Opinion: GOP has given Democrats no option but to fight Gorsuch nomination

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(AP)

These Republicans already citing “fairness” and “constitutional duty” in demanding quick action on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court are enough to make a person sick. The utter shamelessness with which they mouth such high-sounding words is amazing.

The seat that Gorsuch will likely fill in the end has been open almost a year now, since the death of Antonin Scalia last February. President Obama acted quickly, naming Merrick Garland, an extremely mainstream jurist whom top Republicans had praised openly and often, to fill the vacancy. The choice of Garland was an act of compromise, but yet again it went unrewarded. Instead of acting on the nomination, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invented the three-year presidential term, claiming with no basis in fact or historic precedence that presidents in the last year of their term cannot fill Supreme Court vacancies.

As a result, Garland never got so much as a confirmation hearing, let alone a vote.

(And don’t get me started on the reality-show staging of the final selection, a degrading spectacle in its own right.)

It’s also important to remember that Senate Republicans were already building up a head of steam to do even worse. At a point in the 2016 campaign when it appeared that Hillary Clinton would be our next president, GOP senators such as Ted Cruz, Richard Burr and John McCain were already hinting that if Clinton became president, they would refuse to confirm any nomination she made to the court during her entire four-year term. Conservative legal theorists were seeding the argument in right-wing media, arguing that the Supreme Court could operate just fine with just eight justices or even six or seven.

“If Hillary Clinton becomes president, I am going to do everything I can do to make sure four years from now, we’ve still got an opening on the Supreme Court,” as Burr put it.

Now, with a Republican in the White House, we’re supposed to forget that ever happened.  We’re supposed to treat this like any other vacancy, and Gorsuch like any other nominee, and go back to traditional understandings for handling Supreme Court vacancies.

Well, forget that.

For a long, long time, I would have been open to that kind of argument, because it is absolutely true that this all-out, no-holds-barred partisanship poses great danger to our country. But as the Garland blockade demonstrates, the Republicans have no interest whatsoever in changing their ways. They have made compromise an unutterable word within their caucus;  they treat every gesture of good faith from their opponents as confirmation of weakness. They not only refuse to abide by the rules and conventions that had long guided congressional behavior, they have invented new rules out of thin air to justify the unjustifiable.

The Gorsuch nomination is more evidence of that attitude. Yes, he is a well-trained jurist, with all the hallmarks of a potential Supreme Court candidate, but in ideological terms most observers would place him well to the right of Scalia, the man he would replace.  His nomination was intended to pick a fight, not inspire a compromise.  And if in normal times he would probably be confirmed, the same was even more true of Garland. And we all know how that ended.

So Democrats ought to fight the Gorsuch nomination with every tool at their disposal, including the filibuster, refusing to give the Republicans the 60 votes they need to move the nomination to the floor. Retaliation is the only weapon that Democrats have left. And if Republicans then vote to void the filibuster in Supreme Court nomination fights and thus ensure Gorsuch’s confirmation with a mere 51 votes, great.

Destroy the damn filibuster. Kill it dead, not just in confirmations but in legislative matters as well. It is a relic of a time long past, when senatorial courtesies limited its use to matters of great importance and controversy.  That hasn’t been the case for a long time now.  Rather than serve to calm partisan differences, it has become a tool to exacerbate them. Ending its use in future Supreme Court fights would be a minor victory in its own right.

 

Reader Comments 0

1974 comments
gotalife
gotalife

The botched Yeman attack was his Benghazi.


Not a peep from the russian party.


Not one hearing.

gotalife
gotalife

I doubt the gop will ever listen to their ignorant voters after trump.

Paul42
Paul42

Declare all the refugees Cuban.

Problem solved.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

White House describes threats to send troops into Mexico as a light hearted comment.  Since when is threatening another country a loving comment?  Does Trump even know that Mexico is another country?  

rimsky
rimsky

@StraightNoChaser I watching Bordains segment on Mexican cuisine.  He touched in length on narco violence.  Trump will be in for a big surprise if he sends troops there.

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

@StraightNoChaser


What I love is how easy it is for the dear leader to put the military in harms way. Every President in my lifetime has loathed to enter into military action unless they felt they had no other choice. Yes, mistakes have been made but none of them were caviler about doing so. With the dear leader he thinks military action is a video game with a reset button. 

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

nam51 brought up the fact that voters went with Trump in key Midwestern states in 2016, implying apparently that they were rejecting Obama policy as being too far to the left.

But what if the truth were the exact OPPOSITE and his policy was rejected for NOT GOING FAR ENOUGH to the left?

Is that why nam51 refuses to answer my question about the exact REASONS for the former Obama voters in states like Ohio and Michigan either going for Trump or staying home in '16?

