Gorsuch: Separation of Powers Is ‘The Genius of the Constitution’

from – CNSNews.com – by Susan Jones

On the second day of his confirmation hearing, Judge Neil Gorsuch was asked for his view on the separation of powers.

Speaking slowly and firmly, the Supreme Court nominee told Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, that the separation of powers is “the genius of the Constitution.”

His response – spontaneous, not read — speaks for itself and is transcribed here in its entirety:

“On the separation of powers, it is, Mr. Chairman, the genius of the Constitution.

“Madison thought that the separation of powers was perhaps the most important liberty-guaranteeing device in the whole Constitution.

“And this is a point of civics that I do think maybe is lost today — how valuable the separation of powers is.

“You have in Article I, the people’s representatives make the law. That’s your job. And I don’t think it’s an accident that the framers put Article I first.

“Your job comes first, to make the law.

“Article II, the president’s job, is to faithfully execute your laws.

“And our job, Article III, down at the bottom, is to make sure that the cases and controversies of the people are fairly decided.

“And if those roles were confused, and power amalgamated, the Founders worried that that would be the very definition of tyranny.

“And you can see why.

“Judges would make pretty rotten legislators. We’re life-tenured, right? You can’t get rid of us. It only takes a couple of us to make a decision — or nine, or 12, depending on the court.

“That would be a pretty poor way to run a democracy.

“And at the same time, with respect, legislators might not make great judges, because they’re answerable to the people.  And when you come to court with a case or a controversy about past facts, you want a neutral, rigidly neutral – fair, scrupulously fair, decision-maker.

“You want somebody who’s going to put politics aside.

“So the separation of powers, I don’t think has lost any of its genius over 200 years. In fact, it’s proven it.”

Gorsuch also told Sen. Grassley that no one, in course of his nomination, has asked him for any promises or commitments on which way he would rule.

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter
and Download the AMAC News App

Sign Up Today Download

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Sign Up Today
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

Judge Gorsuch is from Colorado a notoriously left leaning state, not only that but he taught at CU Boulder Law school. The very idea that he does not lean to the far left is a joke. It’s not just that, the judges in Colorado are the worst. I have several friends that have had reason to be in various courts for various reason. They are the most incompetent mess you have ever seen. I’m a Republican through and through and believe me, the persona he is showing is a fake.

Duane Lawton
4 years ago

I’m glad I joined AMAC–we have the right approach to government overreach–an Article V Convention of States to put restraints on our out-of-control bureaucracy and courts and spineless Congress. Join the movement–conventionofstates.com

Joseph Adams
4 years ago

What a great view of the Separation of Powers Doctrine. This is who we need in the Supreme Court, someone who honors and respects the Contisition, someone, who by their very character, will follow the constitution, and someone who will follow the Constitution. We need to undo the damage done by previous justices who have bowed their knee to lobbyists and political action parties.

Joseph Adams
4 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Adams

The Convention of States organization holds this doctrine of Separation of Powers to be of utmost importance. To learn more go to conventionofstates.com and learn how you can join the most important movement in modern times.

Fredrick Yerrick
4 years ago

We the People!
At the end of the Constitutional Convention, Dr. Benjamin Franklin was asked, “What do we have, a Republic or a Monarchy? “ Dr. Franklin replied, A Republic, if you can hold it!”
Some will lead you to believe that an Article V call for an Amendments Convention could lead to a run-a-way Convention. They further believe that the Delegates of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 violated their authority when they created our Constitution. James Madison started the call to Convention to correct the deficiencies of the Articles of Confederation. The delegates followed their instructions and determined the Articles to be to weak to correct the deficiencies and thus abolished and established our Constitution.
Understanding historical Calls is important to knowing that even though the Call to correct the deficiencies resulted in a proposed Constitution, the States had to ratify the Constitution for it to be established. When the required 34 States approve the Call for an Article V Amendment Convention, it takes 38 States to ratify any proposed Amendment.
Please read Senator Mike Lee’s book, “Our lost Constitution “ and Governor Greg Abbott’s book, “Broken but Unbowed”!

Ivan Berry
4 years ago

Believe nothing you hear and only half what you see. Art V itself opens up the entire Constitution to be amended or rewritten. There are no restrictions placed on what amendments may be proposed. See the last phrase of Art V and note that anything can be proposed. Do you trust any powers that be, either State or central government powers that be to have the best interests of the American people in mind, or only the power to be derived by the central planners?

