Senator Chuck Schumer Considers Supreme Court Confirmation Delay
By: Martin Hunter, Xiro Xone News March 24, 2017 Updated: 5:55 PM
Last year President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the seat left vacant by Antonin Scalia’s death over a year ago, but Republicans refused to hold hearings, believing Garland would tip the ideological balance of the court more left, than right.
After the presidential election, President Trump chose federal judge, Neil Gorsuch, as his Supreme Court nominee, to fill the conservative seat.
As the Gorsuch confirmation hearings got underway, serious revelations and previously unknown investigations involving President Trump and members of his campaign and transition team have taken center stage.
As early as Wednesday morning Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer started calling on Democratic lawmakers to refuse to vote on Gorsuch’s confirmation while the Trump administration is under FBI investigation.
When asked about his decision, Senator Schumer said, “You can bet, if the shoe were on the other foot and a Democratic president was under investigation by the FBI, the Republicans would be howling at the moon about filling a Supreme Court seat in such circumstances. After all, they stopped a president who wasn’t under investigation from filling a seat with nearly a year left in his presidency. It is unseemly to be moving forward so fast on confirming a Supreme Court justice with a lifetime appointment, while this big gray, gray cloud of an FBI investigation hangs over the presidency.”
Many in Schumer’s party agree and as of today, Schumer will vote, no. Some democrats remarked how last year, President Obama carried out his constitutional responsibility of putting forth a nominee who was never given a hearing and a vote.
The major concern for democrats is past opinions written by Judge Gorsuch that have been in favor of big money, big business. And less in favor of the little guy or pro se litigants who cannot afford an attorney.
Just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court in an 8-0 decision, decided against a case presided over by Judge Gorsuch who believed, a school did not have to provide anything other than the smallest amount of education to an autistic child. Gorsuch, in a 2008 opinion that involved Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which requires that the public school systems that take certain federal funds, provide a “free appropriate public education” to certain students with disabilities. In this case, a student with autism.
Under Gorsuch’s opinion in Luke P., a school district complies with the law so long as they provide educational benefits that “must merely be ‘more than de minimis.’” “De minimis” is a Latin phrase meaning so little to almost none. Gorsuch essentially decided that school districts complied with their obligation to disabled students so long as they provide those students with the smallest amount or bare minimum education.
All eight Supreme Court justices rejected Gorsuch’s approach. Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “is markedly more demanding than the ‘merely more than de minimis’ test applied by the Tenth Circuit.” Indeed, Roberts added, Gorsuch’s approach would effectively strip many disabled students of their right to an education. Roberts went on:
“When all is said and done, a student offered an educational program providing “merely more than de minimis” progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all. For children with disabilities, receiving instruction that aims so low would be tantamount to “sitting idly . . . awaiting the time when they were old enough to ‘drop out.’”
Democrats believe this case alone, is enough to slow down the confirmation hearing and find out more about the jurist before handing him a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.