ECLECTIC RANT: Senate Should Confirm Gorsuch to Supreme Court

Ralph E. Stone
Friday February 03, 2017 - 10:01:00 AM

The Senate should confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court if he is found to be qualified. I understand the Republicans refused to even consider Merrick Garland, Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, even though Obama had ten months left on his term at the time. I also understand had Hillary Clinton become president, the Republicans indicated no nominee of hers would be confirmed either. 

However, I disagree with playing the same game with Trump’s nomination of Gorsuch. Once Gorsuch is fully vetted and found qualified, he should be confirmed without a filibuster and without resort to the “nuclear option.” His conservatism should not be a disqualifying factor. Consider that Gorsuch was unanimously confirmed to the court of appeals in 2006. 

The nuclear or constitutional option, by the way, is a parliamentary procedure that allows the U.S. Senate to override a rule or precedent by a simple majority of 51 votes, instead of by a supermajority of 60 votes. Either way, Gorsuch will very likely be confirmed. 

Trump was going to nominate a conservative and Gorsuch is a better choice than others he could have nominated. Gorsuch’s confirmation will bring the Supreme Court back to four conservatives, not a majority of five. 

More importantly, a less than full Supreme Court of nine justices impedes the smooth functioning of the court; the Supreme Court should not be a partisan institution. Perhaps, the Democrats should take the high road on this nomination; it will give them more credibility as they oppose clearly objectionable nominees like Betsy DeVos, Steve Bannon, and Jeff Sessions.