Neil Gorsuch

Democrats Falsely Claim Gorsuch Resists Endorsing Landmark Desegregation Ruling

The SCOTUS nominee called Brown v. Board of Education "one of the shining moments in constitutional history."



One telling measure of Democrats' desperation to find reasons for opposing Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court is the extent to which they have misrepresented his statements regarding Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 decision that said racial segregation in public schools violates the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection. On March 27, during a meeting at which the Senate Judiciary Committee discussed Gorsuch's nomination, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) claimed "he wouldn't say" when asked whether he "support[ed]" Brown. On CNN yesterday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said he had "asked [Gorsuch] repeatedly to say whether he agreed" with Brown, and "he refused to say whether it was correct or not." The New York Times quotes Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) as saying, "My understanding was he wouldn't even vouch for Brown v. Board of Education."

Warner's understanding is wrong, and so are Feinstein and Blumenthal's recollections. Blumenthal first asked Gorsuch about Brown on March 21, the second day of his confirmation hearing:

Blumenthal: Do you agree with the result in Brown v. Board of Education?

Gorsuch: Senator, Brown v. Board of Education corrected an erroneous decision—a badly erroneous decision—and vindicated a dissent by the first Justice Harlan in Plessy v. Ferguson where he correctly identified that separate [but equal] to advantage one race can never be equal.

Blumenthal: And do you agree with the result?

Gorsuch: In Plessy? No.

Blumenthal: Do you agree with the result in Brown v. Board?

Gorsuch: Brown v. Board of Education, Senator, was a correct application…of the law and precedent.

Blumenthal: By the way, when Chief Justice Roberts testified before this committee and he was asked by Senator Kennedy, quote, "Do you agree with the Court's conclusion?"— meaning in Brown, that the segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race is unconstitutional—Judge Roberts answered unequivocally, quote, "I do." Would you agree with Judge Roberts?

Gorsuch: Senator, there's no daylight here.

Blumenthal: OK…

Gorsuch: Justice Harlan got the original meaning of the Equal Protection Clause right the first time. And the Court recognized that belatedly. It's one of the great stains on the Supreme Court's history that it took it so long to get to that decision.

In short, Gorsuch said Brown was "a correct application of the law and precedent," which means it was properly decided; he said his position on Brown was the same as Chief Justice Roberts'; and he said Brown rightly vindicated Harlan's view of the Equal Protection Clause. That seems pretty unequivocal to me. But it did not satisy Blumenthal, who repeated his question the next day:

Blumenthal: I want to go back to some questions I asked you yesterday, which perhaps you didn't get a chance to clarify. And I want to give you that opportunity. You recall we were talking about Brown v. Board of Education. And you said, I believe, that you agree with that decision. Do I have it correctly?

Gorsuch: Senator, it is a seminal decision of the United States Supreme Court, interpreting the 14th Amendment, maybe one of the great moments in Supreme Court history.

Blumenthal: You said, and I quote, that it "corrected an erroneous decision, a badly erroneous decision," end quote, and you called it, quote, "a correct application of the law of precedent," end quote. And you said also that it vindicated a dissent, quote, "that got the original meaning of the Equal Protection [Clause] right." That sounds to me like you agreed with the result in Brown v. Board of Education.

Gorsuch: Senator, you can characterize it however you want. I've said what I said….I stick by what I said.

Blumenthal: So unlike Justice Kennedy and Justice Roberts, Chief Justice Roberts, in their confirmation hearings, you will not say that you agree that it was the right result.

Gorsuch: Senator, I've said it's a seminal decision of the United States Supreme Court that corrected a badly erroneous decision. It vindicated the original understanding and the correct original meaning…of the 14th Amendment. It is one of the shining moments in constitutional history in the United States Supreme Court. That's what I've said.

Blumenthal: So why will you not say that you agree with the result?

Gorsuch: Senator…I'm not sure what we're arguing about here.

Blumenthal: We're not arguing. I'm just asking why you are so averse to saying "yes, it was the right result"?

Gorsuch: I'm saying, as a judge, it was a seminal decision that got the original understanding of the 14th Amendment right and corrected one of the most deeply erroneous interpretations of law in Supreme Court history: Plessy v. Ferguson, which is a dark, dark stain on our court's history. And it took way too long for the United States Supreme Court to get the 14th Amendment right. It's an embarrassment in our history. That's what I've said, Senator.

