"Independent" was the word of the day, in the Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearing. By "independent," the senators meant that we are all dependent upon the judiciary and its arbitrary will. (Only the judiciary is allowed to be "independent," you see.)
Unmentioned was the independence of all three branches--the Founders' ingenious device that keeps tyranny in check. The judiciary is independent. The executive is independent. The legislature is independent. Even the people, said Thomas Jefferson, are independent ultimately "of all but the moral law."
Sadly, moral law is one thing that Gorsuch believes must be discarded.
At the hearing, one of the senators glowingly praised a previous Gorsuch statement, which advocated a moral vacancy in the judiciary:
"[Judges should] apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be--not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions[.]" (Neil Gorsuch, 2016 Sumner Canary Memorial Lecture: Of Lions and Bears, Judges and Legislators, and the Legacy of Justice Scalia, 2016)
Gorsuch is wrong. Without the check of moral convictions ("so help me God"), a federal judge cannot fulfill his oath, which reads:
"I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States; and that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."