Trump’s Supreme Court justices outdo themselves on hypocrisy over census citizenship question

It’s not exactly breaking news that Republicans—including Republican judges—are giant hypocrites, but the Trump Supreme Court sure put on a brilliant display of hypocrisy during arguments on whether there will be a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Trump-appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh had both claimed, prior to joining the Supreme Court, that they do not believe in looking to other countries’ laws to inform U.S. law, no sir. Things sounded rather different in the census arguments.

“We have our own tradition and our own history,” Gorsuch said in his confirmation hearing, “and I do not know why we would look to the experience of other countries rather than to our own.”

“Virtually every English-speaking country and a great many others besides ask this question in their censuses,” Gorsuch said last week during the census case.

”International-law norms are not domestic U.S. law,” Kavanaugh wrote in 2010, when the question concerned a Guantánamo detainee. But last week? Kavanaugh was listing off foreign countries and the United Nations like a champ(ion of hypocrisy).

Back during his 2005 confirmation hearings, Chief Justice John Roberts accurately diagnosed the issue here. “In foreign law, you can find anything you want,” he said at the time. “Looking at foreign law for support is like looking out over a crowd and picking out your friends.” Conservative law demi-god Antonin Scalia said the same damn thing, calling the practice “not reasoned decision making, but sophistry.”

Donald Trump is counting on Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to be sophists. It’s why he chose them.


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