Did Gorsuch Blunder?

Newspaper headlines across the country are blaring Judge Neil Gorsuch’s characterization of President Trump’s criticism of Judge James Robart as “disheartening” and “demoralizing.” This is one more in a long series of anti-Trump propaganda victories for the Democrats:

Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee has said he found the president’s attacks on the judiciary “disheartening” and “demoralizing,” according to a Democratic senator.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut disclosed the comments from Judge Neil Gorsuch after meeting with the nominee Wednesday, as the candidate for the high court vacancy paid a series of courtesy visits to senators.

In a tweet this past weekend, Trump lashed out at Judge James Robart after he issued a stay on the president’s refugee and immigration ban.

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump tweeted.

I wouldn’t take far-left Senator Blumenthal’s word for it, but the AP tells us that “Gorsuch’s confirmation team confirmed the judge’s comments.”

What to make of these statements by Gorsuch? I think they betray a serious lack of judgment and, perhaps, loyalty. Trump’s reference to Judge Robart, who violated his judicial duty by issuing a political opinion that he didn’t even attempt to justify with facts, law or logic, as a “so-called judge,” was arguably apt. In any event, if Gorsuch really would be “demoralized” by such a mild rebuke as “so-called judge,” he lacks the stomach to sit on the Supreme Court.

It would have been easy for Gorsuch to deflect Blumenthal’s question about the president’s tweet by saying that it was nowhere near as harsh as what Barack Obama said about the Supreme Court. If pressed, he could have added that judges in a democracy are not above criticism, and in fact, they are often criticized. Gorsuch must understand that he is engaged in a political process. So why would he sell out the man who has just appointed him to the Supreme Court?

A friend emailed a different perspective on Gorsuch’s criticism of Trump:

I think Gorsuch’s comment to Blumenthal was a very clever effort to lure Dems into thinking he may be more on their side than they think. It’s a gambit to get sixty votes.

Maybe, but I am not so sanguine. I fear it is a sign that Gorsuch lacks the tough-mindedness that we need in conservative Supreme Court justices.

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