Nominee for the Supreme Court and sitting Tenth Circuit Court judge Neil Gorsuch has taken exception to Donald Trump’s blistering remarks against the federal judge and court for blocking his draconian executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
In words reported by Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, and later confirmed by his spokesman, Gorsuch referred to the Tweeter-in-Chief’s outspoken reactions as “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”
Trump had previously lambasted Judge James Robart as a “so-called judge” and yesterday complained about the delay in a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court, which is currently weighing an appeal from his administration, claiming that even a “bad high school student” would find in his favor.
He also insisted that his executive order was “written beautifully” and theorized that courts “seem to be so political,” revealing his unfamiliarity with the governmental concept of judicial review or of the constitutional separation of powers into three co-equal branches.
Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, specifically asked Gorsuch in a meeting to respond to Trump’s rhetoric. That’s when Gorsuch expressed disappointment in Trump’s comments, Blumenthal said. “He didn’t disagree with me on that point.”
“I said to him if a litigant before your court—and the President of the United States is in fact a litigant right now in the immigration ban cases—said what President Trump said, you would hold him in contempt of court,” Blumenthal said.
Gorsuch told [Democratic Senate Minority Leader] Schumer in a meeting Tuesday that an attack on his fellow judges is an attack on all, and he said he is incredibly disheartened when people attack his fellow judges, according to a source familiar with the discussion who paraphrased the judge’s comments. He also told Schumer that judges are used to being criticized and are no one’s lackeys.
It is unclear how Gorsuch’s forthright views differing with the man who nominated him will affect his confirmation process. While it may win the die-hard conservative jurist some plaudits for its intellectual honesty and professionalism, both Blumenthal and Schumer said his dissent did not go far enough, and faulted him for evasiveness with regard to other questions. Even this slight show of independence, on the other hand, may rankle partisan Senate Republicans and not least of all the notoriously vindictive Trump himself.
Blumenthal confirmed the remarks in an interview with Anderson Cooper last night:
Thursday morning, Trump went after Blumenthal, attacking the senator for misrepresenting what Gorsuch said, tweeting “Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie),now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?”
Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie),now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017
Trump’s tweet now sets up Gorsuch to have to come down on one side or the other if the SCOTUS nominee is asked about the remarks in public.
Case in point: