McConnell brings Ruth Bader Ginsburg into nominee fight

Victoria Sarno Jordan
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) chided Senate Democrats on Monday, arguing they should apply the “Ginsburg standard” to Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
“No hints, no forecasts, no previews — that is what has become known as the Ginsburg standard,” he said from the Senate floor. “Supreme Court nominees of presidents of both parties have adhered to it.” 
McConnell pointed to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s opening statement during her 1993 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing outlining what kinds of questions she would not answer. 
“A judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecast, no hints for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of a particular case, it would display disdain for the entire judicial process,” she said at the time. 
{mosads}McConnell argued that Democrats like Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) are setting a higher bar for Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, by asking him to weigh in on specific cases. 
“The Ginsburg standard has given way to the double standard,” he said. “My friend from New York now says the Supreme Court nominee has to pass some special test … to show his judicial independence.” 
He added that Democrats are under pressure from their base who “has been pushing my counterpart and other Senate Democrats to oppose anyone — anyone — whom the President nominates to the Supreme Court.” 
Schumer said last week that while he hadn’t made up his mind on Gorsuch, the Supreme Court nominee dodged answering questions “like the plague” during their closed-door meeting. 
Democrats have also called on Gorsuch to publicly speak out against Trump’s criticism of a federal judge who placed a nationwide hold on his executive order targeting seven Muslim-majority countries. 
They also argue he should meet a higher bar of independence because they believe Trump is more likely to try to push the boundaries of the law. 
But McConnell hit back on Monday, saying that the Democrats’ rules would curb Gorsuch’s independence. 
“In the upside down world of my Democratic friends, Judge Gorsuch must lose his judicial independence,” he said. “Their base is demanding total resistance to everything, but they can’t find a good reason to oppose Judge Gorsuch on the merits. They’re in a pickle.”
McConnell isn’t the first GOP senator to cite the “Ginsburg standard.” 
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) pointed to it in 2005 during John Roberts’s nomination, according to The Washington Times, arguing it had set a precedent for allowing Supreme Court nominees to avoid answering some questions. 
Tags Charles Schumer Mitch McConnell Orrin Hatch

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