Faced with an unchallengeable review of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch by the American Bar Association, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) instead responded Thursday by musing about what might have been.
A pair of representatives from the venerable organization testified on its conclusion that Gorsuch is “well qualified” — the group’s highest rating.
The association’s ratings traditionally are treated as the gold standard of a nominee’s qualifications, especially by liberals.
“For many of us, what has happened this past year has been very painful.”
Feinstein asked not a single question. Instead, she read from the Bar Association’s report — of the previous Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. It is the latest sign that Democrats are still stewing over what they regard as a “stolen seat” by Republicans who blocked Garland’s nomination pending the outcome of the November 2016 election.
“For many of us, what has happened this past year has been very painful,” said Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “And you have also done an evaluation of Judge Merrick Garland, who was not given the privilege even of a committee hearing.”
Feinstein read from excerpts of the bar report on Garland, quoting: “Garland’s integrity is off the scales, page five,” she said.
As the confirmation hearings head toward their conclusion, it is unclear what path Gorsuch’s nomination might take. Moderate Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) announced he would vote against Gorsuch. Republicans rejected a deal floated by Democrats not to filibuster the nomination in exchange for a commitment to require at least 60 votes for the next nominee.
At the hearing, Feinstein continued to read more lines from Garland’s Bar Association report:
- “Garland is the best there is. He’s the finest judge I’ve ever met. There’s no one who is a peer.”
- “Judge Garland has no weaknesses … He may be the perfect human being.”
- “He is unnaturally blessed with brilliance. Things come to him quickly.”
- “In my opinion, there is no better federal judge than Chief Judge Garland.”
Feinstein also noted that the Garland review concluded that his integrity was “flawless,” his competence “terrific,” and that people said “nothing bad about him” during the bar’s investigation.
“I read this to dispel anybody’s thinking that this man was not worthy of this committee’s hearing,” she said.
Of course, none of the Republican senators questioned Garland’s competence or integrity. Instead, they argued that the American people should have a role in filling the vacancy with their votes in the 2016 presidential election.
“And I think Judge Gorsuch made very clear yesterday, and the day before, his feelings about the competency of Garland, as well,” committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said.
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