McGhee: In world's oldest democracy, 9/10 Americans think we need an overhaul
McGhee: An overwhelming bipartisan consensus wants reform on money in politics, but Gorsuch is outside that consensus
McGhee: Top political scientists now describe U.S. as a plutocracy, not a democracy, because "he who pays the piper calls the tune."
Working class people and people of color are under-represented among those who control the money in politics.
McGhee now first mentions Citizens United by name, a big topic of consideration this week, especially by Senator Whitehouse. McGhee notes these have been 5-4 decisions and that the majority's assumptions about politics have been proven false -- like that independent expenditures are truly independent.
But, McGhee continues, Gorsuch's record puts him to the right of Scalia -- so he would have been in the majority of Citizens United. She cites his decisions in Hobby Lobby (about ACA contraceptive care) and a case about campaign finance
McGhee: 91 percent of Trump's own voters thought important that he appoint someone who does not restrict money in politics. This is not a partisan issue outside of Washington
Now Lawrence Solum of GW speaks.
He says he will speak about originalism.
Solum: Originalism has 3 basic ideas. First, the meaning of the Constitution should be its original public meaning. Second, this meaning is fixed. Not that the law is fixed, but the meaning of the words is. Third, this original public meaning should constrain what judges do.
Solum: This week we've also learned that there are a number of myths about originalism. It does not ask the question, "What would Madison do?" The words of the Constitution can be adapted to new circumstances. Brown v. Board is not inconsistent with the original meaning of the Constitution, but required. Originalism is not inconsistent with precedent.
Solum: Addressing Demos -- originalism is in the mainstream of American jurisprudence. Throughout history, SCOTUS has been originalist. Originalism can and should be endorsed by both liberals and conservatives.
Solum: I'm not conservative, libertarian, or Republican, but convinced by originalism because it's dangerous to give judges power to override the Constitution.
Solum: Would Democrats want a conservative justice who believes in a living constitution and is willing to use values to override text?
Solum: I support Judge Gorsuch's nomination "because he is an originalist"
Fatima Goss Graves of the National Women's Law Center up now
Graves: Gorsuch has testified that he follows law, not feelings
Graves: A review of his record shows that his approach to the law gives the benefit of the doubt to corporations, politicians, and powerful entities, not the vulnerable -- this disadvantages women
Graves cites case of Ms. Pinkerton who faced harassment, who had an employer asking inappropriate sexually based question
Graves: Gorsuch said she had no claim
Graves: Also Hobby Lobby case, in which a corporation challenged aspect of ACA that required birth control coverage
Graves: Access to contraception allows them to plan their lives and under ACA relieves them of severe financial burden
Graves: Gorsuch said religious views could override birth control need. He further held this wasn't a compelling government interest, and he refused to acknowledge the health and financial impact to women
Graves: Gorsuch's record also shows hostility to right to birth control and abortion. Yesterday Gorsuch declined to say whether Roe v Wade
was correct, just that it is precedent of the court
Graves is now referring to a controversy about comments Gorsuch made in class about women in the workplace.
Graves has quickly moved on to the litmus test issue. She is moving through lots of issues against Gorsuch brought up this week.
Her conclusion: Gorsuch should not be confirmed.
Because of a vote Sen Crapo is calling a recess until 1:10.
Professor Jonathan Turley from GW is starting his testimony.
He speaks to Grassley only.
He calls Gorsuch "stellar."
He also praises Gorsuch for not having shied away from contentious issues in his life. He laments that previous nominees have hidden, so to speak.
Turley says he does not expect Gorsuch to be a "robotic vote for the right" on the court
Turley: We're not looking for an imitation of Scalia, but an intellectual force in his own right. That person is Judge Gorsuch.
"He will follow his conscience."
Pat Gallagher of the Sierra Club, which has opposed the nomination, now speaking.
Gallagher states his opposition for his consistent willingness to close the courthouse to citizens, but not corporations. He also references environmental concerns.
Gallagher mentions families in DC suffering from lead contamination. Gorsuch's writings suggest that he would not offer these people to have wrongs remedied through federal courts.
Gallagher returns to Liberels'N'Lawsuits article.
Gallagher noew turns to a 2005 challenge to a Utah county attempt to take over a Red Rock wilderness area. Gorsuch ruled that citizens did not have standing to sue.
Gallagher turns to Chevron deference. [A popular point for environmentalists.]
He also connects this to claims by Trump and Bannon against the administrative state.
Gallagher: America cannot afford another justice disfavors citizen groups and favors corporations to the degradation of the environment.
Karen Harned of the National Federation Of Independent Business now speaking. Still only Grassley present.
Harned turns to a case by NFIB against Sebelius.