Divisive Gorsuch Fight Leaves Political Mark On Supreme Court

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Publish Date:
April 7, 2017
Author(s):
  • Stohr, Greg
Source:
Bloomberg - BNA - Big Law Business
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Summary

Judge Neil Gorsuch is poised to win an intensely political confirmation fight to join a U.S. Supreme Court already struggling to stay above politics.

The Senate’s expected confirmation of Gorsuch Friday will restore the generally conservative majority that existed before Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last year. It could lead to new curbs on union powers and worker lawsuits while bolstering the rights of religious groups.

“I doubt the confirmation fight will have any effect on the court’s internal affairs,” said Michael McConnell, a former federal appeals court judge who now teaches at Stanford Law School. “The  justices know that politics is a nasty business. It might well affect public perception of the court.”

But the Gorsuch fight may alter the public’s perception of the court, McConnell says.

“When the public hears senators, members of the press, and other seeming authorities talk about judges and justices in a nakedly political way, they may leap to the conclusion that the courts are as political as the conversation about them,” he said.

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