legal-affairs

Nuclear Option Looms as Supreme Court Hearings Wrap Up
Senators ready to blame opposing party for any upending of Senate rules

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies on the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings wrapping up, senators will soon confront whether his nomination will upend Senate rules.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not yet said  whether he would move to change Senate rules that currently require 60 votes to end debate on Gorsuch’s nomination. If eight members of the Democratic caucus do not join the 52 Republicans to move the nomination forward, McConnell could move to change the rules, lowering the threshold to a simple majority.

The Supreme Court Confirmation Battle That Began 30 Years Ago
Three senators on Judiciary panel weathered watershed 1987 fight

Judge Robert Bork, nominated by President Ronald Reagan to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, is sworn before the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing in September 1987. (John Duricka/AP File Photo)

In one of the more striking moments from the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch this week, Sen. Charles E. Grassley offered this advice:

Don’t answer every question.

Trump Claims Vindication on Surveillance News
But information was collected legally, according to top Republican

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, makes his way from the committee’s offices to the microphones to hold a news conference in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump expressed a sense of vindication Wednesday after House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said that Trump campaign associates may have been caught up in a surveillance net.

“I somewhat do. I must tell you I somewhat do. I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found, I somewhat do,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

Gorsuch Avoids Missteps at Supreme Court Hearing
“I have no difficulty ruling for or against any party”

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies on the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Hart Building, March 21, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch spent 11 hours Tuesday abstaining from giving personal opinions on controversial issues and reassuring critics that he isn’t beholden to President Donald Trump, generally avoiding the kind of major slip that could trip up his confirmation.

Gorsuch adopted a solemn tone at times and tried to add dashes of levity at others, as he fielded gentle Republican questions and fended off Democratic queries on abortion rights, campaign finance and his previous decisions on administrative law and workers rights.

Are Trump and McConnell Preparing the Next SCOTUS Pick?
Kentucky judge is a favorite of Senate majority leader

President Donald Trump might be looking to a close associate of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's for his next selection to the Supreme Court. (George LeVines/CQ Roll Call)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing is still underway, but President Donald Trump may have laid the groundwork for his next Supreme Court pick Monday night in the Bluegrass State.

As Trump was on stage for a campaign-style rally at Freedom Hall, members of the Kentucky press corps were reporting that the president intends to nominate Judge Amul Thapar to fill an appellate seat for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The White House made it official on Tuesday.

Opinion: Echoes of Watergate Could Spell Danger for Trump
But the bar for impeachment is high

Bipartisan consensus on impeaching the president, as was the case with President Richard M. Nixon’s Watergate scandal, can be reached only if the American people demand it, Holtzman writes. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach President Richard M. Nixon, the only impeachment effort to force a president from office in our country’s history. Today, many Americans, alarmed at President Donald Trump’s conduct, want him to be impeached and removed from office.

As a member of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, I found that impeachment was not easy or quick. Still, that impeachment effort may provide a useful road map for how to proceed today.

Gorsuch: Judges Aren’t ‘Politicians in Robes’
SCOTUS nominee tries to ease concerns about his legal philosophy

Judge Neil Gorsuch takes his seat for the first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on Monday for his Supreme Court nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Judge Neil Gorsuch used family details to introduce himself to the country Monday on the opening day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, and sought to ease Democrats’ concerns about his legal philosophy.

In his opening statement, Gorsuch spoke of starting off married life with his wife, Louise, in a small apartment. The federal appeals court judge shared his favorite memories of his teenage daughters, such as bathing chickens for the county fair. The Colorado native mentioned his father’s lessons that kindness is a great virtue and there are few experiences closer to God than wading in a trout stream.

Fellow Clerks Push Gorsuch Confirmation
Nominee’s colleagues from time together in D.C. express support

Judge Neil Gorsuch is President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Dozens of former law clerks of federal appeals judge David Sentelle have written to the Senate calling for quick confirmation of their onetime colleague Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

“We work for law firms, public interest groups, private companies, government entities, and academic institutions. What unites us is our firm conviction that Judge Gorsuch is eminently qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court,” wrote the 60 Sentelle clerks.

A Seminal Day in Trump’s Still-Young Presidency
Budget blueprint set to be released on same day as key health care vote

President Donald Trump faces one of the most consequential days of his presidency so far on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

An amped-up Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday stood at a White House podium, speaking quickly and unsure of what day it was. The new Office of Management and Budget chief’s demeanor, in many ways, was a fitting symbol of a frenetic presidency that faces major tests Thursday.

Outside the Beltway, President Donald Trump rallied his base Wednesday in Tennessee’s “Music City” and called for a “new Industrial Revolution” in Michigan’s “Motor City.” Those vibes give way Thursday a possible turning point in his 55-day-old presidency.

Ethics Watchdogs Make a Career of It
Norm Eisen and Richard Painter are among Trump’s most vocal critics

Norm Eisen served as former President Barack Obama’s ethics czar. (Courtesy Brookings.edu)

Norm Eisen, Barack Obama’s White House ethics czar, was such a stickler for enforcing the rules that even some colleagues privately expressed relief when he traipsed off to Prague for an ambassadorship.

Now, people can’t get enough of him.