You’ll Get Nothing and Like It: The Case Against Gorsuch

There is simply no rational basis for any Democratic Senator to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court–and every reason in the world for Democrats to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination.

Is Judge Gorsuch technically qualified to do the job? Sure. So was Merrick Garland, and we all saw what happened there.

Is Judge Gorsuch technically competent to do the job? Sure. So was Sonia Sotomayor, and that didn’t stop the right wing from smearing her as an token Latina hack.

Is Judge Gorsuch intelligent enough to do the job? Sure. So was Elana Kagan, and that didn’t stop all but five Republicans from voting against her in 2010.

Ideology alone is more than enough reason for Democrats to tell Gorsuch to get lost. The controversy over Democratic Senators voting to confirm Trump’s nominees stems from the perception that these Senators are, in essence, voting to ratify Trump’s radicalism, and validating those who share most of the bigoted billionaire’s irrational views. If any Democrat votes to confirm Gorsuch, they will, in effect, stick a serrated knife into the backs of the Democratic base, as well as Barack Obama’s back.

When Republicans refused to even hold hearings on Garland’s nomination, they committed an act of unarmed robbery; now, they want to give Gorsuch stolen property. Democrats have a moral obligation not to aid and abet this crime.

To vote to confirm Gorsuch is to effectively declare that women’s reproductive rights do not matter; that climate protection doesn’t matter; that the separation of billionaire and state doesn’t matter; and that the lives ended prematurely by police brutality don’t matter. Does any Democratic Senator want that on their conscience?

Ideology drove the rejection of Robert Bork 30 years ago. That was more than appropriate. Ideology drove the near-rejection of Clarence Thomas just over 25 years ago. That was more than appropriate. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and just as the Republican Senators who voted against Kagan and Sotomayor on ideological grounds were well within their rights to do so, so too are Democratic Senators more than justified in giving Gorsuch the Della Reese treatment.

Gorsuch is, of course, the offspring of the late Anne Gorsuch Burford, the Scott Pruitt of the 1980s. Guilt by association is not inappropriate under these circumstances. Neil Gorsuch’s mother was a radical. The man who nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a radical. How do you think Neil Gorsuch would behave on the Supreme Court?

In her 2009 book American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Joan Biskupic observed:

Some [Senate] Democrats [who voted to confirm Scalia in 1986], including [then-Delaware Senator Joe] Biden, would [later] say they wished they could have their votes back, and not in small measure because of the conservative force Scalia would become. In 1993, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first Democratic nominee in a quarter century, Biden said, “The vote I most regret casting out of all the ones I ever cast was voting for [Scalia]–because he was so effective.”

It’s profoundly unlikely that Biden’s regret over his vote for Scalia has ever gone away. Fourteen years after he voted to confirm Scalia, the right-wing jurist played a key role in screwing Biden’s former Senate colleague, Al Gore, out of the presidency. Before Democrats decide whether to support or oppose Gorsuch, they should think long and hard about the sort of mischief this man could engineer on the High Court. They should not be afraid of being accused of partisanship if they oppose Gorsuch. Partisanship is not, and has never been, a dirty word. Declaring Gorsuch ideologically unfit for the Supreme Court is wholly rational and wholly reasonable. If Republicans don’t like that, too damn bad.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.