All this hyperventilating over Donald Trump’s choice for the U.S. Supreme Court is making me dizzy.
The president tonight brought out Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the 10th Circuit of Appeals, as his nominee for the nation’s highest court.
He’s a conservative, just as Trump promised. He is a “strict constitutional constructionist,” again as Trump vowed. He’s also a disciple of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, as Trump pledged.
Now we’re hearing talk about the “nuclear option” that Senate Democrats might employ to stop Gorsuch’s confirmation. They’ll oppose this fellow, seemingly as payback for the shabby treatment Senate Republicans leveled against President Obama’s choice to succeed Obama. Remember that? Senate GOPers said within hours of Scalia’s death that they would block anyone the president nominated. Obama selected Merrick Garland and the Senate didn’t even give him a hearing and a vote.
Let’s take a deep breath here.
I want to make a couple of points.
One, I detest the notion of Donald Trump nominating anyone to the court. But he won the presidency without my vote. He won enough electoral votes to take the oath of office. Thus, he earned the right to choose anyone he wants.
Gorsuch isn’t my kind of justice. But someone else is the president.
Two, the ideological balance of the U.S. Supreme Court is not going to change when — or if — Gorsuch is confirmed. Scalia was a conservative icon. He was a heroic figure among political conservatives. Placing another judicial conservative on the high court restores the court’s narrow 5-4 conservative bent.
I feel compelled to note that the court — with that narrow conservative majority — made two decisions that riled conservatives, um, bigly. It upheld the Affordable Care Act and it declared same-sex marriage to be legal under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
Would a Justice Gorsuch change that equation? I don’t see it. A nominee to succeed, say, one of the liberals on the court would most assuredly prompt a titanic political battle … as it should.
None of this will matter, of course, to Senate Democrats who are enraged at the president over many — seemingly countless — issues. His behavior in the first 10 days of his presidency, culminating with his firing of an acting attorney general over her refusal to defend Trump’s paranoid refugee ban, has angered Democrats to their core.
Thus, the fight is on.
It pains me to acknowledge it, but I must. Donald Trump vowed to nominate someone from a list of 20 or so jurists he revealed during his campaign. He has delivered on his pledge.
Judge Gorsuch isn’t to my liking. Moreover, my candidate lost. The other guy won. As they say, elections do have consequences.