Yes that is hyperbole…and then again it isn’t.

I don’t know much about President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, so I don’t know what kind of jurist he’ll be. But from the headlines in my inbox, he is the harbinger of doom. But I don’t intend to go into his fitness for office until I have had time to read through a number of articles from a number of sources.

But what I do know is that he shouldn’t even be the nominee, because there shouldn’t be an open seat on the Supreme Court. There should be Justice Merrick Garland sitting on that bench. Judge Garland is certainly qualified and President Obama showed a lot of restraint in nominating a jurist who was as close to the middle as he could find. He could just as easily have picked someone farther to the left knowing full well no matter who he picked, the Republicans in the Senate were going to give him or her hell.

So now that Judge Gorsuch has been nominated, what do the Democrats do? They are in a rather awkward damned if you do, damned if you don’t position. Obviously the Republicans are saying that the president’s nominee has the right to a full hearing and a right to a confirmation vote…well yes he does…but this is exactly opposite their position a year ago when they refused to even interview Judge Garland.

So yes, the civil thing to do would be to participate in hearings and vote your conscience when Judge Gorsuch comes up for a vote. And I wish that was a position that could be taken. But it isn’t.

The Republicans obstructed the appointment and confirmation of Judge Garland for 10 months? A total disrespect for President Obama, Judge Garland and the American people. For 10 months the Supreme Court was one short and four to four ties allowed lower court rulings stand when maybe they shouldn’t have. Did Americans get the short end of the stick on cases that reached the Supreme Court? That’s a good possibility. For that the Republicans owe all of us an apology.

So the Democrats will have to ask rather pointed questions and very possibly hostile questions of Judge Gorsuch. Not because they want to but because they have to. They will probably have to filibuster the vote as well. Again because they have to. Their base won’t allow them to take the slight of the past 10 months lightly and allow them appear to cooperate with the president and the GOP Senate.

Now the president has suggested that the Republicans go nuclear and remove Supreme Court approvals from the filibuster (60 votes required) rule and make approval rest on a simple majority. I wouldn’t oppose that…partly because the Democrats won’t be able to stymie a President Trump appointment forever…but the pendulum swings and eventually there will be a Democratic majority that may be similarly slim in the future.

And then there’s the history of the last two of President Obama’s appointments. The approval of both Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan both required the 60 vote threshold I believe. So pushing the filibuster for Judge Gorsuch wouldn’t be an extreme or unusual action at this point.

And again the Republicans wouldn’t find themselves in these straits of they had treated Judge Garland’s nomination appropriately nearly a year ago…and they could bide their time until the next opening occurred.

It will be interesting to see how this story plays out and which Democrats end up supporting Judge Gorsuch and how much of a wringer they put him through…and what kind of a bind that puts said Democrats in.

Some additional reading if you are so inclined:

Trump Nominates Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

…an Echo of Scalia in Philosophy and Style

When the GOP stole Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court seat

Why Democrats Should Oppose Neil Gorsuchst

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