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News on The 700 Club: February 1, 2017

As seen on "The 700 Club" Read Transcript

Well, welcome, folks.

And Wendy Griffith is with us today.

We're going to have a great show.

Wendy, did you ever have a secret that you wanted to tell

people that you couldn't?

Oh, yes.

It is the worst thing, isn't it--

PAT ROBERTSON: It's horrible.

--you know, when you have to hold it, because, you know,

like you said, we're communicators.

PAT ROBERTSON: Jay told me a couple weeks ago

that the pick was going to be Gorsuch.



And I'm on this program arguing with our reporter about some

cab driver going to be on the Supreme Court,

and I knew he wasn't.

And I couldn't say what I know better because I--

WENDY GRIFFITH: It had to be excruciating!

Well, I wasn't going to, you know,

steal Donald Trump's thunder, no way in the world.

But he announced his Supreme Court pick last night.

And he's being called a strong constitutional conservative.

He's a federal judge on the Tenth Circuit, Neil Gorsuch.

And his supporters say he's right in the mold

of the man he would be replacing, Antonin Scalia.


Now the battle to confirm Gorsuch

will begin with some Democrats already compromising

to oppose his nomination.

Paul Strand brings us the story from Washington.


PAUL STRAND: President Trump knew

this choice really mattered to those who elected him.

In fact, of voters who said the Supreme

Court was their number-one issue, 56% of them

voted for him.

Trump promised a constitutionalist

in the mold of Antonin Scalia.

And with federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch,

he's delivered.

I promised to select someone who respects our laws

and is representative of our constitution

and who loves our constitution.

The Supreme Court's work is vital

not just to a region of the country but to the whole,

vital to the protection of the people's liberties

under law and to the continuity of our constitution,

the greatest charter of human liberty the world has ever


PAUL STRAND: Veteran court watcher John Malcolm

gave us his grade on the pick.

He will be a superlative Supreme Court Justice.

PAUL STRAND: Malcolm can understand

from Gorsuch's past rulings and writings

why Trump would choose him.

There's a sparkling writing style much like Antonin Scalia.

But more important than a sparkling writing style,

he's a very, very deep thinker who's

written some incredibly scholarly opinions

on a whole host of issues.

Naming the nominee was the easy part.

But Senate Democrats have promised a bruising battle

over confirmation.

You're likely to hear over and over again

how Trump's pick is "extreme" and not "mainstream."

Earlier pledges to fight any Trump nominee

led to this White House response to a question

from CBN News' David Brody.

And before they've even heard who this individual is,

you've got some of them saying, absolutely no.

I mean, that just shows you that it's all about politics.

It's not about qualification.

When he was nominated to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals,

he was confirmed by the Senate unanimously.

I only hope that both Democrats and Republicans

can come together for once for the good of the country.

PAUL STRAND: Malcolm knows the Democrats are going to attack,

but he's just not sure how.

I mean, you can never really replace a legal lion

like Antonin Scalia but a fitting successor

to Antonin Scalia.

But, you know, Neil Gorsuch surely fits that mold.

And I expect that, at the end of the day,

he will get confirmed despite some heated opposition

from some pretty mad Democrats.

PAUL STRAND: But Gorsuch says he's

ready for whatever his critics bring.

I consider the United States Senate

the greatest deliberative body in the world.

And I respect the important role the constitution affords it

in the confirmation of our judges.

PAUL STRAND: Senate Democrats have already

delayed moving on some of Trump's cabinet choices,

including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

But Gorsuch could face the hardest confirmation

battle of them all.

Paul Strand, CBN News, Washington.

Well, he's an incredible pick.

He's been vetted by the Federalist Society, vetted

by the Heritage Foundation, vetted by very

distinguished legal scholars.

Jay Sekulow is with us.

And Jay had the word a couple of weeks ago, told me.

And I had to sit here and act like I didn't know.

Jay, that was a hard task ahead of me.

