Why is one of the nations highest nonpartisan judicial officers huddling for a strategy session with Republican senators?
When Senate Republicans stole a Supreme Court seat from President Barack Obama, the questioning of Donald Trumps choice, far-right judge Neil Gorsuch, focused heavily on his belief in the independence of the judiciary.
In practice, Gorsuch has consistently made decisions that create the appearance of partisanship and ideological favoritism. And one GOP senator who voted for him, Tennessees Lamar Alexander, accidentally illustrated this fact in a tweet Monday evening.
"I enjoyed having dinner tonight at the home of Senator John Cornyn and his wife Sandy with our newest Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and a few of my other Senate colleagues to talk about important issues facing our country," Alexander wrote.
Why Gorsuch should be included at a private dinner with a number of Republican senators, and a member of Trump's Cabinet who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is an unresolved question. And this is not the first questionable gathering Gorsuch has attended.
In September 2017, he gave a speech at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and also spoke at a joint event with McConnell, who was instrumental in blocking the Supreme Court seat from being filled by Obama.
Even the one minor act of rebellion Gorsuch committed against the GOP orthodoxy a feeble rebuke against Trump for criticizing federal judges behind closed doors was hopelessly milquetoast, and nothing in that conversation suggested he agreed with the legal arguments Trump was attacking.
And the history of his political opinions is horrifically instructive. He has consistently ruled to strip women of legal rights, dismantle worker protections, and favors letting Republicans rig elections however they want.
In Gorsuch, Trump and his Republican allies in the Senate have a reliable supporter of right-wing dogma on the court and apparently at their private strategy sessions, as well.