Gorsuch: Separation of Powers Is 'The Genius of the Constitution'

By Susan Jones | March 21, 2017 | 10:16 AM EDT

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, testifies at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

(CNSNews.com) - On the second day of his confirmation hearing, Judge Neil Gorsuch was asked for his view on the separation of powers.

Speaking slowly and firmly, the Supreme Court nominee told Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, that the separation of powers is "the genius of the Constitution."

His response – spontaneous, not read -- speaks for itself and is transcribed here in its entirety:

On the separation of powers, it is, Mr. Chairman, the genius of the Constitution.

Madison thought that the separation of powers was perhaps the most important liberty-guaranteeing device in the whole Constitution.

And this is a point of civics that I do think maybe is lost today -- how valuable the separation of powers is.

You have in Article I, the people's representatives make the law. That's your job. And I don't think it's an accident that the framers put Article I first.

Your job comes first, to make the law.

Article II, the president's job, is to faithfully execute your laws.

And our job, Article III, down at the bottom, is to make sure that the cases and controversies of the people are fairly decided.

And if those roles were confused, and power amalgamated, the Founders worried that that would be the very definition of tyranny.

And you can see why.

Judges would make pretty rotten legislators. We’re life-tenured, right? You can’t get rid of us. It only takes a couple of us to make a decision -- or nine, or 12, depending on the court.

That would be a pretty poor way to run a democracy.

And at the same time, with respect, legislators might not make great judges, because they're answerable to the people.  And when you come to court with a case or a controversy about past facts, you want a neutral, rigidly neutral – fair, scrupulously fair, decision-maker.

You want somebody who's going to put politics aside.

So the separation of powers, I don’t think has lost any of its genius over 200 years. In fact, it's proven it.

Gorsuch also told Sen. Grassley that no one, in course of his nomination, has asked him for any promises or commitments on which way he would rule.

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