Judge Neil Gorsuch is on the threshold of being the first Supreme Court nominee in history to become the victim of a partisan filibuster in the Senate. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is chastising Republicans, telling them “don’t change the rules, change the nominee.” That is pretty rich coming from the leader of the caucus of Harry Reid in the Senate. Reid is the man who first used the “nuclear option” to amend Senate rules to end the filibuster on judicial nominations. Now, when it is politically convenient, Senate Democrats are waxing eloquent about the vaunted rules of the Senate that they trampled while they held the majority.
Schumer and company continue to use Merrick Garland’s scuttled nomination last year as justification for their obstruction now of Neil Gorsuch. The key difference is that Garland never had a judiciary committee hearing, much less a recommendation by the committee to the Senate floor. Judge Gorsuch has been throughly vetted by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and will receive the committee’s approval for service on the Supreme Court. Trying to filibuster Gorsuch now would be an unprecedented act of obstruction during a Supreme Court fight.
Democrats are crying crocodile tears over Merrick Garland; he was always a sacrificial lamb for the left. President Obama and Senate Democrats were aware that the Republican Senate was not going to take-up the nomination of Garland during an election year. This was not a new procedure put in-place by Republicans; it is rightly known as the “Biden Rule” for a reason. In 1992, then-Senator Joe Biden said on the Senate floor that “It would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is underway, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over.” He then led the charge against President George H.W. Bush’s nominees that year, which paved the way for President Bill Clinton to nominate Uber-liberal Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 1993.
History is now repeating itself and the Democrats are trying to rewrite the record. They set the precedent for not considering Supreme Court nominees in an election year, and then rapidly confirmed Ginsberg to the Court in 1993. Now, they are getting a taste on their own medicine as Republicans are going to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch.
Senate Republicans must stay strong and ensure that Democratic obstruction is overcome. They must fight the liberals with the same tactics the liberals have used in Supreme Court nominations in the past. They must also be willing to use the “nuclear option” invoked by former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to confirm Gorsuch if necessary. Supreme Court nominations have become partisan affairs to the point that they have injured the independent nature of the judiciary, and the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves.