Democrats will filibuster the stolen seat on the U.S. Supreme Court

With all the craziness going on in Washington this week, one of the critical stories that got buried in the news was the confirmation hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This was partly due to the fact that Judge Gorsuch is a good actor and he stuck to the well-rehearsed script by being purposefully vague in his answers about his judicial philosophy.

A classic scripted moment was when he was asked the set-up question whether Donald Trump had asked him if he would overturn Roe v. Wade if appointed to the court. Gorsuch put on his most sincere morally righteous face and said “I would have walked out of the room.”

Maybe Judge Gorsuch will be nominated for an Emmy Award this year for best dramatic performance in a television series on C-Span.

The fact is that there are 52 Tea-Publican senators and not one of them is going to vote against Judge Gorsuch. Tea-Publicans purposefully engaged in an unprecedented and unconstitutional blockade of President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, even before they knew the nominee, in order to steal this seat on the Supreme Court. They fully intend to complete their crime against democracy.

A filibuster of Judge Gorsuch will not derail his nomination. the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the man who plotted the unconstitutional blockade of Judge Merrick Garland and the theft of this seat on the Supreme Court, has already said that he will exercise the “nuclear option,” i.e., hold a vote to do away with the Senate filibuster rules for this Supreme Court nominee, in order to complete his crime against democracy.

There are good reasons for Democrats to filibuster this tainted  nomination process anyway — this is not about Judge Gorsuch per se — and risk the “nuclear option” confrontation now, rather than in the future over another court vacancy. This is the seat that was stolen and there is a legal and moral obligation not to acquiesce in  this Tea-Publican crime against democracy. Democrats must resist in defense of the Constitution and democracy.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested earlier this week that the Senate should Delay Gorsuch vote because of Russia probe:

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is urging Republicans to delay a vote on Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, because of an ongoing investigation into potential ties between Trump officials and Russia.

“It is unseemly to be moving forward so fast on confirming a Supreme Court justice with a lifetime appointment while this big gray cloud of an FBI investigation hangs over the presidency,” the Senate’s top Democrat said, echoing language used the day before by Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (Calif.).

The New York Democrat argued that it was “the height of irony” that Republicans blocked then-President Obama from filling the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016 but are “now rushing” to confirm Gorsuch.

You can bet if the shoe were on the other foot and a Democratic president was under investigation by the FBI the Republicans would be howling at the moon about filling a Supreme Court seat in such circumstances,” he said.

As a matter of fact, Tea-Publicans openly proclaimed before the election that if Hillary Clinton won the election they would continue their unconstitutional judicial blockade indefinitely, or move to reduce the size of the Supreme Court. Sen. McCain Says Republicans Will Block All Court Nominations If Clinton Wins; If Clinton Wins, Republicans Suggest Shrinking Size of Supreme Court.

Sen. Schumer’s point is well taken, but falls on deaf ears. “Schumer’s request is unlikely to gain traction with Republicans . . . The committee is expected to vote on his nomination by April 3, with a full Senate vote following within days.”

Putin’s puppet Donald Trump will be allowed to select a judge to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court for perhaps the next 30 years or more, with the complicity of Tea-Publicans. Allow that to sink in.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has announced that Democrats will, in fact, filibuster the nomination of Judge Gorsuch and force the escalation of this constitutional crisis into the “nuclear option.” Schumer: Democrats will filibuster Gorsuch nomination:

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he will vote no on President Trump’s nominee and asked other Democrats to join him in blocking an up-or-down vote on Gorsuch.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Schumer said: “If this nominee cannot earn 60 votes — a bar met by each of President Obama’s nominees and George Bush’s last two nominees — the answer isn’t to change the rules. It’s to change the nominee.”

Sen. Schumer stopped short of saying that his entire Democratic caucus would join him in opposition to Gorsuch, leaving political space for some Democrats to find ways to work with Republicans.

Paul Waldman of the Washington Post has an excellent summary of the reasons supporting a filibuster. Democrats are going to filibuster Gorsuch. It’s the right thing to do.

After days spent in fruitless attempts to get concrete answers out of Neil Gorsuch on just about anything, some Democrats in the Senate have decided they’ve had enough.

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[T]his really isn’t about Gorsuch in particular, even though Democrats can make a strong case that he would be an extremist on the court (some analyses suggest he’d be even farther to the right than Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas). It’s not even about their sincere frustration with Gorsuch’s unwillingness to give satisfying answers to their questions during the hearings, because that’s exactly what they and everyone else expected.

But filibustering Gorsuch is still the right thing to do.

Now for some straight talk: Everyone knows who Neil Gorsuch is and what kind of justice he’ll be. Democrats have tried to get him to admit it, knowing that he never will, while he pretends to have an open mind on everything and a judicial philosophy unsullied by any particular normative beliefs about policy. It’s an act, and it’s one that Republican nominees in particular have honed over the years: Claim you can’t say anything about past cases or present cases or future cases, and even if you could, you really have no opinions about anything. Or maybe you have a stray opinion here or there, but those opinions lay upon your conscience with all the weight of a few downy feathers, easily brushed aside when it comes time to apply the law and the Constitution.

