posted at 11:21 am on February 1, 2017 by Matt Vespa
President Donald J. Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals last night to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Of course, the Left is going indiscriminately insane. Some groups are calling Gorsuch unqualified—absurd since he’s an appellate judge—with scores of Senate Democrats staking their position: they’re against him. On the Right, there’s been nothing short of acclamation. Trump made a promise to find a worthy successor to Scalia and he has done so by finding all but a clone of the man concerning judicial philosophy.
Every single one of these Senators voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch in 2006. pic.twitter.com/qBy7MGo4UG
— Andrew Mullins (@AndrewWMullins) February 1, 2017
Yet, while we all watch in amazement how Democrats, some of whom voted for Gorsuch’s confirmation to the appellate court, make the argument that he’s dangerous and a consumer of human flesh, there are six Senate Democrats (so far) who are committed to giving Gorsuch a hearing and a vote: Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-SD), and Chris Coons (D-DE)
There’s no doubt what they did [on Garland] was wrong and unconstitutional. In the end, I don’t think we should play their game. Have a hearing and vote,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), an endangered Democratic incumbent.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota said that Trump’s nominee “should get a full hearing.” Asked if the nominee should also get a straight up-or-down vote rather than be blocked by a filibuster, she replied: “Absolutely.”
We wrote earlier how Sen. Coons said that he was going to push for a hearing and a vote for whomever Trump nominates. Sen. Manchin went even a step further, ruling out support for a filibuster. McCaskill said that the Senate should have a full confirmation haring and vote for any Supreme Court nominee, though there is a subtle dig at the GOP, who relied on precedent (i.e. the Biden rule) and blocked Merrick Garland’s SCOTUS nomination since it was during an election year. Then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) said in 1992 that the Senate should not confirm any Supreme Court nominations during a presidential election. I don’t think that’s too controversial, but if Democrats want to act as if Joe never served as senator—go right on ahead. She also said that she supports the 60-vote procedural hurdle, which isn’t the same as a filibuster per se.
Blumenthal mentioned the 60-vote threshold and said that he would support having a hearing for Judge Gorsuch on CNN. At the same time, when asked if he could name examples of when Gorsuch ignored judicial precedent by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Blumenthal couldn’t name one.
We should have a full confirmation hearing process and a vote on ANY nominee for the Supreme Court.
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) January 31, 2017
The point is that there seems to be a break in Democratic ranks concerning whether to go to the mattresses on this one and launch a “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”-style filibuster that would be spearheaded by Sen. Jeff Merkley, who said straight up that h would filibuster any nominee who isn’t Merrick Garland. Guy wrote yesterday that there appears to be a variety of opinions within Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s caucus on what to do with Trump’s SCOTUS pick, adding that there could be 56 or 57 votes for McConnell concerning overcoming that 60-vote procedural hurdle. Still, he mentioned McCaskill overtures for the 60-vote hurdle, noting hat if the 41 Democrats plot to block Gorsuch in this fashion, nuking the filibuster rules for Supreme Court nominees.
It’s on the table, though I’m sure McConnell, who is a strict adherent and supporter of Senate procedure, isn’t too keen on further imbruing the institution that has been horribly marred by former Sen. Harry Reid’s tenure as majority leader. Moreover, Democrats have seen what nuking these rules can do for other nominations: they’re incapable of stopping Trump’s cabinet nominees, some of which they loathe immensely. All they can do now is delay. Do they really want to force the GOP to expand that into territory that carry life appointments?
Democrats are going to say that Gorsuch is not a mainstream candidate, though MSNBC’s Maddow disagrees:
Given his record, I think that Senate Democrats are going to find Gorsuch eminently qualified to sit on the high court.