Blumenthal: And Chief Justice Roberts, in response to Senator Kennedy's question, quote, "Do you agree with the court's conclusion that the segregation of children in public schools, solely on the basis of race, is unconstitutional?" [said] quote, "I do." You said yesterday, and I'm quoting you now, that there's "no daylight" between you and Justice Roberts.

Gorsuch: Respectfully, I don't see any daylight between what I've just said and what you've just quoted from the chief.

Blumenthal: OK.

Gorsuch:I just don't, Senator. We're on the same page on Brown v. Board of Education, Senator.

Blumenthal: OK.

Gorsuch: It's a great and important decision.

Blumenthal apparently was frustrated by Gorsuch's failure to phrase his agreement with Brown (and with Blumenthal) in exactly the way that Blumenthal preferred. But these exchanges leave no doubt that Gorsuch believes Brown, which he called "a great and important decision" and "one of the shining moments in constitutional history," was correctly decided. In fact, that was Blumenthal's understanding at the time. The next day, the fourth day of the confirmation hearing, Blumenthal said, "Yesterday, when I asked Judge Gorsuch about Brown v. Board of Education, he said in effect that that decision was correctly reached, that the result was correct. He agreed with it." Yet 11 days later, there was Blumenthal on CNN, insisting that Gorsuch "refused to say whether it was correct or not."

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  1. Let’s say they dems weren’t simply playing political games. Do you really think anyone in Washington wants strict interpretation of the constitution?
    The constitution is anathema to all politicians. The document implicitly calls for limited government.
    We can’t have that here because amercians have become dependent pussies.

  2. If I’m not mistaken, Brown was decided in 1954, so why is the judiciary committee asking a nominee about it 63 years later? Are there cases likely to come before the court that would challenge the ruling in Brown?

    1. He’s challenging the nominee’s wokeness. It is all they have left any more.

      1. He’s challenging the nominee’s wokeness.

        This. He failed to say the magical incantation “Yes, I agree with the court’s decision in Brown v Board of Education because racism is teh badz, as any goodthinkful person would agree.” Or something like that. Instead he spouted a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about how it “was a correct application…of the law and precedent.” As if the Senator gives 2 shits about the proper application of the law and precedent. This was all about vindicating the Senator and any other progressive’s feelz, nothing more.

        1. He did not genuflect nor could he recite the proscribed catechisms required by leftist orthodoxy. The man is obviously a heretic. Unleash the filibuster!

    2. Anyone and everyone nominated by a conservative is a racist, it is known. They must all be outed through silly word games and then have their answers reinterpreted, otherwise the public would be too stupid to realize the threat of racism.
      As for any cases that could potentially come before the court, it seems more likely that we could see this challenged (probably in a lower court though) with the rising trend of minorities in universities demanding segregation.

    3. Every republican nominee has to go through this shit, listening to some democrat jerkoff asking douchey questions like “are you a racist who wants to secretly bring back legal segregation?”, all while mainting their composure the whole time and treating the farce as though it’s deadly serious.

      Why? Because the democrats survive on this kind of division and their loony base demands it.

  3. When you said yes, did you really mean it? How much did you mean it?

    1. It depends upon what the meaning of ‘yes’ is…

  4. Your mistake is in thinking anyone reading or watching CNN will have any interest in what they can look up on C-Span.

    1. Which is the entire intent in this line of questioning and obfuscation. To “cast doubt” no matter how specious, get some run time of sound bytes on networks, and produce opposition to back up a filibuster. They rely on idiots to keep their jobs and maintain their power base.

      Meanwhile, Kendall Jenner is wearing jeans with a whole bunch of holes in them. That’s important stuff you know.

  5. So suddenly the elected attorneys can’t understand lawyerspeak?

    1. Secret: We don’t and won’t. We’re paid to obfuscate. Sow seeds of confusion, harvest the work that results.

  6. The left has exactly one play left in the playbook. From the lowest street corner slogan shouter to the most important Senatorial hearing going on, it’s “Racist!”

    Also, if someone has a chance to grill a Supreme Court nominee, shouldn’t he or she have some more penetrating questions queued up than that? “Okay Judge Gorsuch. Um, big Supreme Court decisions…. yeah… let’s see. That racist one. From a hundred or so years ago. With the different train cars and stuff. Do you like that one?”