It’s utterly dishonest, and everyone knows it. Gorsuch was presented to Trump as a possible nominee by the Heritage Foundation; he was on its list not because he’s keen of mind and pure of heart, but because he’s a staunch conservative who, above all, could be counted on to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. The lie that he and all his supporters tell is that every case has one true and objective outcome that you can reach if only you put aside crass ideology and allow yourself to be guided by the light of the Constitution’s wisdom. No one who knows anything about the law could believe that, no matter how often it gets repeated.

So what should Democrats do in the face of that reality? One approach they could take is to say that as objectionable as they find Gorsuch’s beliefs, he’s qualified for the position and absent some truly insane views or criminality, the president should get his nominees confirmed. That was the approach most senators used to take, which is why nominees as different as Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were confirmed unanimously or nearly so. There are still a few senators on both sides who take that approach, but not many.

Another thing Democrats could do is vote against Gorsuch but not filibuster him, even if they have the votes to sustain a filibuster. There’s precedent for that: In 1991, Democrats had the votes to filibuster Clarence Thomas but didn’t, and he was confirmed by a vote of only 52-48, which just happens to be the split between Republicans and Democrats in the current Senate. Voting against Gorsuch but not filibustering him would make their objection clear but also allow him to be confirmed.

A filibuster, on the other hand, is a way of raising the stakes of the nomination. If Democrats filibuster, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will hold a vote to change Senate rules to disallow filibusters on Supreme Court nominations, and Gorsuch will get confirmed — but not until after the controversy has been elevated into a more dramatic confrontation. (This would be even more dramatic if the Democrats mount an old-fashioned “talking filibuster” where they stop all other Senate business to make an extended case against Gorsuch.)

So why filibuster if the end result will be the same? The reason is that these are truly extraordinary circumstances. The Republicans’ refusal to allow Merrick Garland to get even a hearing to fill this seat was nothing short of a crime against democracy, a twisting of democratic norms beyond all recognition. Garland should be in this seat, and Democrats should go as far as they possibly can to avoid giving even a shred of validation to the way Republicans stole it.

There’s also an important political goal that can be served by elevating this controversy, even if Gorsuch can’t be stopped. Democrats in Congress have almost no institutional power at the moment, and the only way they’re going to get some of that power is if 2018 is a wave election. A wave election happens when one side’s voters are angry and motivated. Right now, Democratic voters are definitely angry and motivated, and it’s the job of Democrats in Congress to keep showing those voters what they ought to be angry about — and that their representatives are fighting as hard as they possibly can.

So yes, filibustering Gorsuch is the right thing to do, even if it won’t accomplish the short-term goal of stopping his nomination. There’s a lot more at stake.

I would tell you to contact your Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, but they are aiding and abetting this Tea-Publican crime against democracy. Removing them from office in the future after this crime against democracy has been completed is your only recourse.

4 responses to “Democrats will filibuster the stolen seat on the U.S. Supreme Court

  1. Senator John Kavanagh

    Sttop dreaming. Gorsuch will be confirmed without the nuclear option.

  2. “Democrats will filibuster the stolen seat on the U.S. Supreme Court”

    I am not certain why this required an announcement. I have always assumed the domcrats would try to filibuster the nomination. Rightly or wrongly, they feel the nomination was stolen from them, so they feel they have a “moral” obligation to oppose Gorsuch. Of course, it is always humorous when a politician stakes a claim to the moral high ground on anything, but they are good at self delusion, so they do it on occasion.

    “…Donald Trump will be allowed to select a judge to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court for perhaps the next 30 years or more, with the complicity of Tea-Publicans. Allow that to sink in.”

    I have, many times, and it sounds GREAT!!

    “In a speech on the Senate floor, Schumer said: “If this nominee cannot earn 60 votes — a bar met by each of President Obama’s nominees and George Bush’s last two nominees — the answer isn’t to change the rules. It’s to change the nominee.”

    Why? Given that the democrats feel a moral obligation to oppose any Trump nominees, why bother? Unless Trump nominated someone acceptable, like Obama’s Merrick Garland, which is unthinkable. What is the point of having the power if you can’t use it?

    “This would be even more dramatic if the Democrats mount an old-fashioned “talking filibuster” where they stop all other Senate business to make an extended case against Gorsuch.”

    Not likely to happen because it takes time and energy. Todays politicians just don’t have the stamina that politicians had in the past. They could only go for a limited, and few, number of hours before they would peter out.

  3. When the time comes to vote on the Gorsuch nomination the Senators who are Democrats should move to the microphone and cast their vote for Merrick Garland! They also should be sure their act is widely broadcast.

  4. When the time comes to vote on the Gorsuch nomination the Senators who are Democrats should move to the microphone and cast their vote for Merrick Garland! They also should be sure their act is widely broadcast.