Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat, brought the heat to Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Grouch Tuesday during his confirmation hearings for his decision as an appellate judge against a truck driver.
Truck driver Alphonse Maddin sued the TransAm trucking company for wrongful termination after he was fired for abandoning his malfunctioning trailer in subzero temperatures in Illinois. The trailer’s brakes froze and the heat in the cab went out. TransAm fired Maddin for abandoning his post. He sued, saying his termination violated federal safety law. Two of the judges in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in his favor in 2016, with Gorsuch in dissent.
Gorsuch claimed that labor rules forbidding employers for making employees operate dangerous machinery did not apply because he said the dangerous machinery was the inoperable trailer, not the truck’s cab, and that the trailer was not being operated. That rankled Franken, who said that Gorsuch’s opinion “makes me question your judgement.”
“I had a career in identifying absurdity, and I know it when I see it,” the Democrat and former comedian said to Gorsuch.