President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, has endured a slew of ridiculous attacks on his character and credibility from the Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearings.
One of the issues with which the Democrats have attempted to smear Gorsuch was his dissent in a recent ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on TransAm Trucking Inc. v. Admin. Review Brd., Dept. of Labor in which the court ruled in favor of a truck driver dismissed from his job.
Alphonse Maddin had been fired by TransAm after he temporarily abandoned his load when his truck broke down late at night in subzero temperatures in Illinois in 2009.
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Maddin had initially pulled to the side of the road because he was low on gas, but soon realized that the brakes on his trailer had frozen. He reported the situation and was told to wait until a repairman could get there, but after several hours passed and the heater in his truck cab stopped working, and after more calls for assistance, Maddin eventually unhitched the trailer and drove off to warm up, afraid he would succumb to hypothermia on the frigid night.
One of the Democrats who repeatedly attacked Gorsuch for his dissent in the case was Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, who said he was “puzzled” by Gorsuch’s reasoning on the law that would have left the truck driver to stay with his load even under threat of freezing to death, according to Fox News.
Gorsuch made clear that he certainly empathized with the plight of the truck driver, but stood by his view of the law at play, specifically a statute that forbids companies from firing drivers who refuse to operate their vehicles in unsafe conditions.
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In his dissent, according to PJ Media, Gorsuch had written that the “statute only forbids employers from firing employees who ‘refuse to operate a vehicle’ out of safety concerns. And, of course, nothing like that happened here. The trucker in this case wasn’t fired for refusing to operate his vehicle. Indeed, his employer gave him the very option the statute says it must: Once he voiced safety concerns, TransAm expressly — and by everyone’s admission — permitted him to sit and remain where he was for help.”
“The trucker was fired only after he declined the statutory protection option (refuse to operate) and chose instead to operate his vehicle in a manner he thought wise but his employer did not,” the judge continued. “And there’s simply no law anyone has pointed us to giving employees the right to operate their vehicles in ways their employers forbid.”
As for the notion that judges should twist or make up wholesale laws to match their opinions, Gorsuch had written, “Maybe the Department (of Labor) would like such a law, maybe someday Congress will adorn our federal statute books with such a law. But it isn’t there yet. And it isn’t our job to write one — or to allow the department to write one in Congress’ place.”
As for the narrative put forward by Democrats that Gorsuch “hates the little guy” and would have preferred the driver freeze to death, his dissent also made clear that that wasn’t his opinion at all.
Instead, “It might be fair to ask whether TransAm’s decision was a wise or kind one. But it’s not our job to answer questions like that. Our only task is to decide whether the decision was an illegal one,” he wrote.
In this case, as well as many others, Judge Gorsuch has made it clear that he tries to view the law in an entirely dispassionate manner, keeping his own personal opinion and politics out of his decisions and focusing solely on the law as it was written, as all judges are supposed to do.
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