Just two days after Trump’s Supreme Court darling Neil Gorsuch cast the deciding vote on an important case in which the court ultimately sided with an immigrant fighting deportation, The Washington Post reported that officials familiar with the situation maintained that Donald Trump was upset that Gorsuch had been “too liberal” in some recent cases.
The same report indicates that Trump expressed broad concerns that perhaps the new justice cannot be counted as “reliable conservative.”
Regarding the immigration case, Gorsuch sided with liberal justices in favor of James Garcia Dimaya. The government was seeking to deport Dimaya after his second first-degree burglary conviction in California.
Justice Elena Kagan delivered the majority opinion, and cited a 2015 ruling in which the court said a similar clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) that defined a “violent felony” was unconstitutionally void for due to its vagueness.
In Gorscuch’s own opinion, he posited that vague laws invite arbitrary power.
He argued that prior to the American Revolution, the crime of treason in English law was so capaciously construed that the mere expression of dissenting opinions could result in transportation or death.
“The founders cited the crown’s abuse of ‘pretended’ crimes like this as one of their reasons for revolution,” he said, citing the Declaration of Independence.
“Today’s vague laws may not be as invidious, but they can invite the exercise of arbitrary power all the same — by leaving the people in the dark about what the law demands and allowing prosecutors and courts to make it up. The law before us today is such a law.”
To those closely following the case, Gorsuch’s decision wasn’t a surprise. But one can only imagine the extent to which it would have enraged Donald Trump. Gorsuch famously took the seat of Antonin Scalia — a seat which had been vacated for more than 400 days — via much obstruction on the part of the GOP.
Many liberals and moderates have been outspoken in declaring that the seat was stolen as President Obama was supposed to have made that particular appointment, if not for maneuvering of the Republicans.
So it’s nice to know that Mr Gorsuch is causing Trump considerable stress by not issuing his case opinions according to Trump’s preferences.