In slap to Trump, Neil Gorsuch tips Supreme Court vote against vague part of immigration law
Apr 18, 2018
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court said Tuesday that part of a federal law that makes it easier to deport immigrants who have been convicted of crimes is too vague to be enforced.
The court’s 5-4 decision — an unusual alignment in which new Justice Neil Gorsuch
joined the four liberal justices — concerns a catchall provision of immigration law that defines what makes a crime violent. Conviction for a crime of violence makes deportation “a virtual certainty” for an immigrant, no matter how long he has lived in the United States, Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her opinion for the court.
This caused me to think of something someone dear to me was fond of saying upon being surprised, “Well, blow my hole open!”
From the book, It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America,
by David Cay Johnston:
“Trump’s nomination alarmed unions. Jody Calemine, a Communications Workers of America lawyer tool Gorsuch’s Senate confirmation hearing that Gorsuch “is a threat to working people’s health and safety.” Calamine cited Gorsuch’s dissent in a 2016 case to make his point. “That dissent reveals an anti-worker bias and features a judicial activism that will ultimately put workers’ lives at risk.”
Those are unusually strong words about a Supreme Court nominee, but a review of the case shows Gorsuch has little regard for human life, at least when it comes to employers’ power over their workers. He considers a rigid interpretation of the law more important.
The case was about a law Congress passed giving workers the right to refuse dangerous tasks.
Truck driver Alphonse Maddin was nearly out of fuel one January night in 2009. Temperatures had plunged to 14 degrees below zero. Maddin pulled over on an Illinois roadway to figure out where to get fuel. Ten minutes later he tried to drive off, but the rig wouldn’t budge. The trailer’s brakes had frozen. A dispatcher told Maddin to sit tight until a repair truck arrived. Maddin fell asleep in the unheated truck for two hours, awakened by a cousin’s cell phone call. Maddin’s torso was numb, his speech slurred, cousin Georgory Nelson testified, describing classic signs of hypothermia. Maddin radioed his dispatcher, who told him “Hang in there” until help arrived.
A half hour later, certain he was on the verge of freezing to death, Maddin disconnected the trailer and drove to warmth.
TransAm Trucking fired him for not following orders.
Maddin filed a complaint with the Labor Department. An administrative law judge and a review board both found the firing violated federal law protecting workers who refuse unsafe work orders. TransAm, ordered to reinstate Maddin with back pay, took the case to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. It argued that the law protected only workers who refused to operate unsafe equipment, while Maddin drove the truck after being instructed to “stay put.”
Two of the three judges hearing the case concluded that the Labor Department had reasonably interpreted the word “operate,” and upheld the reinstatement with back pay.
The third judge, Neil Gorsuch, didn’t see it that way.
The law “only forbids employers from firing employees who ‘refuse to operate a vehicle’ out of safety concerns,” he wrote in dissent, adding that “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…permitted him to sit and remain where he was and wait for help. The trucker was fired only after he declined the statutorily protected option (refuse to operate) and chose instead to operate his vehicle in a manner he thought wise but his employer did not. And there’s simply no law anyone has pointed us to giving employees the right to operate their vehicles in ways their employers forbid…The law before us protects only employees who refuse to operate vehicles, period (Italics).”
Gorsuch said Maddin had two choices if he wanted to keep his job. He could drag the truck with the frozen brakes locking its wheels, which Gorsuch said would be illegal. Or, Gorscuh wrote, “he could sit and wait for help to arrive for help to arrive (a legal if unpleasant option.)
“Unpleasant” is an interesting word for choosing to die, as Maddin was certain he would have within minutes had he decided to “sit and wait for help to arrive.”
At Gorscuch’s confirmation hearing, Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said that 14 degrees below zero was very “cold, but not as cold as your dissent, Judge Gorsuch.”
People who voted for Trump believing he was their economic savior and political champion could hardly have expected that his first Supreme Court nominee would have a man choose between his life and his job.”
It was not surprising Trump would chose such a person for the Supreme Court.
From the book: “Trump used illegal immigrants with sledgehammers(but no hard hats or other safety gear) to demolish a twelve-story Manhattan department store so he could build Trump Tower. A federal judge, after a trial, held that Trump engaged in a conspiracy to cheat those men out of their full $4 an hour pay.”
Every day the Trumpster, and the cretins with whom he surrounds himself, do things that ASTOUND! I would have wagered my net worth, if not my life, that Gorsuch would have voted with the other four judges who wound up in the minority. Wonders never cease…