Yeah, well, you never could be 100% sure.

So I told you that was the sense we were getting

and what was circulating.

But until it was announced, you didn't know.

But, yeah, look, a great pick.

And, by the way, Pat, we've appeared before Judge Gorsuch

in a Ten Commandments case that ultimately went to the Supreme

Court of the United States.

We won 9 to 0.

The dissent that he signed in our favor at the Tenth Circuit

served as the basis of that case.

So this is someone we've had experience

with on a number of occasions.

And he's got a great judicial record.

And, frankly, I don't think they're

going to be able to mount a filibuster.

They may try, but it's going to be for naught.

They're not going to be able to do it.

PAT ROBERTSON: Well, he has such a distinguished record.

Listen, he clerked for Kennedy.

He also clerked, I understand, for Byron White.

So he's got tremendous Supreme Court experience.

He was confirmed unanimously for the Tenth Circuit.

How can they come after him?

Well, you know, the groups on the left--

the ACLU, People for the American Way,

others, Nan Aron's group--

they're going to say he's an extremist.

That means, code word, they're concerned that he's pro-life.

He wrote a book on euthanasia.

He talks about the value and dignity of human life.

He ruled in favor of the state in a case involving

Planned Parenthood defunding.

So, look, that's how they're going to mount the challenge.

But the fact of the matter is you're already seeing

Democrats starting to peel off.

Look, if they filibuster Neil Gorsuch,

all the Republicans have to do is

walk through the door that Harry Reid already kicked open

with the nuclear option.

So they may try to do it, Pat.

Look, it's a free country.

They could try whatever they want to do.

Let me tell you what we're going to be saying.

In about 10 weeks, we're going to be calling Judge Gorsuch

Justice Gorsuch.

PAT ROBERTSON: I believe that.

Well, the Democrats are talking about a stolen seat.

The Republicans didn't vote on Merrick Garland.

But they had people from Joe Biden on saying,

you shouldn't vote during an election year for a Surpreme

Court judge.

It was the Biden rule.

He actually said it on the floor of the United States Senate.

When you're in an election year, you

don't put the nominee through.

And, by the way, all the Democrats

lined up with him on that.

So that was no great shock.

But, look, they could cry over that.

They could say whatever they want to say.

The answer to that is, elections have consequences.

They lost the Senate.

Here's the risk for the Democrats.

You've got 10 Senate seats that are up--

and you know this better than I do, certainly--

in the next cycle for the election for Democrats

that are in vulnerable states, states where Donald Trump won.

Are they going to block Neil Gorsuch, who received

a voice, actually, vote?

It was confirmed with no objection

to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, has a sterling record,

has written some of the most articulate opinions

of any court of appeal judge.

Are they going to stonewall him and try to filibuster

and run the risk of the Republicans

breaking that filibuster, which would happen?

Mitch McConnell was very clear.

Senator McConnell said he is going to be confirmed.

And I take him at his word on that.

Well, you know, the thing about Schumer,

you talk about extreme?

He voted against Elaine Chao for confirmation.

And she's Mitch McConnell's wife!


And that was, again, the pettiness

of the political moment we're in.

But here's the reality.

We have a Supreme Court vacancy that's

about to be filled by Judge Gorsuch, who

will be Justice Gorsuch.

There there's a very good chance that, by this summer,

there's going to be another vacancy.

So this process, Pat, I think we're

going to be looking at two to four vacancies

in the next two to four years, maybe even less than that.

And the fact of the matter is, this is the Supreme Court

for the rest of our lives.

And you know I've been trying to avoid this court

and getting a case up to the court for the last eight years

because the way the court's been divided.

This, by the way, just restores the balance.

It doesn't tip the court.

It's a slight 5-4 majority.

The next justice could well tip that balance,

say, if it was Justice Breyer, Justice Ginsburg,

or even, maybe, Justice Kennedy.

Whoever might go could tip the balance,

although Justice Kennedy generally rules in our favor.

