WSJ: Three dozen law students cast doubt on Trump Supreme Court pick’s claims of volunteerism
A new investigative piece by the Wall Street Journal reveals that Judge Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump's pick for the Supreme Court, may have padded his record.
Even before Donald Trump announced the nomination, Senate Democrats vowed to put up a solid front against the confirmation of Colorado appellate judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on the grounds that Republicans stole the seat from Merrick Garland — a sentiment echoed by some legal scholars.
But new questions are starting to emerge about whether Gorsuch is worthy of being a Supreme Court justice on basic merit, despite the corporate media’s attempts to mainstream him.
Quite aside from his horrific record on labor and reproductive rights, a new investigation from the Wall Street Journal suggests that Gorsuch’s youthful volunteer work as a pro-bono attorney for low-income criminal defendants — one of the things for which Trump praised him at his announcement — may not have even happened.
The Journal reports:
His affiliation with [the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project and the Harvard Defenders] — which offer law school students real-life legal experience representing prison inmates and the poor — helped give Mr. Gorsuch’s deeply conservative résumé a personal touch, and the groups were highlighted in news reports about his nomination.
But roughly three dozen students who participated in the two programs while Mr. Gorsuch was at Harvard Law School from 1988 to 1991 said they have no recollection of his involvement.
The Journal goes on to detail their many attempts to find a student who remembers Gorsuch participating in the programs:
“If he was active in PLAP I am sure I would remember him,” said Elizabeth Buckley Lewis, who attended Harvard at the same time as Mr. Gorsuch. Now a New York City tax lawyer who advises nonprofits, she said PLAP was her “most meaningful experience” at Harvard.
Lisa Dealy, Harvard’s assistant dean for clinical and pro bono programs, and Boston criminal defense lawyer John “Jack” Cunha, who worked as a supervising attorney of the Defenders from 1985 to 1995, both said they had no recollection of Mr. Gorsuch’s involvement. Marty Gideonse, who was PLAP’s supervisor while Mr. Gorsuch was at Harvard, died in 1998.
“It would seem to indicate he wasn’t very involved,” said Mr. Cunha, though he said it is possible Mr. Gorsuch made phone calls or did research he wasn’t aware of.
The Journal could find only one person, fellow Harvard Law student and New York county prosecutor Chris Edel, who would even say definitively that Gorsuch ever participated in one of the groups, and even he could not offer details of the case he worked on.
This is not the first time that a Trump appointee has been accused of embellishing a résumé. During his confirmation hearings, Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) took credit for litigating civil rights cases that he in fact had “no substantive involvement in,” per Justice Department lawyers.
The absence of corroborating evidence of Gorsuch’s pro-bono record only serves to further highlight his lack of legitimacy.