  7. I feel like anyone who can sit through a week-long confirmation hearing conducted by US Senators, without ever snapping and cracking open senatorial heads to feast upon the copious goo inside, has proven him or her self qualified for the position.

    1. This is so painful, I kinda hope Trump should puts both nuclear options on the table.

  8. Is Blumenthal actually retarded? Is English not his first language? How many ways can someone say “Yes” and not be understood?

    1. He was obviously fishing for an answer that he could use to point out that Gorsuch wants to put black people in chains.

      1. “But my client’s were KANGZ and have nothing to lose but their chains, your Honor!”
        “Sit down, Mr. Blumenthal.”

        1. how dare he reply like a lawyer and jurist…bow down to the rumpswabs

      2. Looks like he may have got it. A lot of evasion going on here, though it may just be a clash of egos.

  9. Sociopaths gotta be sociopathological.

  10. Blumenthal: And Chief Justice Roberts, in response to Senator Kennedy’s question, quote, “Do you agree with the court’s conclusion that the segregation of children in public schools, solely on the basis of race, is unconstitutional?” [said] quote, “I do.” You said yesterday, and I’m quoting you now, that there’s “no daylight” between you and Justice Roberts.

    Gorsuch: Senator, are you retarded? I mean, seriously retarded? Do you need me to say the same fucking thing five more times before you understand? This is why I’m fucking glad that senators don’t set foot in the Supreme Court. Fuck, you’re dumb.

    1. Hey, it worked for Trump. Maybe he should just go for it and say what he really is thinking. It would at least be awesomely amusing to watch.

      1. At this point, Mr. Blumenthal whether you get trampled to death by 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck, I don’t care.

      2. If things like that happened with any regularity, my TV would be set to C-Span forever.

    2. Motion to Strike the Senator!

      1. with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire?

  11. I’m not sure why Gorsuch didn’t just say “yes” when that was obviously what Blumenthal was looking for. But the idea that what he had said needed clarification is ludicrous.

    Just seems desperate on the part of the Democrats.

    1. I assume it’s Gorsuch being uptight about a judge not saying whether a ruling is “good” or “bad,” but whether it was properly decided. Blumenthal keeps up bringing the result of Brown, which could be interpreted as liking the ruling because you think integrated schools are good.

      1. Yeah, Gorsuch is having a different conversation. I don’t understand why he was so very resistant to saying he agreed with the decision. I assume he has a very academic reason for using 400 words when 4 would do.

        Honestly, if I were Blumenthal, I would also be confused and suspicious.

        1. If you were Blumenthal, you’d also be a brain dead fucking moron like him. is that really what you want?

        2. Because judges aren’t supposed to use personal opinion in judging. Therefore a proper judge will refuse to give a personal opinion about a case. They are supposed to refer to the law, the whole law, and nothing but the law.

          1. Then why do they write what are called “opinions”?

      2. That was my thought as well. Blumenthal may have been trying to lay the groundwork to get Gorsuch to endorse (or say something that could be twisted into an endorsement) of the courts making decisions to achieve the “correct result” rather than faithfully applying the law. Gorsuch may have been looking five moves ahead and decided not to give him an opening.

  12. The next day, the fourth day of the confirmation hearing, Blumenthal said, “Yesterday, when I asked Judge Gorsuch about Brown v. Board of Education, he said in effect that that decision was correctly reached, that the result was correct. He agreed with it.” Yet 11 days later, there was Blumenthal on CNN, insisting that Gorsuch “refused to say whether it was correct or not.”

    Christ, what an asshole. I hope Blumenthal gets Lou Gehrig’s disease.

    1. I hope he gets eaten by coyotes.

      1. who just happen to have ALS?

    2. Instead he’ll get at least a bridge named after him.

  13. I don’t know that I’d go so far as to call Brown a “shining example” without adding that it’s a shining example of good intentions run amuck. That bit about separate being inherently unequal started us down that slippery slope toward unequal being inherently unfair, aka “disparate impact”. Try that crap with the NFL – the only reason you don’t see any old Japanese women playing defensive end in the NFL is because they’re racist and sexist and ageist? That’s a ludicrous idea, yet a paucity of black female physicists can only mean one thing. And don’t you dare go looking into the question of whether or not there might be some other objectively rational explanation like maybe there’s some inherent differences between men and women and blacks and whites beyond the prevalence of facial hair and melanin.

