Yesterday Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated last year on the death of Antonin Scalia. McConnell and the Senate Republicans then disgracefully refused to consider President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, for more than 10 months. As much as the instinct for revenge to strike back seems appropriate the Democrats should resist. They should all symbolically refuse to vote for Gorsuch but they should not filibuster his nomination. My reasons are as follows:
- Gorsuch appears to be a reasonable choice for a Republican president. He is not, however, a thumb in the eye choice like Jeff Sessions, Betsy DeVos, Tom Price, and Andrew Puzder.
- Gorsuch’s selection does not represent an ideological shift for the court since he is replacing someone of his own ilk.
- Despite his dismal poll ratings, Trump is currently at the apex of his power, particularly with his Republican base. He continues to feed that base with his largely symbolic executive actions. As such, Republican senators still fear him. As time goes on and his base began to see his incompetence and feel the effects of his policies his popularity will certainly erode.
- Should another appointment opportunity occurs and Trump puts forward a truly disgusting candidate, Democrats would be in a better position politically to go all out to oppose such a nomination. Additionally, Republican senators, facing a weaker president, would be less inclined to change the rules on cloture for SCOTUS nominations.
There is no guarantee that such a strategy would work for the Republicans are in the majority and have demonstrated that they have no ethics. But if one is going to fight to the death let it be for a reason for which one is willing to die.