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Senator Al Franken Schools Gorsuch in Confirmation Hearing

Franken Gorsuch

Today we will see if the other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee took notes on Senator Al Franken’s methods. Franken, unlike the other committee members, was able to pin down Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.

During hearings yesterday, Gorsuch, like many Supreme Court nominees, evaded questions about his rulings and past rulings by the Supreme Court. When it was Franken’s turn to question the nominee, the former comedian was aggressive in pushing for answers.

In the most memorable portion of yesterday’s hearing, Franken opened with questions about Gorsuch’s dissent in Transam Trucking v. Department of Labor. The case involved a trucker, Alphonse Maddin, who pulled over after discovering that the brakes on his trailer were not working. He called his company for help, and fell asleep while waiting. It was a January night, the temperatures were below zero, and the heat was also broken in his truck.

When Maddin woke up two hours later, his feet and torso were numb. He called again and was told to stay put and keep waiting. After another half hour of waiting in life-threatening conditions, he unhooked the trailer and drove away to warm up despite another directions from Transam to either drive with the trailer or stay put. He came back when the repair truck arrived 15 minutes later. Maddin was fired for abandoning the truck, and filed a complaint with the Department of Labor and was awarded compensation.

Transam appealed the Department of Labor’s decision, and the case wound up in the 10th Circuit Court Court of Appeals, where Gorsuch is a judge. The other two judges on the panel agreed with the DOL decision, but Gorsuch did not, saying “employees who voice safety concerns about their vehicles may decline to cause those vehicles to work without fear of reprisal. And that protection, while significant, just does not give employees license to cause those vehicles to work in ways they happen to wish but an employer forbids.” Gorsuch believes

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  • Aileen Wagner employs her love of words as a writer and editor. She is the owner of Walnut Bend Creative, and spends her time working on everything from textbooks to narratives to research presentations. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio. You can connect with her at walnutbendcreative.wordpress.com or via Walnut Bend Creative on Facebook.

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