Until now, the mainstream media has not said much about President Trump’s judicial nominees. But that has begun to change.
A series of articles in recent days shows that judges – an area where even the president’s harshest critics on the right admit he has done a good job – will be the media’s next target.
Nina Totenberg, who covers the courts for National Public Radio, thinks Trump Supreme Court appointee Neil Gorsuch is not getting along with other members of the Court, she said on First Monday, a Supreme Court podcast.
“It was really striking – I don’t know how to put this diplomatically – how awkward Justice Gorsuch is and how much he ticks off some of the members of the Court, and I don’t think it’s just the liberals, although it’s certainly their hackles that you can see rise the most prominently.”
Totenberg said Gorsuch’s remarks from the bench have not won him any friends.
“There’s a lot of ‘Well, I start with the text of the Constitution, which is a good thing to do,’ or, ‘There is a solution to this, and it’s called legislation,’” Totenberg said in what was described as a “mocking tone.”
This has raised the ire of Justice Elena Kagan, Totenberg said.
“My surmise, from what I’m hearing, is that Justice Kagan has taken him on in conference … and that it’s a pretty tough battle and it’s going to get tougher. And she is about as tough as they come, and I’m not sure he’s as tough – or dare I say it, maybe not as smart. I always thought he was very smart, but he has a tin ear somehow, and he doesn’t seem to bring anything new to the conversation.”
Elizabeth Slattery, legal expert at the Heritage Foundation, asked how Totenberg would know what goes on in the Supreme Court’s conference room, given the deliberations are famously private. She also said that what Totenberg truly objects to is Gorsuch “bringing things back to first principles.”
The New York Times has the same issue with Trump’s appointees. The Democratic Party fought the nominees of Presidents Bush and Obama, the Times said, but generally accepted their nominees as “credible and qualified.” But with Trump, some of the nominees “are so far outside the mainstream that even conservative Republicans like Sens. John Kennedy of Louisiana and John Cornyn of Texas have expressed display.”
One judge troubled them because he was rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association. The ABA rejected him, according to The Times, because he supported closing abortion clinics and “asserted that abortions put women’s lives at risk.”
They found another objectionable because he supposedly supported “conversion therapy” for gay youth and questioned Darwinian evolution, as dogmatically taught in American schools.
Still another was condemned for saying “slavery and abortion” are the “two greatest tragedies in our country.”
“These judges and nominees do not reflect mainstream traditions and values,” the Times wrote. That probably applies more to the author than the judges.