Robert Reich: No Gorsuch Confirmation Until Trump Is Cleared

Robert Reich

This article first appeared on RobertReich.org.

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Judge Neil Gorsuch looks at the third day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 22, in Washington. Robert Reich writes that a cloud of illegitimacy hangs over the Trump presidency. Unless and until that cloud disappears, the Senate shouldn’t move forward with anyone Trump picks for the Supreme Court. Justin Sullivan/Getty

Neil Gorsuch shouldn’t be confirmed until Trump comes clean.

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Nominating a new justice of 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.

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.

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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 judgment.

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.

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.

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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.  

Related: Robert Reich: Gorsuch must wait until Trump is legit

Robert Reich is the chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations and Beyond Outrage and, most recently, Saving Capitalism. 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.

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