Home Daily News Clips Wednesday News: “Neil Gorsuch, the Nominee for a Stolen Seat”; Trump Degrades...

Wednesday News: “Neil Gorsuch, the Nominee for a Stolen Seat”; Trump Degrades Law, Constitution


by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, February 1.

  • Video: Corey Stewart attacks Ed Gillespie as “weak on life”


  • Video: Sen. Tim Kaine “so excited” that “American public…energized to speak out against the abuses of this administration”


  • Video: Virginia Del. Sam Rasoul on Religious Liberty, Then & Now


  • From the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association

    New Report Shows Hospitals Help Power Virginia’s Economy by Providing Thousands of Jobs and Billions in Economic Activity

    In 2015, Virginia Hospitals Accounted for 125,674 Jobs and Nearly $40 Billion in
    State Economic Output

    RICHMOND, VA – Hospitals in Virginia continue to serve as indispensable community pillars that provide public access to essential health services and are economic cornerstones. Newly available data show Virginia hospitals in 2015 employed 125,674 people in good-paying jobs, with payroll and benefits totaling $8.5 billion. Hospitals in the Commonwealth also spent nearly $18.7 billion in our communities in 2015, representing economic investments with many local businesses. And our hospitals generated $39.9 billion in state economic output during 2015, according to a January 2017 report from the American Hospital Association.

    “These latest figures reaffirm what we have long known – Virginia’s community hospitals and health systems are tremendously valuable to our local, state, and national economies,” said Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “At a time when our state and federal leaders are focused on job growth and creation, our hospitals continue to serve as key employment hubs in our communities even as health care providers face challenging financial headwinds and the prospect of fundamental federal and state policy change that could cause further upheaval. Amid these conditions, Virginia’s hospitals continue to serve all comers year round at all hours of the day or night.”

    Nationally, hospitals directly employ more than 5.7 million people. The “ripple effects” of those jobs yields 16 million total jobs linked to hospitals and $2.8 trillion in national economic activity. Even as many other industries have experienced employment stagnation and loss, hospitals and the health care sector have continued to support job gains. For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the health care sector will account for a major share of our nation’s job growth over the next several years. In addition to direct jobs, each Virginia hospital job supports roughly one additional non-hospital job for a total of 261,691 jobs in the Commonwealth.

    Aside from supporting jobs and the economy, Virginia’s hospitals also provide health care access to all patients, including those unable to pay for care. From 2008-2015, for example, Virginia hospitals provided more than $4.2 billion in charity care. In 2015 alone, Virginia’s hospitals provided $1.4 billion in community benefit as defined by the Internal Revenue Service, including nearly $585 million in financial assistance to patients, and another $1.48 billion in community support. Virginia hospitals face financial challenges due to government mandates and the charity care inherent in our health care system. Annual data from Virginia Health Information (VHI) show many local hospitals across the state continue to struggle financially. VHI figures show 27
    percent of Virginia’s acute care, critical access, and children’s hospitals – and more than 43 percent of rural hospitals – operated at a loss in 2015. These conditions, which could be exacerbated by pending health care policy decisions, jeopardize the public’s access to essential health care services and all the economic benefits Virginia hospitals provide.

    Key highlights from the American Hospital Association report include:

    • Virginia hospitals employ 125,674 people, with wages and benefits totaling $8.5 billion, and support 261,691 total jobs in the state economy.
    • Hospitals in the Commonwealth spend nearly $18.7 billion in our communities on items such as goods and services from local businesses.
    • Virginia hospitals generate $39.9 billion in state economic activity.
    • In the Commonwealth and nationally, hospitals continue to serve as key economic
    engines and employers.

  • NARAL Virginia Statement on Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to US Supreme Court

    With the news that President Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and NARAL Pro-Choice America issued the following statement:

    “The Supreme Court exists to defend our basic rights as Americans and must serve as a check on this runaway administration,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “With Judge Gorsuch, the stakes couldn’t be higher when it comes to women and our lives. Gorsuch represents an existential threat to legal abortion in the United States and must never wear the robes of a Supreme Court justice. After Trump’s disastrous first week on the job—from his global gag rule to his travel ban on Muslims—we cannot afford to elevate his destructive agenda with a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court.”

    “Donald Trump campaigned for months on the repeal of Roe v. Wade” says Tarina Keene, executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “In the last week, we’ve seen that Trump means to fulfill every promise he made on the campaign trail. With the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, we must take his threats to repeal Roe v. Wade and punish a woman for having an abortion at face value. An overwhelming majority of Virginians support a woman’s right to make her own, private decisions about abortion and reproductive healthcare. Judge Gorsuch is a troubling nominee who threatens that right in Virginia and across the nation. We strongly oppose his nomination.”

    President Trump has a long history of promising to nominate justices intent on overturning Roe v. Wade. Here is a brief background on what we know about Judge Neil Gorsuch:
    Current position: judge, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Appointed by anti-choice president George W. Bush; confirmed by voice vote.

