Who Can Doubt Gorsuch’s Independence Now?

by Rich Lowry

For the politics of his nomination, it probably helps that Gorsuch has let it be known that he was disheartened by Trump’s shots at Judge Robart and the 9th circuit. It makes the point that he’s his own man and a supporter of the independence of the judiciary (although I don’t buy the notion that Trump popping off is a threat to separation of powers). The risk here is that Gorsuch would so anger Trump that he might consider dumping him, a very unlikely scenario that would obviously represent a debacle. Trump has apparently chosen to channel his anger against Sen. Blumenthal for revealing Gorsuch’s comments and there is now a jesutical debate over whether Gorsuch addressed Trump’s attacks directly or made a general observation (Ben Sasse has reported a similar conversation with Gorsuch). It’s possible that both sides could be right if the discussions went something like this–Q: Judge Gorsuch, what do you think of President Trump’s attack on the judiciary? A: Well, I will say as a general matter that any attack on my fellow judges is disheartening to me. Overall, it’s hard to believe that Gorsuch isn’t making a good impression on the Hill–every time you see video of him in a hallway, he’s cheerfully greeting puppies and small children.

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