Donald Trump shakes hands with Neil Gorsuch, his choice for Supreme Court Justice, at the White House, Jan. 31, 2017. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

Robert Reich: Gorsuch shouldn't be confirmed until the man who picked him is cleared of wrongdoing

A true cloud of illegitimacy now hangs over the presidency of Donald Trump


Robert Reich
March 27, 2017 11:59AM (UTC)
This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog.

SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch shouldn’t be confirmed until President Donald Trump comes clean.

Nominating a new justice to the Supreme Court is one of the most important responsibilities of a president. But until we know Trump is a legitimate president, he can’t be presumed to have the authority to make such a pick.

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First, we need to be sure Trump didn’t collaborate with Russia to rig the election. The FBI says it has enough “credible evidence” that Trump aides colluded with Russian operatives to affect the outcome of the election, to move forward with a full-scale investigation.

At the least, Gorsuch shouldn’t be considered until that investigation is concluded.

We also need to be sure Trump isn’t motivated by financial conflicts of interest around the world. We need to see his tax records to know he doesn’t owe a bundle to Russian oligarchs or big global banks that would affect his judgement.

And we need to know he’s not violating the Constitution by raking in money from foreign governments. For example, Trump still owns a 77 stake of his luxury hotel in Washington and his children are splitting the rest, even as foreign governments assign their dignitaries rooms at the hotel.

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China just granted Trump trademark rights to the Trump brand, potentially worth billions of dollars to Trump and his family. Although it’s normally difficult to obtain brand-name rights in China so quickly, the Chinese authorities apparently saw this as a payback in return for Trump’s backing away from recognizing Taiwan.

Last year Senate Republicans wouldn’t move forward with Obama’s pick of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court on the bizarre theory that a president in his last year of office has no legitimacy nominating a Supreme Court justice.

But a true cloud of illegitimacy now hangs over the presidency of Donald Trump. Unless and until that cloud disappears, the Senate shouldn’t move forward with anyone Trump picks for the Supreme Court.

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Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 15 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's also co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism."

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