Laurie Hackett
4 years ago

I am thankful for a judge who understands his limitations under the Constitution, as Justice Gorsuch does. The Convention of States Project is using Article V of the Constitution to ensure that the federal leviathan of Washington DC is tamed. Learn more, sign the petition and join our grassroots at http://www.conventionofstates.com

4 years ago

I have been meaning to join AMAC for some time. Now I have. This report reinforces my commitment to the Convention of States Project. That genius of powers separation has broken down and a fourth branch — the un-elected, virtually unaccountable, rule-giving, overseer, policeman, and judge, the bureaucracy needs to be shorn, completely if possible.

4 years ago

I don’t think the judge is evil, just naive. Because he holds his own opinion above the majority, he doesn’t represent the majority of people – to quote “his” constitution – rule by majority. I believe he doesn’t want to throw the baby (innocent Muslims) out with the bath water (ISIS and anti-American Muslims), yet he proffers no way to remove the dirt from the water, insisting that we accept the dirty water. Roosevelt interned Japanese-Americans during WWII and confiscated their property. Carter blocked Iran and expelled Iranian students. Trump just needs to present himself more coolly, and less like an angry Hitler – he scares people. Speaking of which, there was an exodus from Germany and Europe before a World War broke out there. But they don’t teach history in school anymore. Perhaps that’s why the most educated people can still make uneducated decisions.

Big Deal
4 years ago

Mr Yerrick, I support the Convention of States project but when I discussed this with my Grandson, he told me that the agenda for such a Convention could be expanded to include some of the Progressives pet projects. I had heard Mark Levin state that the agenda would be limited to certain items such as term limits and balanced budget. According to my grandson, this limitation is not permitted in the Constitution. Which of these views is in fact true?

Robyn Campbell
4 years ago
Reply to  Big Deal

I’m sorry but your grandson is wrong.Ask him to ready the Federalist papers. On this day in 1788, Federalist Paper No. 40 is published. James Madison (a.k.a. “Publius”) addresses the contention that the Constitutional Convention exceeded its authority. Was it a runaway convention?

Madison_Federalist 40 (2)The question remains important today. Some states have been considering the possibility of using their Article V power to call for a convention. The Constitution provides that states may apply to Congress for “a convention for proposing amendments.” The Article V power has never been used. If states used it now, the goal would be to achieve a Balanced Budget Amendment or other, similar restraints on the federal government. Some people are against this idea because they fear that such a convention will turn into a “runaway convention,” as the original Constitutional Convention allegedly was.

But Madison argues that the original Constitutional Convention was not a “runaway convention.” The delegates believed that they were acting within the scope of their authority.

Madison begins with an important point: Each delegate had the authority specifically granted to him by his state. Delegates’ authority came from their **states**, not from the Confederation Congress! The same would hold true today. Each state would give specific instructions to its delegates. The U.S. Congress would not be in control of the situation.

Most of the state-issued commissions referenced recommendations made by the 1786 Annapolis Convention and/or the 1787 congressional recommendation. Thus, Madison analyzes the situation by looking to those two acts. Taken together, the recommendations authorized the delegates to “frame a NATIONAL GOVERNMENT, adequate to the EXIGENCIES OF GOVERNMENT, and OF THE UNION; and to reduce the articles of Confederation into such form as to accomplish these purposes.”

What were the delegates to do if the “expressions defining the authority of the convention were irreconcilably at variance with each other”? What if a “NATIONAL and ADEQUATE GOVERNMENT could not possibly, in the judgment of the convention, be affected by ALTERATIONS and PROVISIONS in the ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION”? Which instruction were they to reject and which instruction were they to accept?

But Madison is not sure that those provisions were at odds with each other, anyway. “ALTERATIONS in the body of the [Articles of Confederation] are expressly authorized. NEW PROVISIONS therein are also expressly authorized.” The Convention thus had the “power to change the title; to insert new articles; to alter old ones.” This they did. At what point, then, did the Convention make one too many changes? Where is the boundary? What fundamental principles “were not within the purview of the convention, and ought not to have been varied?” He believes the important ones, such as state sovereignty, were kept.

In short, Madison is arguing that the Convention was given broad authority to “frame a NATIONAL GOVERNMENT, adequate to the EXIGENCIES OF GOVERNMENT, and OF THE UNION.” This they did.

Madison admits only one violation of the delegates’ commissions: The plan authorized by the Convention does not require the “confirmation OF THE LEGISLATURES OF ALL THE STATES.” Instead, it “is to be confirmed by the PEOPLE, and may be carried into effect by NINE STATES ONLY.” He notes that no one seems very upset by this one admitted violation.

