Senator Jeff Merkley holds a talk-a-thon to protest Judge Gorsuch

Ahead of Thursday’s farcical vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to a stolen Supreme Court seat, for which Judge Gorsuch will forever be tainted by illegitimacy, Sen. Jeff Merkley held the Senate floor for more than 15 hours to protest Judge Gorsuch:

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., took to the Senate floor a few minutes before 7 p.m. Tuesday night to protest President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, vowing to speak “as long as I’m able.”

He did so for more than 15 hours, yielding the floor shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Merkley mounted his demonstration in response to Republicans who refused to consider former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, following the February 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

“The majority team in this chamber decided to steal a Supreme Court seat,” he said. “Such a theft has never, ever happened in the history of our nation.”

Republicans argued that neither party should fill a Supreme Court vacancy that opened up during an election year.

Barbara A. Perry, the Miller Professor of Ethics and Institutions and director of presidential studies at U-Va.’s Miller Center: One-third of all U.S. presidents appointed a Supreme Court justice in an election year. Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog, Supreme Court vacancies in presidential election years: There is no “practice of leaving a seat open on the Supreme Court until after the election.”

“It was a warfare tactic [a “blockade“] of partisanship,” Merkley said. “It was an end justifies the means, even if the means violates the core premise of the Constitution.”

In January, after Trump announced Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee, Merkley released a scathing statement: promising to “do everything in my power to stand up against this assault on the Court.”

“The most fundamental thing that must be understood about tonight’s announcement is that this is a stolen seat. This is the first time in American history that one party has blockaded a nominee for almost a year in order to deliver a seat to a President of their own party. If this tactic is rewarded rather than resisted, it will set a dangerous new precedent in American governance.

“This strategy of packing the court, if successful, could threaten fundamental rights in America, including workers’ right to organize, women’s reproductive rights, and the rights of ordinary citizens to have their voices heard in elections rather than being drowned out by the corrupting influence of dark money from the richest Americans.

“If President Trump were serious about healing the divisions in America and undoing the damage wrought by Senate Republicans last year, he could have named Merrick Garland to fill this seat. Garland is a centrist jurist who is respected on both sides of the aisle. Instead, he doubled down on division by picking an ideological and extreme nominee to satisfy the far right.

“This is a stolen seat being filled by an illegitimate and extreme nominee, and I will do everything in my power to stand up against this assault on the Court.”

On the Senate floor, Merkley highlighted several issues Democrats have raised about Gorsuch, including the Colorado jurist’s history of siding with corporations and his “extreme, far-right, anti-women, anti-worker record.”

Analysis: Neil Gorsuch could be the most conservative justice on the Supreme Court: “Gorsuch’s actual voting behavior suggests that he is to the right of both Alito and Thomas, and by a substantial margin.”

Merkley also argued that until the investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia is complete, a vote on Gorsuch is premature.

The Oregon senator even said Trump should withdraw the Gorsuch nomination and renominate Garland.

Roll Call reports that as Senator Merkley spoke past midnight, Politico and BuzzFeed published stories late Tuesday night that show several passages from Gorsuch’s 2006 book on euthanasia “read nearly verbatim to a 1984 article in the Indiana Law Journal,” among other instances [i.e., plagiarism]. Assessments from experts on academic integrity ranged “from calling it a clear impropriety to mere sloppiness,” the report said.

This gave Merkley another argument against cloture. “Maybe that [cloture] motion should be withdrawn given that there’s more information now to analyze,” he said.

It was all for naught, of course. Authoritarian Tea-Publicans are in control and they will have their stolen Supreme Court seat today, completing their crime against democracy by any means necessary.

3 responses to “Senator Jeff Merkley holds a talk-a-thon to protest Judge Gorsuch

  1. “Ahead of Thursday’s farcical vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to a stolen Supreme Court seat, for which Judge Gorsuch will forever be tainted by illegitimacy…”

    Let’s see, “farcial”, “stolen”, “tainted” and “Illegitimate”. Strong words being used erroneously. “Farcial”? No, it’s not farcial. The vote was legitimate and carries the weight of law. “Stolen”? Only if you start out assuming any party has a claim to a seat on SCOTUS. “Tainted”? Hardly. This will apply only in the minds of liberals who are pissed they were out-manuevered. “Illeigitimate”? No. Again the vote is legal and quite legitimate. Judge Gorsuch will be a fully invested and functioning Judge on the SCOTUS having all the honors, rights and responsibilities “thereunto apprertaining”. You may not like it and it may not feel right to you, but just like Trump being President, it is the way it is.

    “It was an end justifies the means, even if the means violates the core premise of the Constitution.”

    “The core premise of the Comstitution”?!?!? What a stupid statement. The Constitution calls for the advise and consent of the Senate, nothing more. A simple majority meets the “core premise of the Comstitution”. I realize he is preaching to the choir and is looking for a “Halleluja” line, but surely not even the choir really believes such hyperbole as anything but hogwash.

    “If this tactic is rewarded rather than resisted, it will set a dangerous new precedent in American governance.”

    If it is such a dangerous precedence, then the democrats should never use it in the future. That way it isn’t a precedence, it is just a one time situation. But of course, the democrats are thinking to themselves, “My God! Why didn’t we think of this first!” And for such a dangerous precedence, you can bet your bottom dollar that the first time the democrats can do it, they will, and think themselves damned clever for doing so. So knock off all the anguished bereavement of the “state of democracy”.

    “Gorsuch’s actual voting behavior suggests that he is to the right of both Alito and Thomas, and by a substantial margin.”

    Well, thank goodness for that! Once the GOP figured out that democrats depended on the SCOTUS to effect their agenda more than anything else, it became necessary to take that resource away from them. Now, both the GOP and the democrats are in constant competition for those precious seats. Even the Justices realize that. Why else would those ancient artifacts like Ginsburg and Breyer keep hanging on by their fingernails?

  2. For Sure Not Tom

    Gorsuch is a corporate shill, a bigot, and a liar.

    The majority of Americans do not support right-wing corporations-first policies, and they’re getting to be more and more secular every generation, and now that the right has their judge they’ll be able to shove their corporate BS down our throats for the next 30 or 40 years.

    The populist POTUS who did not get the popular vote will not be anymore popular with the people of the future.

    • “Gorsuch is a corporate shill, a bigot, and a liar.”

      Tom, when you decide you are not supposed to like someone, you dig out the old word machine, huh? “Bigot” and “liar” are pretty standard for you, but I don’t think I have seen “corporate shiill” in a while. Too bad none of them are true when it comes to Gorsuch. But you wouldn’t want to let a little thing like that get in the way of a good rant, now would you?

      “…they’re getting to be more and more secular every generation…”

      I think you are correct about this, but since a generation is now measured by Sociologists at 30 years, it is sort of hard to worry about it today.

      “The populist POTUS who did not get the popular vote will not be anymore popular with the people of the future.”

      I don’t know, Tom. It’s a long time until the next election and a lot can happen between now and then. You won’t change, but that doesn’t mean others won’t…