It was only the first day of statements at the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, but it’s clear the Circuit Court of Appeals judge has a staunch friend in Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Cruz has signaled for some time his complete support and approval of his former presidential rival’s first SCOTUS nomination. But he used his time today to issue a preemptive strike against what might have been a key Democrat strategy in the upcoming days of question and answer.
In the lead up to the hearings, Neil Gorsuch has been making the customary courtesy calls to Senators. Apparently some of those conversations have asked the nominee to answer for Donald Trump’s negative comments and tweets about judicial rulings that have blocked his travel and immigration orders. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out this was bound to come up in the public hearings throughout the week.
Cruz used his time today to let the Democrats know that wasn’t going to fly:
“In the past weeks as well, some of my Democratic colleagues have questioned Judge Gorsuch’s independence and suggested that he needs to answer questions about the actions and statements and even the tweets of the president who appointed him. I would ask, was Justice Ginsburg or Justice Breyer asked about the sexual harassment suit that had been filed against President Clinton by Paula Jones? No. Neither was asked about that suit.”
Now, some will likely point out that Ginsburg had already been confirmed when Jones filed her lawsuit against Clinton in 1994, but that obviously intentionally misses the logical point that Cruz is making.
Nominees should answer for their own temperament, philosophy, and character, not for the tweets or opinions of the president who picks them. No doubt that Democrats who face the daunting task of trying to delegitimize a stellar judge who faced no opposition from any Democrat when confirmed to the 10th Circuit would much prefer to spend the coming days arguing against the lightning rod president.
Cruz put them on notice that circus is not going to happen. Good for him.