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Wednesday round-up

In The Hill, Jordain Carney reports that “Senate Democrats are taking their opening shots at President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, ahead of a confirmation battle set to begin next week,” and that “Democrats and outside groups are painting Gorsuch as anti-worker and questioning if he’ll be willing to stand up to the Trump administration.” At Politico, Seung Min Kim and Burgess Everett report that “Democrats can’t seem to land a punch on Neil Gorsuch — and it’s not even clear they want to,” noting that “some Democrats are privately beginning to believe that Gorsuch — barring a blunder at his Senate confirmation hearings next week — will clinch the 60 votes he needs to be approved without a filibuster.” At McClatchy, Anita Kumar reports that days “before Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings are set to begin, the National Rifle Association Freedom Action Foundation will air TV ads across the nation to highlight the importance of the Supreme Court’s makeup to gun rights.”

In The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Julie Turkowitz look into Gorsuch’s relationship with Philip Anschutz, a conservative Colorado billionaire. In The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports that in notes for a 2010 speech at the Phil Anschutz Annual Dove Hunt, Gorsuch warned that “the trend toward too much discovery and too few trials in civil litigation, as well as the ‘vitriol’ of judicial confirmation hearings, were threatening the rule of law in America.”

At his eponymous blog, Eric Posner uses data on the justices’ recent administrative law rulings to debunk the notion that Gorsuch’s aversion to the Chevron doctrine of judicial deference to administrative agencies would cause him to diverge from the late Justice Antonin Scalia in administrative law cases, arguing that “while championing Chevron, Scalia evaded Chevron deference (at least, when the regulation in question advanced liberal goals) by finding statutes to be clear that others find ambiguous.” At his blog, The Narrowest Grounds, Asher Steinberg takes issue with this analysis, maintaining that “Gorsuch’s confirmation will very possibly be the undoing of deference doctrine as we know it.”

In New York magazine’s Daily Intelligencer, Roger Parloff weighs in on Gorsuch’s dissent in a case in which the judge would have ruled against a trucker on a whistleblower claim, arguing that the opinion “displays a manner of thinking that might disappoint — if not shock — many of the white, working-class voters who turned out for Trump in November.” In an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Hwang family asserts that Gorsuch’s 2014 court of appeals opinion ruling against their late daughter and sister in a disability case showed a “callous disregard for Grace and her condition.” At the ACS Blog, Peter Shane counters the assertion that there is no principled reason to oppose Gorsuch’s nomination, arguing that “a perfectly principled reason” “is to avoid rewarding Senate Republicans’ 2016 assault on constitutional governance and the Obama presidency.” At The Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, Randy Barnett assails a recent critique of Gorsuch’s originalist judicial philosophy, maintaining, among other things, that an “argument against bad originalism is not an argument against originalism.”


  • Fix the Court reports that according to the Judicial Conference of the United States, “financial disclosure reports for federal judges, including Supreme Court justices,” will “be made available to the press and public via thumb drives at no charge.”
  • In an op-ed in the Washington Examiner, Mark Grabowski argues that the justices’ comments during oral argument in Packingham v. North Carolina, which asks whether a ban on social media use by sex offenders violates the First Amendment, suggest that “Twitter’s practice of banning controversial right-wing pundits could be deemed illegal.”
  • Constitution Daily looks at three significant cases on the court’s argument docket next week, which involve “eminent domain, class-action lawsuits, and the immunity of police officers from prosecution.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 15, 2017, 7:33 AM),