As the House of Representatives continues to hold hearings regarding national intelligence and Trump’s wiretapping conspiracies, the Senate is busy with a hearing of another sort. Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s strictly conservative Supreme Court nominee, is facing confirmation hearings in the Senate. Although many Republican Senators have been playing the party line and giving Gorsuch softball questions, Democrats in the Senate aren’t going down without a fight.
After all, when President Obama wanted to appoint a Supreme Court Justice following the death of Antonin Scalia, Senate Republicans did everything they could to block a vote. This prevented the levelheaded and extremely qualified Merrick Garland from ever receiving a confirmation, and left a vacancy on the Supreme Court bench that was completely unnecessary. Democrats are now giving Republicans a taste of their own medicine, and doing everything they can to prevent a regressive and overly conservative judge from getting through the Senate.
One Senator, Democrat Dick Durban from Illinois, gave Gorsuch a particularly challenging question. Specifically, Durban challenged a 2009 ruling in which Gorsuch interpreted the Individuals with Disabilities Act, or IDEA, in an incredibly narrow and restrictive way. In this case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, Gorsuch stated that the IDEA required that schools supply merely a de minimis standard of care for disabled students.
In other words, Gorsuch apparently believed that the only thing that schools has to do to be in compliance with the IDEA was supply care that was, quite literally, “more than nothing”. This struck many Democratic Senators as overly narrow, and quite frankly, inhumane, as public schools should provide a quality education for every American, regardless of whether or not they’re disabled.
What Durban pointed out, however, was far more damning than a moral challenge to Gorsuch’s ruling. It would appear that in addition to being inhumane, this ruling was also legally incorrect: the Supreme Court just handed down a unanimous decision that Gorsuch misinterpreted the law, and ruled that under the IDEA, schools must absolutely confer more the de minimis benefits to disabled students.
When asked to defend his ruling, Gorsuch tried to do what Republicans always do: avoid taking responsibility for his actions, and blame someone else. Specifically, Gorsuch stated that he was bound by precedent, and that the ruling was entirely based on a previous decision. A legal analysis proved that this was not the case, and that Gorsuch took the wording of an earlier ruling and twisted it to suit his own particularly conservative views.
The previous ruling stated that schools must provide “more than de minimis” accomodations. Gorsuch, instead of using this wording, stated that schools must “merely de minimis” accommodations, effectively saying the opposite of the previous ruling. Unfortunately for Gorsuch, Democratic legal experts are too sharp to be fooled by such an obvious attempt at deflection.
If this is the sort of ruling that Americans can expect from Gorsuch, he absolutely cannot be allowed to become a Supreme Court Justice. Americans need to make their voices heard, and tell their elected representatives in the Senate that this sort of judicial philosophy is absolutely unacceptable. If you agree, please share this article with your friends on Facebook so that Democrats around the country can know exactly the type of judicial nominee that they’re up against.