WASHINGTON — Truck driver Alphonse Maddin may play a key role in the Senate’s decision to confirm or deny President Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch, to a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Democratic senators grilled Gorsuch yesterday in confirmation hearings about a dissenting opinion he wrote last year when the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld lower court rulings favoring Maddin in his lawsuit against TransAm Trucking. Maddin was fired in 2009 after leaving his trailer and driving his tractor for help when his brakes froze in 14-degree-below-zero weather.
After pulling over, Maddin was instructed to wait for a company truck and to stay with the trailer. Maddin awoke several hours later, he said, with numb appendages and slurred speech, Business Insider reported.
“Seven different judges heard my case — one of those judges found against me,” Maddin said. “That judge was Neil Gorsuch.” Maddin was ordered to be rehired with $300,000 in back pay.
“At the time, Gorsuch wrote in the dissent that his job was not to answer moral questions, but legal ones,” Fox News reported.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-New York, said cases such as Maddin’s show Gorsuch “prefers CEOs over truck drivers, executives over employers, and corporations over consumers,” the Washington Post reported.
Democrats have questioned the legitimacy of any Trump Supreme Court nominee, since, they insist, hearings should have been held last year on Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s pick to replace Judge Antonin Scalia, who died February 13, 2016. Obama promptly sent his nomination of Garland to the Senate, where it was never given a hearing. Critics charge that Senate Republicans acted unconstitutionally by not holding hearings and voting on the nominee of a president who still had almost a full year left in office.
The New York Times, in a December 24, 2016 editorial, claimed that Senate Republicans “stole” the Supreme Court seat: “The Republican party line — that it was an election year, so the American people should have a ‘voice’ in the selection of the next justice — was a patent lie. The people spoke when they re-elected Mr. Obama in 2012, entrusting him to choose new members for the court.”
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