The commentariat is atwitter today with claims that Judge Gorsuch, his handlers, and even Trumplethinskin himself conspired to publicize the judge’s discomfort with presidential statements that aim to intimidate the judiciary. All this in a Machiavellian scheme to wear down Democratic resistance to the nomination.
Maybe these claims of conspiracy are right. Aardvark would not know.
But Aardvark does know two or three things.
First, although Senator Aardvark would vote against the good judge, the judge seems to be a decent person who tries to do the right thing, as he sees it.
Aardvark, who has seen a hairy situation or two, has never encountered a circumstance that was improved by gratuitous impugning of motives.
Second, the conspiratorial explanation does not pass Occam’s test. Here is the more parsimonious explanation.
- Judge Gorsuch knew that he was in a highly visible situation in which he would be asked a difficult question.
- In view of the foregoing, Judge Gorsuch—like any serious person, and, in particular, like any serious member of the bar—gave some thought to what words he would use to answer the anticipated difficult question, and the circumstances in which he would use those words.
- Being a decent and competent jurist, Judge Gorsuch is in fact appalled by presidential attacks on the judiciary.
- When the time came, and when the difficult question was asked, Judge Gorsuch responded in a way that (i) reflected his actual opinions and (ii) used the words he had decided in advance to use, in order to express his actual opinions.
Mystery solved. Parsimoniously.