Tuesday, April 4, 2017

How did a universally liked guy like Gorsuch become a lightning rod?

Consider that in July 2006, he was confirmed by a unanimous voice vote to a seat on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Consider that he has the highest rating the American Bar Association grants.

So why are Democrats turning their ire on their own Senators, such as Indiana's Joe Donnelly, who intend to vote to confirm him to the Supreme Court?

Why is Chuck Schumer publicly announcing that there will be a filibuster?

Rich Lowry in the New York Post says it's a singularly stupid move in Senate history:

Throughout its history, the US Senate has experienced disgraceful filibusters (Strom Thurmond against the 1957 Civil Rights Act), entertaining filibusters (Huey Long in 1935 reciting a fried oyster recipe) and symbolic filibusters (Rand Paul making a point about drone strikes in 2013). But the filibuster Chuck Schumer is about to undertake against Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination is perhaps the institution’s dumbest.
It won’t block Gorsuch, won’t establish any important jurisprudential principle and won’t advance Democratic strategic goals, indeed the opposite. A Gorsuch filibuster would be an act of a sheer partisan pique against the wrong target, with the wrong method, at the wrong time.
The effort to portray Gorsuch as out of the mainstream has fallen flat. He has the support of President Barack Obama’s former solicitor general, Neal Katyal. He got the American Bar Association’s highest rating. He’s been endorsed by USA Today. He will receive the votes of at least three Democratic senators. Some radical.
From the moment of his announcement by President Trump to the very last question at his confirmation hearings, Gorsuch has been an exemplary performer, whose deep knowledge has been matched by his winning temperament. The attack on him as an enemy of the little man is based on a few decisions where he clearly followed the law, even though it resulted in an unsympathetic outcome.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a delightful and surprising show of resolve, has made it clear he'll respond with the unfortunately named "nuclear option."

The "M"SM is taking every opportunity to use that term, as if Republicans would be doing something dastardly.

John Steele Gordon at Commentary says that not only would ending the filibuster for nominations - a different critter from legislation - not be dastardly, it would be great:

The Senate, according to Thomas Jefferson, is meant to be “the saucer in which to cool the coffee.” The House, all of whose members are up for election every two years, tends to respond to every political whim. The Senate, with six-year terms and only one-third up for electio
n every two years, is supposed to be more deliberative and take a wider view. (Whether it does, of course, is another story.)
The filibuster, which essentially means that sixty votes are needed to pass legislation, helps that happen. By empowering the minority, it forces legislation towards the center, as the majority, unless it has a very large majority, has to compromise with the minority to get things done. This is simple political horse trading: we’ll give you this if you give us that.
But with nominations, no compromising is possible. Either Judge Gorsuch is confirmed or he is not. No horses can change hands. So to have a filibuster with nominations is not to empower the minority, it is to give it a veto on all nominations and, in effect, to negate the results of the last election.  And in a democracy, according to Barack Obama, elections are supposed to have consequences.
So I look forward to the showdown this week and to seeing the end of the profoundly undemocratic filibuster for nominations. I only hope some misguided Republicans (Senator McCain, are you listening?) do not seek a “compromise,” such as letting Judge Gorsuch be confirmed in exchange for agreeing to keep the filibuster for any future Supreme Court nominations. That would be an enormous gift to the Democrats in return for absolutely nothing. Indeed, less than nothing if the next justice to retire is a liberal, which is likely. It would be a naked betrayal of the Republican Party.

The point about McCain types is quite relevant here. This is a week for being on guard for Senators who exhibit symptoms of Reasonable Gentleman Syndrome. The Freedom-Haters are in war mode. Constitutionalists must unflinchingly respond in kind.


  1. I am fine with him. He is not just your Justice. Once sworn=in, he's American Justice, just as they all are and I still respect them greatly, regardless of how I think they might vote because they often surprise us. And at that level, it's of course, all so legally logical, just the way it is supposed to be. It's Our Country tis of you and me et al, you know.

  2. You're preaching to the choir. You need to tell this to Schumer.

  3. A nay for a nay, that is the way. Just petty vindictiveness. He will be confirmed and thus life goes on.

  4. When President Obama named Judge Garland over a year ago to fill the Supreme Court seat opened by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, he had every right to expect full consideration by the U.S. Senate. The Senate was of course free to reject the nomination, but it owed the President and Judge Garland both a full vetting and an up-or-down vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, if not the full Senate. That is the way that a Senate avails the President of its ‘advice and consent’ in good faith. But it is not the way of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the man who took it upon himself to decide, when President Obama first won election in 2008, that Republicans would deny him any ‘clean victories’ in Congress, and announced in October of 2010 that Republicans’ top goal would be to ‘make Obama a one-term President.’ On the very day Justice Scalia died, Mr. McConnell announced an altogether unprecedented ‘blockade’; under his rule, the Senate would simply refuse to consider any - any - candidate the President might name to replace Justice Scalia on the Court.


  5. And the ultimate consequence, as Senator Graham presciently lamented, is that the nation’s judiciary itself will grow increasingly indifferent to them. It will become, not a coequal third branch of government, but a cheap date of the other two branches. The rule of law will dissipate and then disappear, and the rule of ‘men’ – politicos put into office by those who can pay for their political adverts – will flow into the vacuum.

    Judge Gorsuch, said by many to be a man of high principle, could make a powerful stand against this alarming trajectory, and could do so without sacrificing anything – not even the Supreme Court seat he stands now to occupy. All he need do is ask Senator McConnell to stay all further proceedings in connection with his nomination to the high court until Judge Garland has been fully accorded the same treatment that he himself has received. Sure, it might take Mr. McConnell and others aback at first, but its nobility, decency, and essential rightness would act as a powerful ‘statement’ of how proper statespersons and other custodians of republican government – Presidents, Senators, and Judges – acquit themselves.


  6. Horse shit. A lot of those same Dems are on record as being against appointing any SCOTUS justices in an election year