What’s Left: Dems Must Reject Gorsuch

Eli Cousin

This past week, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer turned up the heat on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, announcing that he would not vote for the judge and would lead the Democratic filibuster against him. It will take 60 votes, or the supermajority, for Gorsuch to be confirmed by the Senate. Gorsuch is not like other Supreme Court nominees, and anyone who insists otherwise is ignoring the facts surrounding his nomination. There are three main reasons why every single Democratic senator must join Senator Schumer in his opposition to Judge Gorsuch.

1. This was the Democrats’ seat to fill. Americans across the country tuned in to watch and listen to Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination hearing. However, the man fielding questions should have been Judge Merrick Garland, not Gorsuch. How soon do Republicans forget that their party, in what was both an unprecedented move and a despicable display of class, refused to even give President Obama’s nominee a simple hearing? In fact, the vast majority of Republicans refused to even meet with Garland. The argument that Obama was a lame-duck president, and therefore unable to nominate a justice, is one based on pure absurdity, as Justice Anthony Kennedy was confirmed to the Supreme Court during President Reagan’s last year in office. It is clear that this nomination was stolen. Time after time, the Democratic Party has elected to take the high road in the battle over the Supreme Court. Now, Trump has nominated a man who is known as a staunch conservative, completely ignoring the Democrats’ prior efforts to compromise and put forward a fair and non-partisan justice. It is time for Democrats to stand up to the Republican Party’s childish and shameful behavior. Confirming Gorsuch would validate the GOP’s outrageous plot to refuse to give Garland a hearing, and that simply cannot happen.

2. Donald Trump is under FBI investigation. It’s official: James Comey and the FBI are investigating Donald Trump and his presidential campaign (and have been for months) to determine if they colluded with Russia. Following last week’s announcement, several Republicans joined Democrats in calling for an independent investigation of the president. It is not hyperbole to say that, if this investigation yields results that confirm collusion, President Trump would almost certainly face impeachment hearings. The irony of this scenario when considering the Republicans’ complete infatuation with Hillary Clinton’s FBI investigation is truly remarkable. Republicans were considering rejecting any and all Clinton nominees, regardless of the situation. During the campaigns, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said, “I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up.” How is it, then, that Republicans expect Democrats to confirm a Supreme Court nominee from a president who is surrounded by a cloud of corruption and collusion? A justice should not serve on the bench of the nation’s highest court for upwards of 40 years if the man who is nominating him may struggle to make it through even one.

3.  Gorsuch’s prior rulings and extreme judicial philosophy show he is not an appropriate selection. If you put politics aside and simply consider whether Neil Gorsuch belongs on the bench of the Supreme Court, I believe you will still conclude that the answer to this question is no. This week, two particularly troubling prior Gorsuch rulings were heavily discussed during his confirmation hearing. In 2008, Gorsuch ruled against the family of a child with autism in their effort to ensure that public schools provide an education that fosters progress for all students. The Supreme Court rejected Gorsuch’s ruling, and Senators heavily criticized him for his original verdict. In another prior ruling, Gorsuch ruled against a truck driver who was fired for leaving his vehicle. After his truck broke down, the driver sat for three hours in sub-zero temperatures, waiting for someone to come and repair it. The driver reportedly could not feel his legs and exhibited symptoms of hypothermia. However, Gorsuch ruled that his firing was justified because he violated company policy by ultimately abandoning his trailer.

While it may not be fair to simply look at two rulings, it cannot be denied that both verdicts demonstrate a sheer lack of empathy and compassion. How did Gorsuch reach these rulings? By adhering to his strict conservative principles and refusing to reach a verdict that might exhibit any leeway or flexibility within the law. In this way, these verdicts show the dangerous nature of Gorsuch’s strict judicial philosophy. As America continues to become a more socially progressive nation, we cannot afford to have a justice who is unsympathetic to modern social issues and basic human rights. There is nothing normal about this nomination. Donald Trump is not a normal president, and I believe that Judge Gorsuch is not a normal nominee. Democrats have suffered a great deal of defeat over the last few months. To lose this battle, however, would be catastrophic, with Gorsuch potentially dictating judicial policy for decades. Democrats and Americans alike cannot afford to allow the GOP to complete their heist of the Court.