On Tuesday, President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
As may be expected in these polarized times, reactions to Gorsuch largely fell along partisan lines. Republicans and conservatives praised him, while Democrats and liberals attacked him.
Senator Mike Lee of Utah said that Gorsuch is “a prepared, thoughtful, and careful jurist, who has demonstrated a strong commitment to textualism and originalism.” Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said, “Judge Gorsuch is a worthy successor to Justice Scalia, a committed originalist and a strong defender of religious liberty and states’ rights.” According to Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, “Gorsuch is a highly-regarded jurist with a record of distinguished service, rooted in respect for the law.”
Mark Joseph Stern at Slate wrote, “Gorsuch’s credentials are impeccable. His writing is superb, incisive, witty, and accessible in the style of Scalia and Justice Elena Kagan. In speeches and oral arguments, he comes across as thoughtful and fair-minded.”
Others hold a different view of Gorsuch. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi accused Gorsuch of being “hostile to women’s rights,” and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said that Gorsuch favored “corporations over workers.”
Senate Democrats expressed a varying range of opinions on Gorsuch, and on what should happen to his nomination. Some, like Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Ron Wyden of Oregon, said outright that they would not support him.
Others expressed dismay at the process, contending that this nomination is flawed because last year Senate Republican’s refused to consider former President Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland. “This is a stolen seat being filled by an illegitimate and extreme nominee, and I will do everything in my power to stand up against this assault on the Court,” said Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon
Taken together, it seems Senate Democrats may be poised to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination, which, if successful, would require a supermajority to overcome en route to Gorsuch’s confirmation. Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island contends that this is reasonable because “all of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees cleared a sixty vote threshold and President Trump’s nominee should adhere to the same standard.”
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may also engineer a rule change eliminating the ability to filibuster Supreme Court nominations, thereby lowering the votes required for confirmation to a simple majority. (This would be similar to the rule change then-Majority Leader Harry Reid engineered in 2013 for lower court nominations).
The next few weeks should give us a better idea about how the Senate will proceed on the Gorsuch nomination.
Do you think Gorsuch is qualified to fill the empty seat on the Supreme Court?