Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Gorsuch Gaffe: It was 'disheartening' to see such a promising nominee to the high court lose his bearings-Editorial of The New York Sun, Feb. 8, 2017

Feb. 8, 2017, "The Gorsuch Gaffe," Editorial of The New York Sun

"Talk about disheartening. That’s the word President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, is using to describe President Trump’s remarks in respect of the riders of the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals. The president is upset at their politicking over his order to tighten up on immigration. Is the president’s pique so disheartening? Not to us. 

What’s so disheartening is to see such a promising nominee to the high court lose his bearings in a storm.

What in the world was Judge Gorsuch thinking? President Trump expressed his exasperation with the 9th Circuit’s pettifogging in remarks to police chiefs. The president was right Trumansesque in the bluntness with which he made clear his views of the judges’ shenanigans. Judge Gorsuch then fetched up in the office of the senior Democratic senator from the People’s Republic of Connecticut, and starts wringing his hands about the behavior of the president who nominated him.

It would be surprising to us if by chastising his nominator Judge Gorsuch gained any quarter whatsoever from the Democrats. Not even a micron of a quarter. The opposition senators announced they were against Mr. Trump’s nominee even before his name was put up by the President. It would not be surprising, though, were Mr. Trump to turn around and yank Judge Gorsuch’s nomination and send up to the Senate a candidate who can keep his or her cool.

Certainly Mr. Trump is ahead of his critics in his understanding of this situation — just as he was ahead of the entire Republican field, not to mention the Democratic intelligentsia, in understanding the politics of the 2016 election. Every single voter who cast a ballot for Mr. Trump comprehends that the 9th Circuit is behaving in a political fashion. If it weren’t, the Circuit would have dismissed the lawsuit from the State of Washington for the ideological grandstanding that it was.

Every sentient voter in America gets this. It is hard to think of a campaign promise in the whole history of the Republic that was more clear than Mr. Trump’s vow that he was going to tighten up on immigration until he can get a handle on the situation in the middle of this war. So what if it wasn’t everyone’s priority? That it was one of the mandates the voters gave to the winner of this election is unmistakable. Since when did it become unconstitutional to keep campaign promises?

There used to be a concept in law that political matters were non-justiciable. National security matters, too. It’s easy to understand why, given the way our powers are separated and the inherently secretive nature of military and intelligence matters. As the courts have thrust themselves into political questions, confidence in the Supreme Court has begun to decline. It’s still higher than Congress, but that’s not saying much.

In a Pew poll from late 2015, a favorable view of the Supreme Court obtained among but 50% of Americans. The percentage of Americans who had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the Supreme Court slumped to 3 in the decade ending in 2006, according to Gallup. Where Americans confidence reposes, it turns out, is in the military, the police, and religion. The Supreme Court’s slide is what’s disheartening. 

It is not President Trump’s criticism of the courts that precipitated that slide. On the contrary, Mr. Trump is but one of the millions of voters who are upset by the politicization of the courts and he has emerged as a tribune for, among other things, millions of citizens who feel similarly. We’re among them. It’s not that we’ve lost our oft-expressed admiration for the greatest of our judges. They are heroes of the Republic. 

To protect them was an enumerated reason for seceding from Britain, which is why when they fail to redeem that bet it is so particularly — to use Judge Gorsuch’s phrase — disheartening."


Added: US Circuit Court decisions overturned or vacated are a matter of public record and commented upon all the time. Judges are political appointments, we wish them well, but they're not saints. Following, "Scoring the Circuits," for example, describes a four year average, 2010-2014:

"For the last four Terms including the current session [through June 2014]...the Court has reversed or vacated and sent back 79.5% of the Ninth Circuit decisions it has reviewed."...

6/22/2014, "SCOTUS for law students (sponsored by Bloomberg Law): Scoring the circuits,", Stephen Wermiel

"As the Supreme Court nears the completion of its current Term, it is interesting to explore the track records of the courts whose decisions the Justices reviewed.

 Most of the approximately seventy-five cases the Justices hear and decide each Term come from the federal appeals courts, which are divided into twelve regional circuits that cover the country.... 

The (Supreme Court) Justices have long had a seemingly contentious relationship with the Ninth Circuit, which covers most of the western United States and Hawaii and Alaska. Far more cases come to the Court from the Ninth Circuit than any other court, and — not surprisingly — Ninth Circuit rulings make up a sizeable portion of the docket of argued and decided cases – 75 cases, or 25.7% for the last four Terms including the current session [through June 2014].  During that period, the Court has reversed or vacated and sent back 79.5% of the Ninth Circuit decisions it has reviewed."...


Added: Letter to the Editor of the Chicago Tribune from recent State Dept. employee working in US refugee program:

2/7/17, "Letter: I have seen first-hand the abuse and fraud in the U.S. refugee program," Chicago Tribune, Letter to the Editor, Mary Doetsch, Wheeling

"I fully support President Donald Trump's executive order that temporarily halts admissions from the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and bans travel from nationals of countries that potentially pose a security risk to the United States; however, I don’t think the action goes far enough. Further, I believe there are many people throughout the country who feel the same way. 

As a recently retired 25-year veteran of the U.S. Department of State who served almost eight years as a refugee coordinator throughout the Middle East, Africa, Russia and Cuba, I have seen first-hand the abuses and fraud that permeate the refugee program and know about the entrenched interests that fight every effort to implement much-needed reform.  

Despite claims of enhanced vetting, the reality is that it is virtually impossible to vet an individual who has no type of an official record, particularly in countries compromised by terrorism. U.S. immigration officials simply rely on the person’s often rehearsed and fabricated “testimony.” I have personally seen this on hundreds of occasions
As a refugee coordinator, I saw the exploitations, inconsistencies and security lapses in the program, and I advocated strongly for change. Nonetheless, during the past decade and specifically under the Obama administration, the Refugee Admissions Program continued to expand blindly, seemingly without concern for security or whether it served the best interests of its own citizens. 

For instance, the legally questionable resettlement of refugees from Malta to the United States grew substantially, despite the fact that as a European country with a functioning asylum system, “refugees” should have remained there under the internationally accepted concept of “the country of first asylum.” Similarly, the “special” in-country refugee programs in Cuba and Russia continue, although they are laden with fraud and far too often simply admit economic migrants rather than actual refugees.

As an insider who understands its operations, politics and weaknesses, I believe the refugee program must change dramatically and the courts must allow the president to fully implement the order."

-"Mary Doetsch, Wheeling" 


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