    He has contributed to anti-choice elected officials including Bill Frist, John McCain, and George W. Bush.[i]

    He clerked for anti-choice Associate Justice Byron White.

    He also clerked for mixed-choice Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.

    The conservative Federalist Society lists him as an “expert” on its website.[ii]

    In a case challenging the Utah governor’s executive action defunding Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, Gorsuch wrote an anti-choice dissent, in which he describes the motivation for the governor’s order as based on the activities alleged in videos released in the summer of 2015, and not because of the governor’s anti-choice position.[iii]

    When the Tenth Circuit decided against rehearing en banc a challenge to the ACA’s contraceptive-coverage policy (Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell), Gorsuch joined the dissenting opinion. Dissenters called the contraceptive-coverage policy a clear burden on the plaintiffs’ free exercise of religion and predicted that the policy would “not long survive.”[iv]

    Gorsuch concurred with the Tenth Circuit’s anti-choice ruling in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius. He wrote a concurring opinion that the ACA’s contraceptive-coverage policy required Hobby Lobby “to violate their religious faith by lending an impermissible degree of assistance to conduct their religion teaches to be gravely wrong.” He continues, “the mandate compels Hobby Lobby and Mardel to underwrite payments for drugs or devices that can have the effect of destroying a fertilized human egg.”

    He submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the American Hospital Association in a case about assisted suicide. He referenced Planned Parenthood v. Casey and wrote, in reference to public hospitals being required to provide elective abortions, “If the courts feel free to override the conscience of health care providers in that context, there is a danger they will do so here as well.”[v]

    In a challenge to Oklahoma’s license-plate program, which allows for “Choose Life” license plates that fund anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers, the district court dismissed the case on procedural grounds. Gorsuch ruled that although some of the charges were rightfully dismissed, others could be heard on the merits so he remanded the case back to the district court for further proceedings. In his opinion, he wrote: “even if [the plaintiff] were to prevail and obtain the relief sought in its amended complaint, the State would remain free to promote adoption and ensure that none of its monies go to abortion-related activities or any other activities of which it disapproves.”[vi]

    He wrote a novel, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, which argued against legalization of assisted suicide on the principle that human life is intrinsically valuable and that terminating human life is always wrong.[vii]

  • Video: Trump’s bizarre Black History Month comments. This guy is utterly clueless, among other fine qualities…ugh.


  • Good for Sen. Kaine; I can’t even imagine how any Democrat could support Sessions…


    WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement today on the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General:

    “I was a civil rights lawyer for 17 years and know that one of the most important roles of the Justice Department is to protect civil rights. This calls for an Attorney General whose commitment to marginalized communities is strong in both word and deed. Unfortunately, Senator Sessions has a long, public record that reflects the opposite. He has called the Voting Rights Act ‘intrusive’ and has demonstrated a poor commitment to desegregating schools in his home state of Alabama. At a time when there is a dire need for improved relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve, I do not feel that someone with Senator Sessions’s history on these issues would play a constructive role in safeguarding civil rights and improving race relations as head of the Justice Department.

    “In addition, I have concerns about Senator Sessions’s support for the extreme interrogation techniques used during the Bush Administration. Senator Sessions’s statements about waterboarding and his votes against prohibiting the use of torture do not convince me that a Justice Department under his leadership would uphold American values regarding the decent and humane treatment of detainees.

    “While I respect Senator Sessions as a colleague and have had the pleasure to work alongside him on the Armed Services Committee, I will oppose his nomination to be Attorney General.”

    In addition to Sessions, Kaine has announced his opposition to the following Trump nominees: Rex Tillerson, Tom Price, Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson and Mick Mulvaney. He has voted in support of the following Trump nominees: James Mattis, John Kelly, Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley and Elaine Chao. Additional decisions are forthcoming based on ongoing review of the nominees’ backgrounds and confirmation hearings.

  • True Blue

    I appreciate these comments at #StolenSeat

    “339 days- that’s how long the GOP denied Merrick Garland the courtesy of a hearing.”

    (In picture from a yearbook) Gorsuch, editor and founder of the Federalist Paper, quotes Henry Kissinger “the illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer” from August 29, 1967.

    “GOP chose to block Scalia’s replacement while his body was still warm. Dems should follow the precedent they set.”

    “Republicans rendered Gorsuch -or any other nominee- illegitimate. They seek to fill a #StolenSeat. Sins against democracy have consequences.”

    About comments from McConnell – “One of my proudest moments was when I told Obama, “You will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy.” 2016

    and “Apparently there’s a new standard now, which is not to confirm a Supreme Court nominee at all. I think that’s something the American people will not tolerate.” 2017

    and my personal favorite, below – hahaha

    “Donald Trump should not be allowed to nominate a #SupremeCourt justice in the last year of his presidency.”

  • Video: Rep. Donald McEachin stands up for Stream Protection Rule


  • Quizzical

    Katherine Hayhoe on how to reduce your personal carbon footprint