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Donnie_Pinko Nah.  The reason was that that's not in his talking points from Drudge.

nam51
nam51

@Donnie_Pinko Please enlighten my Donnie. So, Trump won because HRC wasn't enough of a communist? 


They didn't like HRC, plain and simple; they didn't trust her. They didn't like her politics, or that she was going to be a continuation of a failed Obama administration. 


I have absolute confidence that it wasn't because HRC didn't go far enough to the left.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@nam51 @Donnie_Pinko 

...HRC wasn't enough of a communist? 

-

Hillary Clinton, of the speeches to Goldman Sachs to the tune of 6 figures a pop, a communist? 

It should be pretty obvious to anyone with any basic political literacy that she is the diametrical opposite of a communist, should it not?

nam51
nam51

@Donnie_Pinko @nam51 Admittedly poor reference on my part. 


She did try to move to the left of Bernie Sanders in the campaign, when it served her. 


She's a big money capitalist, when it serves her.


She IS anything you want her to be, for a price.


She was against gay marriage, then she wasn't. She was for the war, then she wasn't.


She IS an unprincipled, ineffective politician who was clearly rejected by the American people.


rimsky
rimsky

How did the prayer breakfast go today morning for the thrice married p u s s y graber?

No report yet.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@rimsky Lots of fun tweets from it.  use google, I posted a bunch of them earlier.  Just remarkable.  I'm sure the priests in the crowd left to use the restroom before they soiled themselves.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@rimsky He mentioned The Apprentice.


And asked the nation to pray for its ratings and Arnold too.

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

Over the last several weeks I've noticed that in the cons eyes the people who didn't vote for the dear leader or didn't vote period (for whatever reason) don't exist. 

ByteMe
ByteMe

@OldJacketFan The sky is green because Trump said so and he won the EC.  Just accept that's how they view it.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@OldJacketFan sure they do. They exist, and they are called "losers" by the "winners". 


Sure doesn't help their cause of unifying the country, though, does it? 

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

WaPo on Australia immigration policy:

"Asylum seekers who reach the country by boat are never settled in Australia proper. Instead, they´re sent to Nauru or Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island for "offshore processing." Right now, there are about 2,000 people between the two islands, including many children. The vast majority come from Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq."

So Obama agreed to make Australia's problem our problem. Bad deal indeed.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Seeing how immigrants make us stronger.


It was probably a good deal.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Hedley_Lammar the demographics of the situation mean right now we need an influx of younger workers to help support all the old people who are retiring.  Same way Germany does.  And Japan... but Japan is too nationalistic and look at the mess that made of their economy over the past 20 years as they've aged...

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

@Hedley_Lammar


Of course that would be philo's take on it. Hardly surprising. If the agreement had been reached by the dear leader he would be turning cartwheels over it. 

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Nothing I've seen thus far would suggest Trump would ever agree to such a thing.

Fake premise.

Paul42
Paul42

@Philo_Farnsworth

Dang, that's a simpleton, inaccurate reading of the situation.

You've no idea how vetting works, do you?

As far as 'seekers who reach the country by boat are never settled'

Don't you remember what you and other cons, on this very blog, screamed about just a few weeks ago when Pres Obama said Cubans who boat here and walk ashore would no longer be automatically settled?

You guys don't remember from one moment to the next.

Paul42
Paul42

@Philo_Farnsworth

State one now.

Should Cubans be allowed to come here under the policy that existed before Pres Obama rescinded it?

ByteMe
ByteMe

@FIGMO2 You were the one who asked for it... why are you calling us lazy??

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Generally speaking, felicia will jump on any opportunity to deposit her schnirt on the blog.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@ByteMe @FIGMO2

Because your side kept insisting it was the same without providing evidence.

No problem. I did the work you were too lazy to do.

Why?

Because I was truly interested in what Hillary had to say.

gotalife
gotalife

Lost the military, lost allies, lost country.


Impeach the punk.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@gotalife We're all replaceable in his world.  And when he gets news ones, they'll all be coated in gold paint.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@gotalife If you read the article... it wasn't a "town hall", but a meeting that was scheduled with 8 constituents... and then they showed up with 16 constituents and a reporter and the Rep bailed out.


Still not good, but not what the headline says.

Kamchak
Kamchak

"Still shots, no transcript."

(shrug)

I can imagine its the same speech given in public or private service.

A greeting, followed by an introduction and then a generalized outline of goals ending with a call to rally the employees.

Its not complicated.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@TBS 

I would dare say that anyone who had the dubious pleasure of sitting through even one of these trite meet and greets could give this speech verbatim.

TBS
TBS

But it was different this time

ByteMe
ByteMe

@USMC2841 And yet that pick got a vote.  Go figure.  Or ignore it.  Whichever, doesn't matter, it's a tribal thing.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@USMC2841 Difference being Bork got a vote up or down


Garland did not.


Funny how that always gets left out.