The American Constitution Society hosted “Congressional Forum: Holding the President Accountable” at Chicago-Kent on May 31, 2017. The event featured a fast-paced discussion from a distinguished panel, including Congresswoman Schakowsky, constitutional legal scholars and leaders from the American Constitution Society.
If you weren’t able to attend in person, we’ve gathered the social media coverage and videos from the event here so you can explore the many topics they discussed, from checks and balances to congressional investigations and pushback on executive orders for immigration.
Video of the program has been excerpted by speaker and organized into a playlist, but you can also find the full length video here. (You can access the playlist using the three-bar “hamburger” menu in the upper left corner of the video frame below.)
The American Constitution Society hosted this program with a distinguished panel to discuss a wide range of topics germane to the Trump administration. These included immigration, separation-of-powers issues with the Russia investigations, the judicial vacancy crisis, and how lawyers can use their law degrees to help address these issues.
Aziz Huq, Frank and Bernice J. Greenberg Professor of Law at the University of Chicago
Steven Schwinn, Associate Professor & Director, Clinical Programs Professor, John Marshall Law School and Member of the ACS Chicago Lawyer Chapter Board of Advisors – @sschwinn
Geoffrey R. Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, Co-Chair of the Chicago Lawyer Chapter Board of Advisors and Member of ACS’s National Board of Advisors – @stone_geoffrey
Amy M. Gardner, Director of Lawyer Chapters, The American Constitution Society for Law & Policy
Here are the arguments for why Senate Democrats should filibuster:
They need to protest what Republicans did to Judge Garland’s nomination last year. Democrats need to take extraordinary action to make it clear the extreme wrong of the Republican refusal to hold hearings.
Judge Gorsuch will be such a conservative justice that Democrats need to do all they can to try to stop his nomination.
The Base. The progressive base and liberal pressure groups are energized and are demanding that Democratic senators do all they can to stop the nomination. Even if a filibuster is unlikely to prevent Gorsuch from taking his seat, it could be seen as a partial victory and might further energize the base for future battles.
Long Game. The most likely consequence of a filibuster—i.e., the “nuclear option” of a Senate rules change that eliminates the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations—is not as bad as it sounds. A straight majority vote process might even allow a future Democratic-controlled Senate to get a more liberal justice onto the Court.
It’s showdown week for the Gorsuch nomination. Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee debates and votes on the nominee. Democratic committee members scored a minor victory after the hearings had concluded when they were able to head off the effort of Republican committee members to have a quick vote on Gorsuch. The Democrats asked for more time so they could receive and review written responses to questions posed by the senators. The Committee vote on Gorsuch today is expected to fall along party lines (11 Republicans in support; 9 Democrats opposed).
Then the real fireworks are expected when the nomination comes to the full Senate.
Professor Carolyn Shapiro was a guest panelist on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” on March 22, 2017, to discuss Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s responses to the intense questioning from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee as the hearings continued into the second day. Michael Scodro, a former Chicago-Kent professor, also appeared on the program.
It was a long day for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. For over eleven hours yesterday, the 10th Circuit judge answered questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Each senator had thirty minutes to question Judge Gorsuch (or, as was often the case, to deliver monologues with question marks at the end). The second day of the confirmation hearings concluded after the dinner hour on a rather strange note, with a senator suggesting that Judge Gorsuch stay away from vodka for the night and the nominee saying he was ready to “hit the hay.”
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.
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.