Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary were defined primarily by blunt questions from Democrats and evasive answers from the nominee — but the odd funny exchange lightened an otherwise tedious process.
The judge seemed at ease throughout most of the proceedings, and reacted in good humor to barbs and lighthearted softballs from Republican senators. These were the funniest moments of the marathon hearings.
Judicial confirmation hearings usually feature an uninterrupted gauntlet of questioning running hours at a time, an uncomfortable exercise for the even the most disciplined nominee. Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska told Gorsuch he was impressed by the fortitude of his bladder.
“My wife sent a text a little bit ago and said — and I’m sure she didn’t expect me to read it but — ‘How in the world is Gorsuch able to go so many hours at a time without peeing?'” the senator said, relaying his wife’s query.
“I won’t make you answer but the SCOTUS bladder is something the whole country stands in awe of,” he added.
Horse v. Duck
Redditors had an emissary in GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who asked the judge to resolve a question that has had message boards in fits of rage for years: Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck?
Ever the prudent nominee, Gorsuch declined to give an answer.
The same question vexed the Obama administration when the former president was asked during a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” in 2013.
HE SAID IT.
What is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything?
GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas played to the nominee’s fondness for Douglas Adams’ series “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
In the series, a supercomputer named Deep Thought — which is the size of a small city — spends seven and a half million years calculating the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. Deep Thought concludes the answer is “42,” but the reader is never privy to the question.
The book is required reading for Gorsuch’s law clerks.
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