In about four hours, Trump is set to announce his choice to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. This writer along with many others as well as lamestream media pundits and those of other outlets will delve into the career and past decisions of the nominee whoever it is.
Trump has promised to nominate someone from his vaunted list of 20 or so names he announced during his presidential run. Given the fact he is largely keeping to his promises in a hectic and controversial week, there is no reason to suspect he will deviate this time.
Instead, this article is dedicated to Democratic strategy regarding the nomination. Some Senators, most vocally Jeff Merkley of Oregon, have announced that they will filibuster the nominee whoever they are and whatever their credentials to serve on the highest court in the land. This is ostensibly because they hold a grudge against the GOP leadership in the Senate over their “failure” to act on Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland.
We will most likely hear grandstanding speeches from the likes of Merkley about how the Republican Party failed to perform their Constitutional duty and act on the Garland nomination and how they ground justice to a halt. Both claims are patently false. As one can tell, the Supreme Court finished the previous term without missing a beat and they started the new term without missing a beat. Both instances were with eight Justices. They are still entertaining petitions, holding conferences, hearing oral arguments and handing down decisions.
What the Democratic Party needs to understand is that whoever the Trump pick is, they will be replacing the bane of the Left- Scalia. In other words, assuming Trump keeps his word, a conservative member of the Court will be replaced by a conservative. The balance of power on the Supreme Court will not change over this nominee.
This then leads to the fact that this Supreme Court nomination is not the one battle over for the Democratic Party. Should Breyer, Kennedy or Ginsburg retire during Trump’s term, that next choice would their real battle. At that point, one could say that the next nominee would have the potential to alter the balance in the Court.
But, you have people like Merkley who will attempt to make political points and build up their credibility with the Left…just because. DailyKos and Slate will lionize them and call them heroes. And they will recess to their little Leftist oases in Seattle, Portland and elsewhere, pat themselves on the back and bask in their 15 minutes of fame. Corey Booker will likely make some grand speech and a fool of himself, but that is expending political capital to, in essence, maintain the status quo on the Court.
Thus, the next time around it will be even more difficult to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee. McConnell may, should the Democrats go after tonight’s nominee as some suggest, just grow a set and invoke the nuclear option. That may come back to bite the GOP in the proverbial butt sometime down the line, but as long as that threat hangs out there, Democrats should tread lightly this time around.
Additionally, it will take 8 or nine Democrats to cross over and invoke cloture on the nominee. There at least seven Democratic Senators up for reelection in 2018 who are vulnerable to defeat- 10 total Democratic Senators who hail from states Trump won in 2016.
So tread lightly, Democrats. There may be another SCOTUS nomination coming soon.