US Supreme Court's ideological balance at stake in confirmation fight

After Scalia died unexpectedly, former Democratic President Barack Obama nominated a replacement, but Republicans for months refused to consider him, blocking a leftward shift on the court.

Widely viewed as an articulate and capable jurist, Gorsuch possesses a conservative judicial philosophy, borne out in thousands of federal court cases over the past decade.That has Democrats anxious.

The real question is if Judge Neil Gorsuch will discuss, during his March 20 confirmation hearing, whether he will favor the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of free exercise of religion over its guarantee of equal protection of the law.

"Mr. Anschutz spoke with Senator (Wayne) Allard (of Colorado) about Neil Gorsuch, and Senator Allard suggested that we pass along Mr. Gorsuch's resume to you", Black wrote.

Furthermore, in that same book, Gorsuch questioned whether the Supreme Court had any business defending any sort of unenumerated constitutional rights under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Since Scalia's death the court has been divided equally 4-4 between conservatives and liberals.

Hopefully, senators on the committee - including Texas' duo, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz - will ask discerning questions helpful in reassuring the public about this judge's qualifications and demonstrating his fitness for the high court.

And some progressive groups support the low-key strategy being led by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

In an interview on CBS News' "Face The Nation", Cruz said he figures there's a "50/50" percent chance of a filibuster.

"Judge Gorsuch may act like a neutral, calm judge, but his record and his career clearly show he harbors a right-wing, pro-corporate, special-interest legal agenda", Schumer said.

But while left-leaning groups may be less than engaged, conservative legal advocates have put their money behind their message. It is time to confirm Neil Gorsuch.

The critics of Judge Gorsuch's nomination have, unfortunately, embraced a mistaken view of judging focused on the results and which party happened to prevail.

Most people in the LGBT community supports both rights, and most judges will say they do, too.

Written with his customary accessible clarity, Gorsuch's opinion in the Caplinger case was one of hundreds he has authored since he joined the bench as a President George W. Bush appointee in 2006. "He and (adviser Stephen) Bannon create so many distractions that what traditionally would have been a great fight - a Supreme Court nomination one year after Republicans would not allow a vote on a Democratic nomination - seems like an afterthought". "President Trump has promised to punish women and overturn Roe v. Wade", she says.

Gorsuch himself clerked for Justice Byron White seven years after White wrote the 1986 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick that held that any right to privacy in the federal constitution did not extend to private sexual relations between same-sex partners.

Since his January 31 nomination by President Donald Trump, Gorsuch has maneuvered throughout Capitol Hill without any apparent missteps. As a judge, he repeatedly sided with insurance companies that wanted to deny disability benefits and employers who wanted to cut pension benefits to employees, revealing himself as a staunch backer of corporations and willing accomplice in limiting worker's rights. This comes after their unprecedented partisan obstructionism, refusing a hearing or a vote on President Obama's nominee to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Antonin Scalia in February 2015, almost a full year before the end of the President's term. Previous year they refused to consider Democratic former president Barack Obama's nominee to fill the vacancy caused by the February 2016 death of conservative justice Antonin Scalia.

Related news