    1. Brown didn’t run amok. It was a response to legally mandated segregation which was a pretty clear violation of the 14th amendment. It wasn’t anything to do with “disparate impact”.

      Things did go to far later, with forced bussing and disparate impact crap and all that. But I don’t think Brown itself ran amok. There is a big difference between the inequality of government institutions that are legally required to treat different races differently and the other, more natural disparities you list.

      1. We could have gotten 90% of civil rights benefits with 10% of the collateral damage if the feds had limited themselves to preventing state level racism.

        That said, given how hard the states worked to subvert the emancipation, perhaps that is wishful thinking. The real blame lies at the feet of the racists, not overreaching feds.

      2. I think it’s entirely reasonable that someone could agree wholeheartedly with the decision in Bown 1, but be reluctant to endorse it’s “result” if you understand that to include the decades of social engineering that came after. I’m not sure how Gorsuch interpreted the question but he’s obviously a smart guy unwilling to play word games with these clowns.

        1. “[…] unwilling to play word games with these clowns.”
          Are you kidding? That’s all he did. Play word games, evade and dodge, and completely avoid saying anything of substance.

          1. Brown v. Board of Education, Senator, was a correct application…of the law and precedent.

            No substance at all.

            1. The question was about about how Gorsuch felt about a verdict, and he hid behind history.

              So yeah, no substance at all.

            2. The question was about about how Gorsuch felt about a verdict, and he hid behind history.

              So yeah, no substance at all.

  14. Senator Blumenthal, the decision in Brown v Board of Education is as praiseworthy as your military service during the Viet Nam war.

  15. While I agree the Democrats are playing gotcha on this, the incident still lowers my opinion of Gorsuch’s intelligence — the only way Blumenthal could have more clearly tried to help him out on this was if Blumenthal had literally held up a sign that said, “Say ‘I agree with the decision in Brown.'” Being a judge, you’d think Gorsuch could have figured that one out when people kept asking him question about it.

    1. Unequivocal endorsement of any de ision might be construed as prejudging future cases or be entrapped in endorsing some aspect of the opinion’s reasoning that is controversial.

      1. He needs to say that. But he was probably flabbergasted by the amateur debate tactics of 4 days worth of senate hearings.

    2. If by “intelligence” you mean “willingness to cravenly play into the pockets of a vile Democrat”.

    3. I am a lawyer and I know from experience that whenever your adversary tries to restate something that sounds similar (but isn’t) to what you just said, you need to look at it very carefully to see if they’re trying to change the meaning. Gorsuch talked about Brown in terms of being the correct application of the law. Blumenthal talked about it in terms of getting the right result. There’s a world of difference between the two. Gorsuch probably thought (rightfully so) that Blumenthal was trying to get him to say something that could be twisted into an admission that judges should make their decisions based on whether something has the right “result” even if it means going against the text of the Constitution. By refusing to go down that path, Gorsuch preserved his credibility with conservatives who don’t want the Supreme Court to act as a mini-legislature.

      1. Very enlightening. Thank you!

      2. Gorsuch talked about Brown in terms of being the correct application of the law. Blumenthal talked about it in terms of getting the right result.
        So what you’re saying is that Gorsuch, not liking the question that Blumenthal was asking, decided to answer a different question instead. And then pretended confusion when Blumenthal, who saw that he was obviously answering a question he didn’t ask, asked again.

        It may be routine lawyerly slime, but it’s still slime.

        1. I don’t think it’s that he didn’t like the question. He knows Blumenthal is trying to trip him up, and was savvy enough to see what Bluementhal was up to.

        2. Or Blumenthal was asking an improper question along the lines of “when did you stop beating your wife?”, and Gorsuch was looking fir a tactful way out if it.

          1. People love that example, but it’s pretty easy to get out of: “When she said the safe word.”

            Snark aside, that asking about historical SCOTUS cases is now “improper” is certainly a problem.

            Any other job interview and you can expect questions about what and how you’d do the job. But when we’re talking about a lifetime appointment to one of the three co-equal branches of government, it’s suddenly “improper” to ask their opinion on a past case, or their thoughts on something coming up?

            1. While it may not be improper for senators to ask nominees “their opinion on a past case, or their thoughts on something coming up,” the current standard for how judicial nominees respond to such questions was set in 1993 by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, when she met before this Senate committee.

