The buzz overnight is that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch criticized President Trump for attacking the Judge who granted the TRO against the Immigration Executive Order, and also the 9th Circuit.

Both Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal and Republican Ben Sasse said the terms “disheartening” and “demoralizing” were used.

That a nominee (or a Supreme Court Justice) would comment on a case that may come before him in the future struck me as both surprising and unwise.

Trump tweeted that Blumenthal was misrepresenting the nature of Gorsuch’s comments:

Blumenthal portrayed the comments as specific to Trump and the 9th Circuit, while Sasse applied a more general preservation of judicial independence:

My first instinct was that Gorsuch must have been referring to attacks on the judiciary in general, not on Trump’s comments about the pending 9th Circuit case.

Gorsuch’s team, led by Senator Kelly Ayotte, just confirmed what I suspected. The comments were taken out of context to the extent portrayed as a specific criticism of Trump’s comments on the Immigration EO.

Here is the statement:

Judge Gorsuch has made it very clear in all of his discussions with senators, including Senator Blumenthal, that he could not comment on any specific cases and that judicial ethics prevent him from commenting on political matters. He has also emphasized the importance of an independent judiciary, and while he made clear that he was not referring to any specific case, he said that he finds any criticism of a judge’s integrity and independence disheartening and demoralizing.