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Neil Gorsuch, Amateur Epidemiologist

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Conservatives have pressured Glenn Kessler to state as fact that Gorsuch’s statement that “hundreds of thousands of people a year” die on the flu was mis-transcribed:

I’ve listened to the recording multiple times, and I can’t tell, so I would defer to the court reporter. But what amuses me about this is that the version of the question Gorsuch’s defenders claim he was asking is much, much dumber. In the transcript version, the fact is wrong but the question makes sense, or at least is internally logical. In the revised version, he’s asking “if you have a mandate for a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people a year, why don’t you have one for one that kills hundreds of people a year?” That isn’t just a question that answers itself, it’s a question that makes the questioner sound like an absolute idiot. If Kessler is right, Gorsuch is asking a rhetorical question that bolsters the government’s case, when he thinks he’s asking a real question that hurts the government’s case:

Admittedly, there is further textual evidence for the revisionist version:

The depressing thing is that Republican elites are now totally committed to making sure no vaccination campaign is ever as successful as the campaign against polio was.

In addition, it is true that Sotomayor also (?) made a factual misstatement. But attempts to create an equivalency are false. First of all, there is overwhelming evidence that COVID is a major emergency, and if you change Sotomayor’s comments to make clear that 100,000 is the total number of children rater than those currently hospitalized it doesn’t change anything. But more importantly, of the two only Gorsuch believes that his non-expertise should replace the judgments of the actual experts in the executive branch and the electorally accountable officials supervising them. I don’t think liberal judges should be in charge of the nation’s pandemic response either, and fortunately they agree with me!

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