It’s finally here. Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee begins its confirmation hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch to become the next associate justice of the Supreme Court.
Judge Gorsuch has been busy during the seven weeks since President Trump nominated him. He has met with 72 senators. He has been studying, going over his own opinions and reviewing major Supreme Court decisions that are likely to be discussed at the hearings. And he has been sharpening his answers by participating in simulated confirmation hearing sessions. (NPR’s Nina Totenberg notes that Robert Bork, who the Senate refused to confirm in 1987, “refused to submit himself to these practice sessions, and paid dearly with a performance that made him sometimes sound arrogant and less than fully candid.” The New York Times just posted a video documentary looking back at the Bork nomination. )
Less than a week away from the confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court and the media machine is ramping up. Journalists are publishing a new round of stories on Gorsuch. Commentators, activists, and politicians are busy attacking and defending the nominee, each side hoping to score a few points before the main event begins on Monday.
In the National Law Journal, Tony Mauro reviewed notes from a 2010 speech Judge Gorsuch submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, concluding that the nominee offered a distinctly “bleak” portrait of the American legal system. Among Gorsuch’s complaints were the expense and delays of the discovery stage of civil litigation. “Not long ago we used to have trials without discovery,” he noted. “Now we have discovery without trials.” Gorsuch also lamented the increasing “vitriol” of the Supreme Court confirmation process.
This panel discussion was co-hosted by our Asian Pacific American Law Student Association and International Law Student Association. The event flyer, slides from our speakers, and a video of the discussion are available here if you missed attending this event.
Dr. James Nolt, Adjunct Associate Professor at New York University Program in International Relations and Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute
Edward Harris, Assistant Dean and Associate Professor for International LL.M. programs at Chicago-Kent College of Law
Bartram S. Brown, Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Program inInternational and Comparative Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law
Professor Carolyn Shapiro wrote an op-ed for The Hill titled “What Brown can do for Democrats in examining Gorsuch” about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s upcoming Senate confirmation hearings. She suggests that Senate Democrats could question Judge Gorsuch about Brown v. Board of Education and other historical cases to get a better sense of his judicial philosophy and his views on judicial independence.
It’s week six of the Gorsuch nomination. His nomination hearings begin on March 20.
The first anniversary of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia (whose seat Gorsuch, if approved, would take) has sparked a new round of comparisons between the two jurists.
Judge Gorsuch, writes Richard Wolf in USA Today, “represent[s] the first generation of Supreme Court justices to have been influenced by Scalia’s rulings, writings, and teachings while still in law school.” Gorsuch’s writing has often been compared to Scalia’s. Mark Sherman of the AP wrote a story on his accessible writing style.
Kofi Ademola gave some historical context for the Black Lives Matter movement, which was founded by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors. These three black queer women started the hashtag on social media in reaction to the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case.
The Black Lives Matter website helped build the movement when activists protesting the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson used it to start local chapters across the country.
Criminal Justice Reform in Chicago
In Chicago, Kofi Ademola noted there had already been 20 police shootings in 5 years with no convictions, so the issue of police violence has always been central. He said the goal of Black Lives Matter Chicago is to decentralize power and to centralize marginalized voices and communities.
On February 17, First Defense Legal Aid hosted a “CrImmigration” panel discussion to address these questions: What’s at stake when immigrants of color don’t know or access their rights when in contact with Chicago Police? What do First Defenders need to know & how do we watchdog the promises of a sanctuary city?
The event was sponsored by a number of local legal aid programs and community organizations. Speakers included our own Professor Richard Kling as well as legal aid volunteers, civic leaders and immigration community organizers.
It’s been almost a month since Judge Neil Gorsuch was nominated to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Here’s the latest news on his confirmation process.
The most interesting news of the past week concerning the Gorsuch nomination was a plan floated by New Mexico Senator Tom Udall that sounded a lot like a West Wing episode (Season 5, Episode 17). Udall’s plan would involve Trump administration officials striking a deal with a liberal Supreme Court justice who might be looking to replace that justice with Judge Merrick Garland, allowing Obama’s and Trump’s nominees to get seats on the Court. Call it the Gorsuch-Garland Gambit. Udall believes such a plan show the country that the new President is really interested in acting to “unite the country.” (It’s not going to happen, but it’s fun to think about it.) To no one’s surprise, the White House does not think much of Senator Udall’s plan.
Our Muslim Law Student Association hosted an “Ask Muslims Anything” event during our Diversity Week 2017, giving students a chance to submit questions about Islam or Muslims anonymously.
These questions covered a range of topics from historical Islam to understanding religious practices and challenges Muslims face in the United States due to common misconceptions or outright discrimination.
The panelists represented a range of different personal and religious backgrounds and offered contrasting perspectives throughout the discussion.
Please join us Thursday, March 2, for “Public Protest and the Law.” In this panel discussion, civil rights and advocacy experts will discuss First Amendment rights as they relate to protests, local protest permit laws and how they relate to spontaneous protests, issues undocumented immigrant and non-citizen protesters might face if arrested, and more.