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Schumer's sympathy: No substitute for the law

March 18. 2017 7:51PM

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks with the media following the Democratic policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., March 14, 2017. (REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is proving himself a suitable successor to the execrable Harry Reid as Democratic minority leader.

With no credible rationale to oppose the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, but with Democrats' grass roots still furious over Republican refusal to confirm Judge Merrick Garland last year, Schumer has resorted to vapid populism.

Schumer last week trotted out people he said were "harmed by Judge Gorsuch's decisions" because Gorsuch's "record of siding against working Americans, for the powerful few."

That is, in the words of National Review's Ian Tuttle, "a stupid way to think about constitutional law."

Schumer's criticism rests entirely on the outcome of the cases Gorsuch decided, and the sympathy we feel for the plaintiffs. At no point does Schumer even consider whether Gorsuch correctly interpreted the question of law in front of his court.

Democrats continue to portray Gorsuch, and all conservatives, as mustache-twirling fiends, always looking for a railroad track in need of a damsel. Yet judges like Gorsuch believe in applying the law as it is written, not as they might wish it to be.

There is often room within a close case for differing interpretations of the law. Liberal judges often find authority for government action that conservatives can't see. But it would be foolhardy for any judge to bend the law to meet his sympathies.

Such an approach would replace the rule of law with a rule of men, and lead to judicial chaos, turning every judge into a politician pandering to popular sentiment.

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