              I recall how she flat-out refused to answer questions put to her by senators about Roe v. Wade and abortion, indicating it would not be “appropriate,” given how cases could come up. After the chaos of the Bork and Thomas hearings, held not long before, I recall being amazed at how she handled this, as well as the fact that the senators allowed her to do so.

              That’s been the model followed ever since, so nothing “sudden” about this.

        3. You’re just a thoroughgoing idiot, aren’t you. Blumenthal wanted Gorsuch to agree that Brown was the right decision because it yielded good results. Gorsuch, being an originalist, does not agree with this consequentialist judicial approach, and instead stated that the decision was correct, for juristic reasons.

          Blumenthal’s insistence on the phrasing (that Gorsuch agree on the basis of the result) was what was irrelevant. Now, maybe Blumenthal wasn’t trying to force Gorsuch into a ‘living constitutionalist’ framework (Blumenthal is likely too stupid to have a coherent judicial philosophy), maybe it was entirely accidental, but that appears to be how Gorsuch interpreted it. And why shouldn’t he; he’s right to be paranoid that everything is a trap, given that the whole point of these hearings is to lay little traps for appointees.

          You would realize this if you didn’t infallibly carry water for the Democratic party.

  16. So not just lies but coordinated lies. Ezra Klein’s influence is still strong.

  17. If someone asks you a yes/no question, and you give a paragraph response, I think it’s perfectly natural to say “yeah, they didn’t answer the question, they just gave a purposefully obfuscating non-answer”.

    So I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Gorsuch didn’t answer the question, he answered the question he wished he’d been asked. Just like he did over and over during the proceedings, giving weasely lawyer answers rather then answering the question that would give insight to his judgement. You know, the actual purpose? of the hearings?

    All that said, the only thing that should stop Gorsuch’s nomination at this point would be if Congress actually started impeachment proceedings for Trump. Barring that, his nomination shouldn’t be held up.
    ?Looking at the history of the SCOTUS in particular and judges in general, I find the notion that judges “apply the law” witjout bias to be laughable. Maybe there’s some judge out there that actually does that, and is deeply unhappy with the rulings they feel forced to make, but I’ve seen no evidence of it. What I see is that judges are all very smart and educated men and women and very good at rationalizing whatever outcome they want. So yeah, we aren’t nominating SCOTUS justices based on their ability to apply the law. We already know that. We’re nominating them based on their judgement. And that’s one of the topics Gorsuch completely refused to talk about.

    1. If you give a paragraph response to a yes/no question, it may not have actually been a question that could be simply answered by a yes or no.

      It does not change the fact that Blumenthal is blatantly lying about what Gorsuch said or is a complete moron. I cannot rule our both conditions being true.

      1. As a SCOTUS? Justice Gorsuch will never be able to avoid a question like that short of recusing himself. If Brown v. Board of Education comes up (somehow), he won’t be able to say “there’s no daylight” and hide behind Robert’s skirt, call it a shining example, or so-on. He will have to put his name on “yes” or “no”?, even if he feels the need to write a twenty page book to support his answer.

        So yeah, him using lawyer slime to evade the question? I’m not gonna fault Blumenthal for rounding that from “he gave an imprecise evasive answer that’s as useful as tea leaves” to “he didn’t answer”.
        ?The only thing I think could or should stop the confirmation at this point would be if Congress started impeachment proceedings for President Trump, and there’s no reason to suspect that’s happening at all, nevertheless happening this week.
        ?He may, occasionally, be able to pull off “yes and no” like Roberts did in the ACA case, but if that’s not rare, then his nomination was a big mistake.

    2. Hasn’t that been true for awhile now ? I would think it perfectly legitimate to ask a nominee about free speech and campaign finance laws, for example. If I were a Senator, I’d want to get your thoughts on current issues. But it as become the norm for nominees to say, oh no I can’t comment on an issue that I may be called to rule on. It’s a very strange “job interview” where the candidate says, I can’t really tell you how I would handle the job.

      1. “Hasn’t that been true for awhile now ?”

        But I’m still young enough to complain about political theater.

  18. When it comes to GOP nominees for the high-court, Dems lie, lie again, and lie some more……it’s all they know.

  19. It does sound like weasel words to me, I have to admit. I come away thinking he may have some problem with Brown and I am curious as to what it could be.

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