Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate today, after being nominated by the President Trump early this year.
Never mind that the seat he’ll be taking has been vacant since the death of Antonin Scalia a year ago, and by all rights should have been filled by a nominee submitted by the sitting president at that time — President Barack Obama. And never mind that Obama’s eminently qualified nominee Merrick Garland was never even given a hearing... perhaps because GOP Senate leaders put party over Constitution, ahem? And never mind that the only way the Senate was able to break the filibuster over Gorsuch’s confirmation was to change the rules of voting on SCOTUS nominees to allow a simple majority vote instead of a 60-vote threshold.
Never mind any of that. The newest member of the third co-equal branch of government is a 49-year-old darling of the conservative legal community. He will keep this job for the rest of his life.
Gorsuch is said to be quite brilliant as a legal thinker and people really respect his work. He’s also said to be even more conservative than Justice Scalia was so that makes him REALLY FUCKING CONSERVATIVE. While he is probably pretty socially conservative, what likely made him most appealing to the Trump administration is that he thinks corporations should have lots and lots of rights.
The highlights of his career as a judge include ruling that Hobby Lobby didn’t need to provide insurance coverage that included contraception because they like Jesus so much. He also once ruled that a trucker was wrong to leave his cargo behind after his truck became inoperable, even though the trucker was literally freezing to death while waiting for assistance.
He’s also known for being against something called the “Chevron doctrine," a precedent that says when the law is ambiguous, deference should be given to the interpretation taken by the agencies enforcing laws. Gorsuch sees that as allowing regulatory overreach and would prefer to let the courts decide if regulatory agencies should really be regulating the actions of businesses.
Seems like a real peach… if you’re a business owner.
The future of American jurisprudence is, of course, unknowable. But we do know that a very pro-business Justice will be playing a key role for the next few decades.