Two good stories from Tuesday’s 11-hour long marathon grilling of Judge Neil Gorsuch, the man who President Trump has tapped to be the next Associate Justice to join the Supreme Court.
It has become standard practice for nominees to the Supreme Court to ignore political questions, and to refuse to answer when asked to comment on a subject they may have to make a ruling on once they become a Supreme Court justice. It’s known as the “Ginsburg Rule” because it was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Democrats who first wholly embraced this attitude towards their Senate confirmation process. During her confirmation hearings Judge (soon to be Justice) Ginsburg said some version of “I can’t answer that,” over 70 times and was praised for doing so by none other than Joe Biden.
However, it seems that Democrats don’t much like this rule when they are forced to abide by it. By day 2 of Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings Senators Leahy (D-VT), Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Al Franken (D-MN) had all seemingly become quite frustrated by Judge Gorsuch’s refusal to wade into the political arena. But they weren’t the only one’s getting frustrated, Judge Gorsuch’s patience seemed to be running out when he dropped his guard in a rare moment of discontent. While Senator Al Franken seemed to have missed it, the TV camera’s did not.
— Cucker Tarlson (@smcosta1969) March 21, 2017
It sure does seem like Judge Gorsuch, having grown weary of Franken’s badgering, reacts as he would to a belligerent child and rolls his eyes. Just for a second the calm, cool, collected demeanor slips and we see that Judge Gorsuch is indeed human.
Others on Twitter noticed, and commiserated with Gorsuch in his moment of weakness.
Please tell me someone caught that Gorsuch eyeroll at Franken in a GIF.
— RBe (@RBPundit) March 21, 2017
@smcosta1969 Entirely deserved.
— kathy chenette (@kchenette) March 21, 2017
— Congress DoYourJob ن (@TheBarbaraGame) March 22, 2017
— Miriam Ludwig (@miriamtludwig) March 21, 2017
Thankfully for Judge Gorsuch he’s not just dealing with Democrats, there are a few adults in the room as well, though they happen to be of the Republican variety. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) followed Franken and immediately sought to defuse the tension and help Gorsuch recenter himself. To do this, Sasse told Gorsuch about a comment his wife had made about the hearings.
“My wife also sent me a text a little bit ago and said, and I’m sure she didn’t expect me to read it, but… ‘how in the world is Gorsuch able to go so many hours at a time without peeing?’”
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 21, 2017
The room erupted in laughter and Judge Gorsuch (and Senator Ted Cruz who can be seen sitting next to Sasse) seemed to enjoy the rare bit of levity in their day.
Sasse followed up the rhetorical question with a comment that may make it’s way into the American political lexicon, when he commented on the amazing ability of the “SCOTUS bladder.”
“I won’t make you answer, but the SCOTUS bladder is something the whole country stands in awe of.”
This is Washington, D.C. – one moment full of tension and stress… the next a urination joke. Different day, same stuff.