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Judge Neil Gorsuch has styled himself as an originalist cut from the same mold as Justice Antonin Scalia. To those on the right, this makes Gorsuch an ideal nominee: brilliant, scholarly, and an impassioned defender of the Constitution. The problem is that Gorsuch’s record—reflected in his opinions and other writings—suggests that he is a selective originalist, committed to following only some of the Constitution’s text and history. Judge Gorsuch will therefore have a heavy burden to meet when he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee: he can’t simply call himself an originalist; he has to demonstrate that he is committed to following the text and history of the whole Constitution where it leads—both the Founding documents as well as the Amendments that transformed the Constitution.
As the Senate considers confirming Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the American people are entitled to know whether, as the business community is expecting, a Justice Gorsuch would be another reliable vote in favor of corporate America and against the rights and interests of workers, consumers, and other less powerful individuals.
This Supreme Court Term marks the first Term since the end of World War II in which the Court will be without a full complement of nine Justices for almost half the Term. This analysis, produced by Constitutional Accountability Center and People for the American Way Foundation, reviews the harmful effects of the continuing vacancy on the Court, both in the current Term and the upcoming Term as well as in historical context.
CAC’s latest Issue Brief, released on August 4, 2011, (and updated periodically there after) focuses on the unprecedented, slow pace of judicial confirmations in the Senate. At a time when caseloads in our federal courts are at a record high, the Senate’s confirmation process for judicial nominees has failed to keep pace with new judicial vacancies. This has stretched the federal judiciary, already overextended, close to its breaking point. While the number of judicial vacancies typically increases at the beginning of a new presidency, a rapid decline usually follows. The Obama Presidency has seen that trend broken. Never before has the number of vacancies risen so sharply and remained so high for so long during a President’s term. For 763 straight days there have been more than 80 vacancies on the federal bench, and there is no end in sight.