The Corner

Law & the Courts

Here We Go — Democrats Announce Intention to Filibuster Gorsuch

On Twitter, earlier today:

From the article:

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, faced a critical blow on Thursday as Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he would join with other Democrats in attempting to filibuster the nomination — a move that could complicate his confirmation and lead to a total revamp of how the U.S. Senate conducts its business.

Let’s put it this way. If the Democrats filibuster a man as qualified as Neil Gorsuch, then the Republicans would be foolish not to exercise the nuclear option — especially when you evaluate the Democrats specious reasons for taking this extraordinary step:

In a Senate floor speech, Schumer said that Gorsuch “was unable to sufficiently convince me that he’d be an independent check” on Trump. He said later that the judge is “not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology. He was groomed by the Federalist Society and has shown not one inch of difference between his views and theirs.”

Wait just a minute . . . didn’t the Democrats in the judiciary committee just spend the last two days hammering Judge Gorsuch in part for his skepticism of executive branch power and his resistance to executive branch authoritarianism? Senate Democrats had wrapped both arms around the so-called Chevron doctrine, which mandates that courts grant great discretion to agency legal determinations. News flash: These agencies are now part of the Trump administration. 

Moreover, if the Federalist Society is out of bounds for GOP nominees, I suppose affiliation with liberal academic or advocacy groups will doom future Democrats?

But no one should be fooled. This isn’t about principles; it’s about power. The Democrats are still seething at the GOP’s raw exercise of power in blocking Merrick Garland’s nomination, and now the Democrats are responding with their own power play. While Democrats claim that Gorsuch didn’t answer questions with “any substance,” they know good and well that Gorsuch’s hearing was informative enough. He didn’t get into specifics of individual cases or issues, but he outlined his judicial philosophy at great length. Democrats don’t like that philosophy, so they don’t like Gorsuch. It’s that simple.

It remains to be seen whether Schumer can keep enough of his caucus in line to make good on his threats. If he can, the ball moves to McConnell’s court. Will the majority leader allow the Democrats to block one of the most-qualified jurists in the United States? Don’t bet on it. 

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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