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December 11, 2018

Justice Neil Gorsuch and GOP’s blocking of Obama court pick ripped as Supremes uphold Trump travel ban

June 27, 2018
Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, the linchpin to several recent conservative decisions, stirred Democrats to cry foul over “ripoff” of seat that GOP prevented former President Barack Obama from filling. (Kayla Wolf / AP)




Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch was the tiebreaking vote in the Trump travel ban case — enraging Democrats who maintain he shouldn’t be on the court at all.

Opponents of the ruling railed against the conservative judge’s appointment as an example of GOP obstruction — while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took a victory lap.

“It just proves one thing,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) told CNN. “If you steal and ripoff a Supreme Court justice (seat), then you can try to jam any kind of nasty, racist, ugly policy you can down the throats of the American people … That’s what I feel.”

Ellison painted Gorsuch as illegitimate.

“Gorsuch really should not be on the Supreme Court,” he said. “He may be there, but he’s not there properly. You know, you can do that. You can jam in a Supreme Court by denying a sitting President their right to appoint the Supreme Court justice. That is exactly what happened, and Gorsuch has just done what his paymasters sent him there to do. It’s a shame.”

McConnell’s camp, meanwhile, tweeted a throwback photo of the smiling senator shaking the hand of the man he helped put on the bench.

It was the Senate GOP leader who blocked President Barack Obama from filling the vacancy left after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016.

Scalia’s seat remained vacant for more than a year as McConnell stonewalled Merrick Garland, Obama’s pick for the high court. McConnell prevented the Senate from even holding committee hearings for Garland, arguing he wasn’t entitled to one because Obama was a lame duck.

After Trump took office and nominated then-federal appeals court Judge Gorsuch, McConnell amended Senate rules that required 60 votes to break a filibuster on Supreme Court nominations, allowing his pick to move forward and give conservatives the majority in the nation’s highest court.

Critics on Tuesday blasted Republicans for tipping the scales of justice.

“Remember when everyone was civil and allowed Mitch McConnell to steal a Supreme Court seat? How’d that work out?” tweeted television producer Bill Prady.

Paul Musgrave, an assistant professor at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, folded in recent conversations about civility into his critique.

“If I ran a restaurant and Mitch McConnell asked to be seated, I’d tell him to wait until after the next presidential election,” he wrote.




“As one after another 5-4 rulings of this SCOTUS on voting rights, abortion rights, the travel ban and more are announced, the full meaning of @SenMajLdr’s unconscionable, nearly yearlong blockade against the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland is manifest,” former Obama adviser David Axelrod tweeted.

Earlier Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled against a California law that required pregnancy crisis centers to provide patients with information about abortion. On Monday, the conservative majority upheld a Texas redistricting map that opponents said was discriminatory.

McConnell said Tuesday he was just doing his job as a lawmaker when he blocked Garland’s nomination.

“All I did was apply the Biden rule,” McConnell said.

The so-called “Biden rule” refers to a 1992 speech then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) gave urging his colleagues not to vote on a Supreme Court nominee until after the November elections that year.

McConnell has repeatedly called his successful efforts to stop Obama from appointing a more liberal-leaning justice as the “most consequential decision” of his political career.




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