GORSUCHED: Analyzing Menendez’s Supreme Court Quagmire

Supreme Court nominations in the modern political age are almost always dramatic affairs, Save Jerseyans.

We can thank Uncle Joe Biden for that.

For New Jersey’s own indicted senior U.S. Senator “Hudson Bob” Robert Menendez (D-Ecuador, Dominican Republic)?

President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the highest court in the land is a little more involved than your average SCOTUS selection for two unusual reasons:

(1)  Menendez has asked the U.S. Supreme Court — upon which Gorsuch is likely to soon sit — to effectively kill his indictment

Back in December, Menendez’s lawyers filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that his pending federal bribery charges infringe upon legislative activity protected by the United States Constitution’s “Speech-Or-Debate” Clause. His federal criminal trial is on hold until the justices decide (or decline) to act, likely sometime this month or next. That means Gorsuch could play a key role in deciding Menendez’s fate.

Should Menendez vote for (or against) a guy who might hold that much direct sway over not just his political future but also his liberty? Sticky! His initial statement on the matter was interestingly more muted than some of his colleagues’ less generous statements.

(2)  If Menendez decides to vote, he’ll have to reconcile his YEA vote for Gorsuch in 2006.

On January 16, 2006, Jon Corzine resigned from the U.S. Senate to begin his first (and mercifully only) term as Governor of New Jersey. His successor was then-Congressman Bob Menendez, appointed and sworn in one day later on the 17th. Almost exactly six months later? Gorsuch was confirmed to a seat on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in an “en bloc voice vote” on July 20, 2006. That means unanimously. newly-minted Senator Menendez was among those unanimous voters.

He and his Democrat colleagues (there are 11 others still in the Senate), some of whom are already threatening filibuster, will need to explain precisely what’s changed between now and 2006 to justify “NAY” votes when Gorsuch almost assuredly makes it to the Senate Floor. Good luck, Bob! Your party is going to need it.