It was comical to watch how the Democrats and their allies on the left have instantly rejected President Trump’s selection of Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court pick. Even before he stepped to the podium to announce the name, protesters were gathered on the Supreme Court steps ready to attack whoever it turned out to be. It could have been God or Elmer Fudd. It made no difference.
Thus, an hour after the announcement, there was Fox News’ Tucker Carlson interviewing a woman in front of the Supreme Court trying to articulate why she was against Gorsuch. The best she could muster was that Gorsuch was pro-corporation or some such nonsense.
Equally absurd was Nancy Pelosi, who said that if you breathe air, take medicine, or eat food, this pick is bad for you. And did you know that (according to Pelosi) Gorsuch is hostile to autistic children?
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 1, 2017
On the contrary, unless we learn next week that Gorsuch is a secret member of Coloradans for Satin, this is one hard selection to oppose. Gorsuch’s credentials are impeccable. He is a conservative and an originalist who believes judges should interpret law and allow the laws to be made by the legislative branch. That’s why the Democrats are opposed.
So now the battle lines are drawn, and most of the Democrats in the Senate (with the possible exception of sensible ones like Joe Manchin of West Virginia), will vote against Gorsuch. The big issue is the number of votes it will take to pass, which is normally a simple majority of 51. Many Democrats plan to filibuster and the question is whether the Republicans can garner the votes to shut that down. It would take 60 votes to do that. Trump wants the Republicans, if necessary, to go with the “nuclear option” in the event of a filibuster. That could change the threshold for cloture from 60 to 51 votes. But if the Democrats want to protest the nuclear option, they can thank Harry Reid, who put it in place in 2013 in order to get then-President Obama’s lower court judgeships confirmed. What’s fair for the goose is fair for the gander.
The Democrats are also seething over the failure of the Republicans to even consider the nomination of Obama’s previous pick, Merrick Garland last year. That argument has some merit, but the Republicans counter that no Supreme Court nominee in the past 80 years has been considered in the final year of a president’s administration, in effect during an election cycle. That concept was supported by no less than then-Senator Joe Biden in 1992 when it suited his own purposes to oppose a nomination. In fact, it was known as the “Biden Rule”.
Let’s be frank: For both sides, a Supreme Court pick involves huge stakes. It is especially true now when the balance for the court for the next generation is on the line. Both sides are going to use whatever justification they can to support their arguments. So it comes down to this: The Republicans should use whatever legal means they can to win this battle. That puts the weight on the shoulders of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. He has been criticized widely over the past 8 years for not being a strong leader. If it comes down to it, he should go with the nuclear option. If the Republicans don’t do all they can to get this nomination confirmed, shame on them.
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