Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has described US President Donald Trump's attacks on the US judiciary as "disheartening," according to a Democratic senator. A Trump tweet for his daughter Ivanka has also drawn rebuke.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said Gorsuch had described Trump's anti-judicial outbursts as "disheartening" and "demoralizing," as the nominee made courtesy visits to senators on Wednesday.
Blumenthal of Connecticut urged Gorsuch to go public with his concerns to "establish his independence" from Trump, who nominated the 49-year-old conservative Colorado judge (pictured above) late last month to replace the late Antonin Scalia.
A Republican appointed to guide the nomination through the Senate, Ron Bonjean, confirmed that Gorsuch used those words when he met Blumenthal.
Appeals panel also denigrated
Trump kept up his criticism on Wednesday when addressing police chiefs and sheriffs by slamming as "so political" the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeal's deliberations over Trump's executive order banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and suspending refugee arrivals.
That three-judge federal appeals panel is due to deliver its verdict later this week.
Trump began his judicial attacks last weekend by tweeting that the Seattle US District circuit's James Robart was a "so-called judge" and that his stay on the president's refugee and immigration ban would be "overturned."
Another Democratic senator, former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, said in her talks with Gorsuch they had had a "thorough conversation about the importance of the rule of law and of a judiciary that is independent of the executive and legislative branches of government."
"We also talked about Indian law and treaties, fixing our criminal justice system, and empathy on the bench - a fundamental trait when the poor and underprivileged in North Dakota and beyond don't have the same access to the courts as those who are better off," Heitkamp added.
Public office 'misused'
President Trump was also accused Wednesday of misusing his public office to publicly slam the department store chain Nordstrom Inc for dropping his daughter Ivanka's clothing line.
On both his personal and official presidential Twitter accounts, Trump wrote: "My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person - always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!"
Former Republican President George W. Bush's chief ethics lawyer, Richard Painter, described Trump's intervention as "abuse of power because the official message is clear - Nordstrom is persona non grata with the administration."
An ethics adviser to former Democratic President Barack Obama, Norman Eisen, warned the unprecedented presidential tweet could spark lawsuits if the company considered its brand name to have been injured.
Robert Weissman, president of the liberal watchdog group Public Citizen, said Trump's reaction over his daughter's business line contradicted his pre-inauguration claim that "he is going to have nothing to do with his family businesses."
"The implicit threat was that he will use whatever authority he has to retaliate against Nordstrom, or anyone who crosses his interest," said Kathleen Clark, an ethics law professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
Boycott traffic increases
Usage of the Twitter hashtag #GrabYourWallet rose dramatically Wednesday.
It encourages shoppers to boycott products with ties to President Trump, his family and his donors.
Nordstrom said it informed Ivanka Trump about its decision to cease her apparel line in early January because sales had "steadily declined."
ipj/rc (Reuters, AP)