The Case for Gorsuch

Many liberals dislike Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch for a number of reasons, whether it be his more Conservative stances or the fact that his seat was stolen from Merrick Garland. However, despite these things, I think we should take a breath and, although it seems uncommon in politics these days, think about our situation. Gorsuch is by no means the perfect candidate for any liberal but there is most definitely a case to be made for him. His education is exemplary, he has a strong record of previously held positions with few controversial rulings, and most of all, he is one of the least political judges in modern history, which in a government that is currently dominated by Republicans, having one less political judge would actually be a good thing. This scenario is most definitely a pick your battles type situation for the Democrats, and they should be careful when using their political capital against the Supreme Court Nominee. These are the many things one must consider before you decide to vote against Gorsuch.

Firstly Gorsuch is extremely qualified from his education alone. Gorsuch attended Columbia University for his undergraduate degree where he earned a Bachelor of Arts. After that, he received his Juris Doctor from Harvard and finally he received a Doctor of Philosophy in Law from University College, Oxford.  He joined the two-year-old law firm of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans and Figel. He did a lot of trial work and, after winning, his first trial was likened to the classic TV lawyer Perry Mason. He made his first splash into politics by publishing an op-ed article about the 2002 Senate delaying the nomination of John Roberts and, ironically, Merrick Garland to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, saying “the most impressive judicial nominees are grossly mistreated by the Senate.”

He had a very successful career at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans and Figel. After this he was appointed Principle Deputy to the Associate Attorney General at the Justice Department where he served in this capacity until 2006. On May 10th, 2006 he was nominated to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals by George W. Bush and on July 20th he was confirmed for the position. He clearly has a very strong past in the court and is qualified for a position on the Supreme Court. Perhaps his most controversial case is known as the Frozen Trucker case. While I do disagree with his ruling, it is both an understandable reading of the law and a well-defended position. Overall, for a Trump nomination, he is a normal nominee; he is qualified and doesn’t have a lot of controversies associated with his rulings.

All observable signs point to Gorsuch being a non-political judge. He views judgeship as less of a political position and more of a justice position. He says he doesn’t believe in intentionally overturning precedent and that it is not the purpose of a judge. When asked by Sen Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) during his confirmation hearing if he planned on or was asked by President Trump to overturn Roe v. Wade, he answered, “Senator I would’ve walked out the door if he had.” When asked by Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) about precedent in general he answered: “part of being a good judge is coming in and taking precedent as it stands, and your personal views about precedent have absolutely nothing to do with the job of a good judge.”

When Grassley pressed further about comparing one precedent, for example a Gun Rights precedent, against Roe v. Wade, Gorsuch responded by saying that “a good judge will consider it as precedent of the United States Supreme Court worthy as treatment of precedent like any other.” He clearly doesn’t prefer one precedent to another publicly and is willing to give each one a fair shake regardless of his personal opinion. Gorsuch also displays a fervent respect for his position and the position of others in the Judiciary, unlike our President. When asked about Trump’s tweets against judges who ruled against his Immigration Ban, he said that the attacks were “disheartening” and “discouraging;” thus he is willing to show respect to others and not just acting as Trump’s latest yes man/woman.

Gorsuch clearly states that he is against judges legislating. Regardless of whether or not you actually believe judges aren’t legislators, it is a benefit for liberals to have a non-political Republican Supreme Court Justice. He won’t be there to overturn Roe v. Wade or to pass the Immigration Ban, he is there to judge laws based on their Constitutionality and legality, nothing more, nothing less. He shows a respect for his office and the office of others and, accounting for human error, rules consistently and fairly.

The last angle I’m asking you to consider is that this may not be the best time to stall a Supreme Court pick. As I stated in my previous article on the Supreme Court, it is very much within the realm of possibility that at least one more Supreme Court Justice will either resign or pass under a Trump administration, even if he only gets one term. All things considered, Gorsuch is a very non-partisan, qualified pick, especially coming from the administration who nominated Betsy DeVos. Democrats may want to save their protest for a worse Supreme Court pick, or one closer to the end of Trump’s presidency like Sen. McConnell led the Republicans to do towards the end of Obama’s presidency. Then the Democrats could strategically steal back their seat, similarly to what the Republicans did to Garland in the first place.

If you’ve gotten this far in the article thank you; in the current political climate it is very hard to listen to each other’s opinions. The last thing I will ask you to consider is the fact that even though the seat is a stolen spot, Gorsuch had nothing to do with the stealing itself. If you really want to respond to the stolen seat, respond in 2018, respond with your vote, don’t protest a perfectly good nomination because of anger from a stolen seat. Please don’t think that I am simplifying all protests to unreasonable anger as there are perfectly good reasons to dislike Gorsuch. However, all things considered, he is an excellent nomination for the President we currently have. As I said before thank you for listening, and please leave your opinion in the comments below.

-Publius Admirer

Marijuana: Devil’s Lettuce or Miracle Crop?

