Alfonse D'Amato

Tom Brady, a champion for the ages


Over the years, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Coach Bill Belichick have been the objects of some justified — and some vicious — criticism. But Sunday night’s heroic Super Bowl performance by Brady and his teammates, I believe, has eclipsed all the criticism. The Patriots’ comeback was inspirational, and deserves to be acknowledged as one of the greatest triumphs not only in the history of the big game, but in the history of the NFL.

It harkens back to a classic statement made by the immortal No. 8 of the Yankees, Yogi Berra, who said simply, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Brady & Co. certainly proved that.

Now, on to the world of politics. President Trump deserves support for his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, who has had a brilliant law career since he was a student at both Columbia and Harvard Law. It is important to note that the Senate unanimously approved his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit 10 years ago.

In nominating him for the Supreme Court, Trump made the right decision. Gorsuch is well qualified, and emphasizes civil liberties, not government authority. His ascension to the court would break the 4-4 stalemate between progressives and conservatives that has hindered its work since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia almost a year ago.

While Trump’s nomination has received praise around the nation, Democrats are gearing up to fight and stall the decision. Immediately after the selection was made public, Senate Democratic leaders began painting Gorsuch as an extremist, and said he would have to get the 60 votes in the Senate needed to break a filibuster.

Democrats are ready to fight the nomination tooth and nail, which will make it hard for Republicans to lock down 60 votes. As of now, I do not believe Gorsuch will receive the eight Democratic votes he would need to achieve that total. That will force Republicans to use the so-called “nuclear option,” which would do away with the filibuster and make a simple majority all that’s needed to bring the nomination to the Senate floor for a vote.

American politics is so polarized these days that the American people will continue to be held captive by Washington. However, Trump delivered once again on one of his campaign promises, and I believe that the fight for the Supreme Court will be an issue that unifies and strengthens the Republican Party, and eventually Gorsuch will be named a justice.

In other news, on Feb. 1, protests erupted at the University of California’s Berkeley campus ahead of a planned appearance by right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, causing $100,000 worth of damage to the campus.

This wasn’t a peaceful or lawful protest; it was a disgrace. It’s one thing to protest peacefully and demonstrate your First Amendment right. It’s another to physically attack and infringe on other people’s rights. What is going on in places like Berkeley isn’t protest, it’s anarchy.

It is troubling to learn that not one arrest was made during the protest. There are clear photographs and images of individuals breaking windows and setting fire to property. When people attack others, set fires and damage other people’s property, they should be arrested and prosecuted.

If this kind of conduct is allowed to continue, we will encourage anarchy, and that is not the American way.

The reports of Trump supporters being physically attacked, and in some cases pepper-sprayed, by protesters is troubling. That is not how a group gets its message across; it is only a representation of hatred.

The peaceful protests that took place at Kennedy Airport after Trump’s executive order instituting travel bans were a prime example of our constitutional rights at work. Peaceful protests and people raising their voices on issues is the American way, not anarchy or attacking people and their property. While I disagree with the airport protesters’ position, I respect their right to be heard and demonstrate peacefully. That’s what makes America great.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column?