Donald Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch for the United States Supreme Court. This position must be approved by the United States Senate with a majority of those present and voting.
The Senate has a rule that says if any Senator chooses to object to any legislation, or any matter before it, including the Supreme Court Justices, then a vote of 60 or more is needed to move that legislation forward. With the Republicans holding well short of the 60 votes needed to move the legislation forward, the Democrats can continue to block a formal and final vote on the Gorsuch matter. This action is called a filibuster.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Senate Minority Leader, has pledged to filibuster the nomination of Gorsuch. Schumer has let it be known that he will oppose ALL of Trump’s nominations. Donald Trump could nominate Jesus Christ and Schumer will oppose. Schumer has stated he does not recognize Trump’s election victory, so he will not support anything the new Administration does or tries to do.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has stated he is against the filibuster the Democrats plan to use. Graham said he voted for Obama’s nominees because they were qualified to do the job. Graham said he opposed some of Obama’s nominations but he voted for them because elections have consequences and the candidates were qualified. Graham said he opposes filibusters because if the number required for approval drops from 60 to 51, the Court will become polarized. Now, because bipartisanship is required to reach the threshold of 60, the Court nominees will stay in the middle politically. Neither party will have the strength to move the Court to the political fringes, because votes from the opposite party will be needed to sit any judge. Removing the 60 vote threshold from the equation means the party in power has the ability to move the Court to one extreme fringe.
This movement can cause the Court to flip-flop back and forth on any issue. No decisions will be final. After one party gains control of the Senate after spending years in exile, the balance of the power can swing the Court to reverse their previous rulings. Reducing the votes needed for conformation to 51 from 60 is called the “nuclear option.” This was first done by Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) When his party controlled the Senate and Barak Obama was President. Reid removed the 60 vote requirement when he was the Democrat Majority Leader for all Federal Judges except the Supreme Court. This allowed Obama to stack the Federal Court system with liberals who were way outside of the middle. The Republicans did not have the numbers or strength to stop the liberal nominations. Now the Republicans are threatening to do the same with the Supreme Court. Once these judges take their place, they are there for life.
Judge Neil Gorsuch has a policy that the Democrats can’t stand. Gorsuch believes the Constitution wording says what it means. Of the 2,800 plus rulings he has issued, only 1 has been overturned by the Supreme Court. Gorsuch has stated he does not personally support all of his rulings. He said a judge must rule on the wording of the law, not personal belief or conviction.
When he was first nominated to become a Federal Judge he received full support from the Democrats in the Senate. They should do the same this time. Gorsuch is much less the ideologue then he has been portrayed. Once the nuclear option has been changed, the Republicans can nominate and seat anyone they want without any Democrat votes.
I personally do not support using the nuclear option, however I do not believe the Democrats should vote to block the nomination just because he was nominated by Donald Trump. The man should be accepted or rejected based on his record and what he says or does, not based on who nominated him. If the Democrats demand a filibuster to block the Gorsuch vote, they deserve to have the rules changed so the Government can continue to function.