Although a lot went wrong in 2016, progress was most definitely made for the legalization of marijuana. Four states, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada all legalized recreational imgres-1marijuana usage. Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Montana all legalized medical usage of the drug. Although progress has been made, there is still a lot of stigma around using marijuana both recreationally and medically. There are many benefits to legalizing marijuana including economic, civil, and medical purposes. These benefits can be seen in states that have already legalized the drug like Colorado and Washington. The Justice Department, however, has stated that there will be “a greater enforcement of federal laws,” which one can assume means a greater enforcement of federal marijuana laws. Because of this, I feel it is necessary to bring up the benefits of marijuana and why, as a country, we would be better off if the drug was legal across the board.

To start, I would like to call your attention to the economic benefits of having marijuana being legal in your state. According to the Marijuana Policy group, legal marijuana activity in Colorado, in 2015 alone, generated $2.39 billion. Not only does legal marijuana stimulate economic activity, but it also creates jobs. In Colorado that same year the marijuana industry created 18,005 full-time equivalent positions. According to this study, the industry is projected to grow 11.5% through 2020. Even considering the possibility that the industry could shrink in each state when it is eventually legalized across the country, there is still a lot of room to grow in the next 3 years. Legalizing marijuana has huge economic potential, but the list of benefits doesn’t stop there.

To compound this economic benefit, the civil benefit of not sending people to prison for possession and intent to sell charges would save the tax payers money and put less people behind bars. According to the Vera Institute of Justice the average cost per prisoner per state is $31,286. According to drugpolicy.org , in 2015 643,121 people were arrested on marijuana law violations; of those arrests 89% of them were on possession charges alone. To do some simple math that means we as a country spend about $20,120,683,606 on incarceration for marijuana charges. America also currently has the highest incarceration rate in the world of about 1 in every 111 adults , or 2,224,400 people. Not only would the legalization of the drug lower the cost of prisons, it would also award more personal freedom to each and every American.

Lastly, the medical benefits of marijuana are also great in number. According to Business Insider, marijuana has potential to treat glaucoma, alleviate harm to lungs after smoking tobacco, epileptic seizures, anxiety, and even slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. It can also help with dieting by increasing your metabolism. It has been shown to spur creative activity and even help cancer patients with their appetite. These are only a few of the cases marijuana has been shown to help prevent, slow, or heal. The complete list of benefits of marijuana, in a medical sense, have yet to be seen and will become present when medical marijuana is legalized in all 50 states.

Legalizing marijuana in all 50 states would create a multitude of benefits for our nation. Legalization would lead to an economic boom, creating huge gains in our GDP, tax dollars for funding our government, and new jobs across the nation. Legalization would help with the ridiculously high incarceration rate in the United States. It also wraps back around to helping economically by reducing the amount of money we spend on incarceration. Lastly, the innumerable potential and proven benefits in the medical field would have an immeasurable impact on the United States medical industry. As an after thought, it is rather hypocritical of the President to enforce federal law on some issues while leaving decisions up to the states on other issues; an infamous example being the Trump administration’s rollback on transgender rights. The President is simply using the selective application of state’s rights to push his own personal, misguided agenda, and it is frankly disgusting and disappointing.

The Future of the Supreme Court

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With the nomination of the new 49-year-old Supreme Court Justice, Gorsuch, one must wonder where the Supreme Court is headed in future years. If Gorsuch is confirmed, it can be expected that he will be a Justice for around 30 years, changing the balance of power in the court to 5-4, in favor of Conservatives. This presents a favorable future for Republicans; Democrats on the other hand will be quite alarmed by the potential future of the supreme court.

Obviously for Democrats this is alarming, and what’s worse is that Breyer, Kennedy and Ginsburg are over or close to over the age of 80; it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they resign or pass away under President Trump, meaning Republicans could have a presence on the court for years to come. As a historian, this greatly reminds me of the midnight justices appointed by John Adams which allowed the dying Federalist party to have influence over the government long after their party was dead. Even if the Democrats defeat either Trump or another Republican nominee, there is a potential, assuming all three at risk justices pass away or resign, for Conservatives to hold a 7-2 balance in the Supreme Court. This would have long-lasting effects on a number of precedents set by the Court recently. Cases brought forth could be about Gay Marriage, LGBT discrimination in business, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, United States v. Texas, and Fischer v. University of Texas are some of the biggest issues that come to mind. These cases will put issues such as abortion, affirmative action, and immigration on defense. If these deaths or resignations come to pass, these issues could be at risk and under siege for decades.

Obviously the future for Liberals in the Supreme Court seems bleak; however, here are a few things to keep in mind. Although Gorsuch is extremely conservative, he is very qualified for his position receiving degrees from Harvard, Oxford, and Columbia. He has a very consistent record of voting based on the law, not for what his party wants. He has been against executive overreach in the past and hopefully continues his record in the future if and when he is confirmed. He has also been very against using the courts to press his agenda by acting only as a judge. To quote the man himself,“when we judges don our robes, it doesn’t make us any smarter, but it does serve as a reminder of what’s expected of us: Impartiality and independence, collegiality and courage.” We can only hope that if he is confirmed he will continue these patterns and won’t be swayed by his party to giving them more power. Personally, I hope that the Senate confirms him because even if we don’t agree with him on all issues, he is extremely qualified and frankly it could be a lot worse like many of Trump’s other nominations. One thing we can all be sure of in these trying times is the strength of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She will live through Trump and hopefully many other presidents. RBG will never die!

-Publius Admirer