Judge Neil Gorsuch largely dodged controversial proposals peddled by Donald Trump from the campaign stump -- proposals that have already prompted litigation and very well may end up at the Supreme Court -- at his confirmation hearing Tuesday.
He said that he would have “no difficulty” ruling against Trump, but often deflected on getting into speculation on specific cases or issues. On Trump’s promise to ban Muslims -- which has manifested in a travel ban against about a half dozen countries since he took office -- Gorsuch would not comment on Trump’s latest version of the policy, and would only said that "government must meet strict scrutiny" before implementing a regulation based on religious belief.
When grilled on Trump’s comments about bringing back torture, Gorsuch pointed to existing statutes on detainee treatment and the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Asked by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) if Trump had the right to “the right to authorize torture if it” violated those laws, Gorsuch said, “no man is above the law.”
Where the judge was most clear and definitive in his Trump-related answers Tuesday was in denying that there any sort of litmus test invoked while he was being vetted for his nomination by Trump.
On the campaign trail, Trump promised to select a judge for the Supreme Court who would be strong on gun rights and would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion decision.
"I would have walked out of the door," Gorsuch said, when asked by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) what he would have done if Trump asked for a commitment to overturn Roe.
Read More →