Amid the chaos, President Trump does something completely normal

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Good morning Austin:

Last night, President Trump announced his choice of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.

Trump’s and Gorsuch’s ties clashed a bit. That could have been better coordinated, though maybe that was intentional to maintain the event’s authenticity.

But otherwise, the announcement was unexpectedly, jarringly normal. There was none of the chaos and drama and insults that have characterized the first 11 days of Trump’s presidency.

Instead of using turmoil to distract from chaos, Trump reached into his bag of tricks and produced something I didn’t know he possessed – calm.

I knew we were in uncharted territory when Dahlia Lithwick, who writes about the courts for Slate ,was being interviewed after the announcement by Rachel Maddow and she said that Gorsuch was not a typical nihilist Trump nominee.

This is not someone who in any way doesn’t believe in the judicial branch, which is I think surprising because I think disruptors are kind of Trump’s thing.

And yet, Ted Cruz was pleased by the pick.

Very, very pleased.

Nearly giddy.

Here was Cruz’s statement on the Gorsuch pick:

Last year, after the unexpected passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Republicans drew a line in the sand on the behalf of the American people. Exercising our constitutional authority, we advised President Obama that we would not consent to a Supreme Court nominee until We the People, in the presidential election, were able to choose between an originalist and a progressive vision of the Constitution.

In November, the People spoke, clearly. They elected President Donald Trump, who had repeatedly promised to nominate a justice firmly committed to the following the law and the original understanding of the Constitution. Today, with the nomination of the Honorable Neil Gorsuch from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, President Trump has fulfilled that promise, and the rule of law will be all the better for it.

Like the renowned justice he is set to replace, Judge Gorsuch is brilliant and immensely talented. He has impeccable qualifications, having clerked at the Supreme Court, excelled in private practice, served at the highest levels of the Justice Department, and garnered a stellar reputation over the past decade as an appellate judge. More importantly, though, he also mirrors Justice Scalia in that he has a proven track record of honoring the Constitution, following the text of the law, and refraining from imposing his policy preferences from the bench. As a result of his fidelity to law, he has proven to be a champion of federalism, the constitutional separation of powers, religious liberty, and all of the fundamental liberties enshrined in our Bill of Rights. I couldn’t be happier with his selection.

Indeed, I wholeheartedly applaud President Trump for nominating Judge Gorsuch. Our country desperately needs Supreme Court justices who revere the Constitution and are willing to elevate it over their own personal preferences, and Judge Gorsuch has demonstrated that faithfulness. Eleven years ago, the Senate was so confident in Judge Gorsuch’s abilities that it confirmed him by voice vote. In the time since, he has shown himself worthy of that distinction, and I would hope that my Senate colleagues give him the respect he deserves this time around, as well, and support his confirmation.

And John Cornyn’s:

Judge Gorsuch is an excellent choice to serve as our next Supreme Court Justice. A jurist of the highest caliber, he has served with distinction and a demonstrated commitment to the rule of law.

The American people made clear last November that they wanted a judge who would interpret the law, not legislate from the bench. I’m confident that Judge Gorsuch will follow Justice Scalia’s example, adhering to the Constitution and fairly applying the law on behalf of all Americans.

The President has picked a mainstream nominee unanimously supported by Democrats in the past. I hope my colleagues across the aisle will allow an up-or-down vote on this bipartisan, highly qualified nominee.”

And Gov. Greg Abbott’s:

I applaud President Trump’s unwavering commitment to appoint a Supreme Court Justice in the mold of the great Antonin Scalia. Judge Gorsuch’s record to date demonstrates him to be an originalist who will uphold the Rule of Law and help restore the balance of power between the states and the federal government as the Founders intended. In the days ahead and the years to come, I pray that God blesses Judge Gorsuch with wisdom and resolve as he faces the confirmation process and assumes a place on the Supreme Court.

