Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Neil Gorsuch's imperious disregard for employees surfaced in TransAm Trucking decision

During his confirmation hearing, Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch claimed that a fired trucker in his notorious TransAm opinion had driven an unsafe vehicle against his company's wishes (in order to seek shelter and warmth in subzero temperatures after having waited for hours for help from his company).
     That was a damn lie. The brakes on the trailer had frozen, but not on the (unheated!) tractor, which the trucker unhitched before driving away to seek a warm place to avoid hypothermia and probable death. He returned, reattached the trailer, and completed his assignment but was fired anyway.
    Gorsuch was the only one of seven judges who sided with the company.

Fordham University Law School's Jed Handelsman Shugerman ripped Gorsuch apart in Slate:
     Gorsuch’s opinion in what’s known as the “frozen trucker” case also demonstrates an arrogant and cold judicial personality. I have read very few modern opinions that were more callously written than Gorsuch’s TransAm dissent.
     ..In a long footnote to its opinion, the majority writes that Gorsuch has decided to change the text of the law from operate to drive, and they quote Gorsuch back to him from oral argument: “Our job isn’t to legislate and add new words that aren’t present in the statute.”
     ...After I had been so enthralled with Gorsuch’s critique of Chevron, his TransAm opinion serves as a powerful warning against overturning it. Such a move would open the door for judges like Gorsuch to oversimplify cases, take statutes out of context, and serve ideological interests. Moreover, his lack of self-awareness of his theory’s flaw plus his acerbic dismissiveness of real-world conflicts are not a good sign that he has the appropriate judicial temperament for the Supreme Court.

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