So we're coming to that point where the court, ideologically,

philosophically is going to make a shift.

We're not there yet.

But this is a great start with a young, bright, intelligent,

perfect nomination to fill the seat of the late, great Justice

Antonin Scalia, someone that I had the privilege of appearing

before for three decades.


Well, were you in the Hobby Lobby case?

Or were you in any of these other cases before the judges?

We were.

You know, we had eight cases.

The Hobby Lobby case was the main case

with seven other Supreme Court cases attached to it.

We had, I think, five of those--

so the Hobby Lobby case; the Summum case,

which was the Ten Commandments case; a number of other cases

we've been before Judge Gorsuch.

His rulings are great.

His concurrences are great, and his dissents are great.

And that becomes very important when

you're trying to get something overturned.

PAT ROBERTSON: See, you're very optimistic.

But you think Kennedy's going to be the next?

Because he kind of has been swaying.

But he's been a conservative swing vote.

What do you think?


I mean, I have a lot of respect for Justice Kennedy.

Look, they always all don't get them right.

But I will say Justice Scalia was

with us on every single opinion in every case we brought.

But having said that, look, I don't know

if it'll be Justice Kennedy.

But I suspect that there could well be a vacancy.

And I think you're going to see other nominees come forward

in the mold of what you just saw with Gorsuch.

Jay, one last question that, of course, worries me.

We used to think that the job of judges

was to interpret the written constitution

and apply it as it was intended by the people who wrote it.


Now we have a group of people who

think it's a living document that

can be malleable in relation to the mood of the sociological

thinkers of the day.

That's the Democrat position.

The other is the strict constructionist condition.

Who's going to win?

Well, I think right now the tip is slightly

in favor of the originalist textualists,

which would be justices like Sam Alito, justices

like Clarence Thomas, justices when Judge Gorsuch's confirmed.

So I think it's tipping that way.

And this is the ideological split on the court.

Is the document, as Justice Breyer says,

a living and breathing document?

Or is, in fact, a document written by the founders

and should be interpreted in that light?

I'm a textualist.

I think, if you want to change the Constitution, you can.

It's called a constitutional amendment.

It has been changed.

But you have to do it through the amendment process.

That's the people, not the court.

Jay, thank you so much.

Stay with it, buddy.

God bless you.

Thanks, Pat.

Wendy, it's an amazing fight that's been going on.

I found it when I went to Yale Law School, you know.

The first case we studied in constitutional law

was called "Marbury vs. Madison."

We didn't read the Constitution.

As far as I can tell, in that entire time

of studying the Constitutional Law,

we never once sat down and read the Constitution.


We started with the case that said that the Supreme Court has

the power to overturn cases at the Supreme Court.

That was "Marbury vs. Madison," you know, in a capsule.

And it's been amazing how people have changed the Constitution.

But you get a guy like Scalia and people applaud him

because he's a strict constructionist.

He said, this is what the law said.

Let's find out what these framers intended and read

the language as it's written.

That's nice.

The others say, well, you know, we can't do that.

It's a living document.

But that was Hillary Clinton.

If she had gotten in, she would definitely

have put it in judges.

But it's an amazing thing.

It truly is the most important decision a president can make.


But the fact is we've had cases that have driven us all nuts--

the so-called Lemon case, which, you know,

Scalia said it was like a ghoul that

needed to come out and drive a stake through his heart.

But, you know, all these religious liberty cases

have been absolutely outrageous.

And they have restricted, restricted, restricted,

restricted freedom of religion.

So you get the chance for some of these things

to be overturned.

And what the pro-abortion folks are concerned about,

there's a real possibility of overturning

"Roe vs. Wade," which was based on extraordinarily

poor legal opinion.

And it was--

WENDY GRIFFITH: Wow, that would be something, to see that.

It was called Blackmun's abortion.

I mean, they made up case law that didn't exist.

It was just unbelievable.


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