With the confirmation hearings of Judge Neil Gorsuch coming to a close, Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced that he will oppose the confirmation and will encourage his fellow Democrats to filibuster the vote.
In announcing his confrontational approach, Schumer said that Gorsuch “was unable to sufficiently convince me that he’d be an independent check” on Trump. Schumer said later that the judge is “not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology,” hand-picked for Trump by conservative legal groups.
Thomas C. Goldstein, a Supreme Court practitioner and co-founder of SCOTUSblog, said that Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee did not present a compelling case that Gorsuch was either an illegitimate nominee or that he was outside the conservative mainstream.
“None of the Democrats set the table” for a filibuster, Goldstein said. He speculated that one option for some Democrats would be to allow an up-or-down vote, and then to vote against confirmation.
In addition to Schumer, Sens. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced Thursday that they would filibuster Gorsuch. Casey is one of 10 Democratic senators running next year in a state that Trump won.
While I have serious doubts about the spine of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), I think his only proper response to Schumer’s threat to filibuster the nomination of a supremely qualified candidate like Judge Gorsuch is this.
“Nuke’em back to the Stone Age!” or at least back to 1917 when cloture of filibusters was first introduced.
While it is a misquotation of Gen. Curtis LeMay, it still has a resonance to it. Those ten Democrats who represent states carried by President Trump may want to heed the warning implied by that threat.
Another threat those Democrats may want to pay attention to came from Chris Cox of the NRA-ILA. Cox sent a letter to McConnell and Schumer on March 17th saying that Judge Gorsuch has the full backing of the NRA and that they will be scoring the vote on his confirmation. If senators such as Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) or Joe Donnelly (D-IN) don’t think the NRA won’t go full scorched earth on them if they vote against Judge Gorsuch, then they are living in a Beltway induced dreamworld.