And Attorney General Ken Paxton’s:

President Trump has made an outstanding selection in nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch for the United States Supreme Court. There is no other candidate in America who embodies the legal intellect and judicial temperament of the late Antonin Scalia more than Judge Gorsuch. His judicial track record while serving on the 10th Circuit for over a decade is a testament to his conservative philosophy, particularly in the areas of excessive federal overreach and the protection of religious liberty. I am confident that, like his predecessor, Judge Gorsuch will faithfully interpret the Constitution as written by the Framers, exercise judicial restraint, and not legislate from the bench.”

There was, as Frank Bruni wrote in today’s New York Times, a bit of The Supreme Court Meets Reality TV, in the roll out.

You can take the man out of “The Apprentice,” but you can’t take “The Apprentice” out of the man.

President Trump unveiled his nominee for the Supreme Court on Tuesday night, and like so much about his campaign and now his administration, the announcement had some of the unreal aspects of reality TV.

There were reports that he had summoned both of the two finalists to Washington: An elimination contest! He had programmed the big reveal for primetime. No slow leak of the news followed by its anti-climactic confirmation. No muted moment in the Rose Garden in the middle of the day.

Instead, an orchestrated drumroll and then a television appearance at the same hour — 8 p.m. Eastern — when “The Apprentice” sometimes used to begin. Just like old times, but with “you’re fired” replaced by “you’re hired” (pending Senate confirmation).

The pick was Neil Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge in Denver who has the blessing of conservatives and a resume of extraordinary accomplishment. When he stepped to the microphone, he showed none of Trump’s proud irreverence, none of Trump’s self-conscious flashiness.

He projected a quality that doesn’t exist in Trump’s wheelhouse — modesty — by saying that he was “acutely aware of my own imperfections” and noting that a “judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge.”

“I am humbled,” he said, using an adjective without much currency in Trump’s vocabulary.

Now comes a partisan fight, made all the more heated by Republicans’ sustained, steadfast refusal to hold hearings on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland last year and by Democrats’ horror over so much of what the Trump administration has done so far.

While Gorsuch isn’t as divisive a choice as others Trump might have made, that may not matter. The relationship between Trump and Democrats is deteriorating so far so fast that every battle could wind up being an all-out war.

But this does put Democrats in an interesting dilemma.

There would be the usual ideological reasons for liberals to oppose Gorsuch.

And, a dozen days into what the they consider the dangerous madness of the Trump presidency, Democratic senators, and the party’s grassroots, want and feel obliged to try to thwart and oppose him at every turn. But, do they really want to get into a long, ugly fight over one of Trump’s most rational decisions?

From Neil Kayta, an acting solicitor general in the Obama administration, law professor at Georgetown and a partner at Hogan Lovells, in today’s New York Times,Why Liberals Should Back Neil Gorsuch

I am hard-pressed to think of one thing President Trump has done right in the last 11 days since his inauguration. Until Tuesday, when he nominated an extraordinary judge and man, Neil Gorsuch, to be a justice on the Supreme Court.

The nomination comes at a fraught moment. The new administration’s executive actions on immigration have led to chaos everywhere from the nation’s airports to the Department of Justice. They have raised justified concern about whether the new administration will follow the law. More than ever, public confidence in our system of government depends on the impartiality and independence of the courts.

There is a very difficult question about whether there should be a vote on President Trump’s nominee at all, given the Republican Senate’s history-breaking record of obstruction on Judge Merrick B. Garland — perhaps the most qualified nominee ever for the high court. But if the Senate is to confirm anyone, Judge Gorsuch, who sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver, should be at the top of the list.

I believe this, even though we come from different sides of the political spectrum. I was an acting solicitor general for President Barack Obama; Judge Gorsuch has strong conservative bona fides and was appointed to the 10th Circuit by President George W. Bush. But I have seen him up close and in action, both in court and on the Federal Appellate Rules Committee (where both of us serve); he brings a sense of fairness and decency to the job, and a temperament that suits the nation’s highest court.

 

RICK PERRY ADVANCES

 

 

 

 

 

 

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