Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, has already been surrounded by criticism for his spot is a vacancy that was stolen by Republicans. Gorsuch has also earned himself a fair share of criticism on his own for the way he’s been so aggressively handling his role. According to The New Yorker:
‘Gorsuch’s speeches might appear less distasteful to his colleagues if he had made an otherwise more graceful début on the Court. As Linda Greenhouse observed in the Times at the end of Gorsuch’s first term, he managed to violate the Court’s traditions as soon as he arrived. He dominated oral arguments, when new Justices are expected to hang back. He instructed his senior colleagues, who collectively have a total of a hundred and forty years’ experience on the Court, about how to do their jobs.’
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard redistricting arguments in the Gill vs. Whitford case regarding political gerrymandering. Mark Joseph Stern writes:
‘Partisan gerrymandering distorts democracy in a particularly pernicious way: When legislators draw maps that strongly favor their party, they create a majority that is both entrenched and endurable. Gill is a challenge to Wisconsin’s map, and the state provides an excellent example of this phenomenon. While drawing maps in 2010, Wisconsin Republicans engaged in “packing and cracking”—sticking most Democrats in a few safe Democratic districts and distributing the rest through safe Republican districts.’
The justices argued the case for about an hour when Gorsuch spoke, saying:
‘Maybe we can just for a second talk about that arcane matter, the Constitution.’
Gorsuch mistakenly took the opportunity to give everyone an arrogant lecture about the text of the Constitution, and then asked:
‘And where exactly do we get authority to revise state legislative lines? When the Constitution authorizes the federal government to step in on state legislative matters, it’s pretty clear—if you look at the Fifteenth Amendment, you look at the Nineteenth Amendment, the Twenty-sixth Amendment, and even the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 2.’
Ginsburg who might have seemed like she wasn’t paying attention, quickly pounced on his argument saying:
‘Where did “one person, one vote” come from?’
According to The New Yorker:
‘In one cutting remark, Ginsburg summed up how Gorsuch’s patronizing lecture omitted some of the Court’s most important precedents, and Smith gratefully followed up on it: “That’s what Reynolds v. Sims and Baker v. Carr did, and a number of other cases that have followed along since.” In these cases, from the early nineteen-sixties, the Court established that the Justices, via the First and Fourteenth Amendments, very much had the right to tell states how to run their elections.’
What Smith was saying is that voters have every right to turn to the court system to address their grievances about partisan gerrymandering.
Ginsburg’s words successfully stopped Gorsuch in his tracks because it was said that he remained silent for the rest of the arguments. It took her only a few minutes to take him down off his high horse and put him in his place.
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