Even if the Convention did not have authority to go as far as it did, Madison notes that the proposed Constitution is “of no more consequence than the paper on which it is written, unless it be stamped with the approbation of those to whom it is addressed.” In other words, at the end of the day, the Constitution is just a piece of paper until such time as the people decide to approve it. Given the existing crisis, do not “some patriotic and respectable citizen or number of citizens” have a duty to propose changes, even if they are “INFORMAL AND UNAUTHORIZED PROPOSITIONS”?

Finally, assuming for the sake of argument, that the Constitution resulted from an unauthorized process, “does it followthat the Constitution ought, for that reason alone, to be rejected?” Either it is a good idea or it is not. Similarly, if we had a runaway convention today, the proposals made by that convention would have no legal weight until such time as 3/4 of the states decided to ratify the ideas. Presumably, a supermajority of states would not ratify bad ideas.

Ivan Berry
4 years ago
Reply to  Robyn Campbell

“Presumably, a supermajority of states would not raify bad ideas.” Oh yeah? They already have. The 16th and 17th Amendments , just to note a couple. And Amend 21, since Congress doubted the State Legislators would ratify, chose a Ratifying Convention instead to get Prohibition repealed.
The so called fear of a runaway convention is not groundless because Art V itself expressly placed no limits. Read Art V for yourself and especially the last phrase to see what could be excluded: nothing is excluded because even Equal Suffrage of the States in the Senate may be changed with the States’ approval.

Fredrick Yerrick
4 years ago

We at Convention of States Project are able to receive this understanding and teaching on our Constitution from our Co-Founders Dr. Michael Farris and is backed by historical data researched by Professor Natleson. It is sad that these principles are not being taught and reinforced in our Constitutional Republic today. Please join us at conventionofstates.com where we seek to enlighten, educate and engage “We the People” to maintain our Constitutional Republic given to us by our Founding Fathers. We thank you and Judge Gorsuch for his excellent explanation.

MJ Alexander
4 years ago

You are so very right, Mr. Yerrick… the fact that it was the states which created the federal government in the first instance would shock most of today’s high school seniors, and if told that the states could actually join together to propose amendments to the Constitution independent of Congress that could remedy virtually all of the problems that we face today as a nation, they would first suspect that we were lying, and then once made to read the 143 words of Article V, they would look at us in bewilderment and ask why the hell this hasn’t been done already.

Ivan Berry
4 years ago

The “Law” that COS uses to justify a Convention to propose Amendments has no limitations on anything that might be proposed. Read Art V and note that the last phrase opens up to easily run away without any specifications what-so-ever. Do not fall for this well disguised opening to rewrite our Supreme law of the land. Read Article Five for yourself. It is clearly understandable, especially in the lack of any restrictions or provisions in the last phrase.

4 years ago

Trouble is – McConnell won’t use the ‘nuclear’ option.

James D. Mele
4 years ago
Reply to  Henry

The nuclear option should be the last resort. There are Democrat Senators up for election in 2018 in blue states President Trump won,extreme pressure should be applied to encourage their constituents to vote them out of office. If these Senators feel they will lose their cushy positions they will throw Shumer under the bus. We do not have to play by the Dems rules.

4 years ago

Yeah but Separation of Powers means different things to Progressively Communist Democrats. In their eyes, anybody who “separates” the citizenry from having rights and powers IS THE GOVERNMENT. After all, who better than the “enlightened Progressives” as opposed to the average citizen. I, for one, have had enough of the “enlightenment” of Ruth Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayer. They should be brought up on charges of treason period!

4 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Given the fact that Chuck Schumer said tonight that not one Democrat Senator would vote for Gorsuch, I think it is well past time to end this farse of “bi-partisanship” nonsense that McConnell keeps hoping for. Invoke the nuclear option, change the Senate parliamentary rules to include SC nomines and just approve Gorsuch to the SC by the end of the week. Same for everything else.

All the Democrats can do is obstruct and delay, so it is time to take that away from the Democrats. The country needs to be restored on multiple fronts, so GOP leadership needs to get past their fantasy of the Democrats being “reasonable”, whatever that means these days, and just get on with implementing Trump’s agenda.

Jan S
4 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Make the Dems sorry they implemeted the nuclear option, bite them hard with using it against them. You know what they say about payback.

John Degges
4 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Did these Democrat senators promise to defend the constitution when they were installed in office? If so, they should all resign because they refuse to defend it.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x