Trump Names Justice, Celebrity Correspondent
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 32
By Appointment: President Trump last night named Neil Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge from Colorado, to replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Trump had invited two candidates to Washington, trying to create a little reality show drama about who would be his pick.
Gorsuch delivered a gracious, well-spoken, and at times humorous acceptance of Trump’s nomination. He said, “A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge.”
If affirmed, Gorsuch would restore the 5-4 Conservative-Liberal split on the court.
Trump promised to name a Justice in the mold of Scalia, who was a smart, firebrand, “originalist” reader of the Constitution. A graduate of Harvard Law School in President Obama’s class, Gorsuch clerked for both justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy.
Gorsuch voted in favor of employers who claimed that the free birth control requirement in Obamacare violated their religious rights. “Ours is the job of interpreting the Constitution,” he once wrote in an opinion. “And that document isn’t some inkblot on which litigants may project their hopes and dreams.”
The Republicans need 60 votes to confirm Gorsuch, so they would have to get eight Democratic defectors, or change the rules requiring only a 51-vote majority. The Democrats are still smarting that the Republicans would not even consider President Obama’s nominee for the court 11 months before then end of his term. Democrats say they will settle for nothing less than a legal centrist, but they could end up looking like petulant losers against this smart and charming candidate.
Advice and Consent: Senate Democrats took actions yesterday to block and delay three of Trump’s cabinet nominees. First they skipped a committee meeting that was to vote on Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Steve Mnuchin, the choice for treasury. The committee couldn’t vote without a quorum. Then, they blocked a vote on Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee for attorney general.
State of Affairs: The number of people who have signed a “dissent cable” at the State Department objecting to President Trump’s immigration order has grown to 1,000. Employees are supposed to be able to register their disagreement with official policy without retribution. We’ll see.
Both the new Homeland Security Secretary and Press Secretary Sean Spicer have been busily denying that Trump’s order is a “ban” on refugees and immigrants from seven countries. Really. Their boss tweeted two days ago, “If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad ‘dudes’ out there!”
Sellout: CBS announced that host, celebrity and pitch-woman Oprah Winfrey will be an occasional contributor to the venerable news show “60 Minutes”. Executive Producer Jeff Fager said, “She is a remarkable and talented woman with a level of integrity that sets her apart and makes her a perfect fit for 60 Minutes.”
Oprah has never been a war correspondent. This is the host who once gave a car to every member of her studio audience. “You get a car, you get a car, you get a car!”
Oprah now does Weight Watchers commercials, an unusual path to the best news show in history, but then again, the legendary Mike Wallace once hawked cigarettes.
11 Days in January: Jon Stewart appeared with Stephen Colbert last night on The Late Show to rip President Trump. He said, “It has been 11 days Stephen. The presidency is supposed to age the president, not the public.”