President Donald Trump scored a big win Friday when Republicans in the Senate, despite the desperate wailings and push-back of Democrats, confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
This is Trump’s biggest victory to date — one that sends Democrats, tails tucked, back to their base for, no doubt, some panic-fueled fundraising.
The vote, 54-45, included three “yay”-saying Democrats who are facing re-election runs in heavy pro-Trump areas — Sens. Joe Manchin, in West Virginia; Heidi Heitkamp, in North Dakota; and Joe Donnelly, Indiana. What’ll be interesting is how Sens. Claire McCaskill, from Missouri, and Jon Tester, from Montana, fare in 2018 in their own races, with their own heavily pro-Trump constituents. In both those states, Trump won by large margins.
But on to other matters now — right?
Not so fast, said Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of the loudest Gorsuch critics in political office.
“It will make this body a more partisan place,” he said, of the Republicans’ employ of the Democratic tried-and-tested nuclear option, during the final hours of the leftists’ fight over Gorsuch, the Hill reported. “It will make the cooling saucer of the Senate considerably hotter and I believe it will make the Supreme Court more of a partisan place.”
Well, right on one count — albeit a bit skewed — and completely wrong on the other.
The Senate certainly will become a more partisan place because of the rules’ change the Republican majority put in place to overcome the Democratic filibuster. But that’s not really the Republicans’ fault. Democrats, for those who follow news, were the ones who cast the first nuclear option shot, back in 2013 when then-Majority Leader Harry Reid did some rules’ finagling of his own. Then, the media loved the nuclear option. Now? Not so much.
Either way, blaming Republicans for this current Senate animosity is disingenuous.
And on Schumer’s other point — that of the Supreme Court’s supposed looming partisanship?
That’s just an outright falsehood. Gorsuch’s seat was previously held by Antonin Scalia, one of the conservative world’s most revered justices. So Gorsuch, however right-leaning in ideology and constitutional interpretation he might prove, is still not changing the make-up of the court.
He’s filling a seat that was previously held by a justice who saw the conservative side of legal things more often than not.
It’s the next time around that Schumer’s warning could come into play — when the next justice retires, whom most legal analysts believe will be a liberal-learner. That’s when the real fight for the partisan make-up of the court will be.
Too bad Democrats, seeking to comfort their base — and to have a fundraising platform — burnt up so much political capital this time around. Gorsuch, by most accounts, is fairly moderate and has a long and favorable reputation with both Democrats and Republicans — at least he did, until he was nominated by Trump. Next nominee may not be so well-regarded in the liberal camp. But depending on the voter backlash in 2018 for the senseless Democratic-driven hold-up of Gorsuch, maybe next time won’t be so difficult for Republicans to achieve speedy confirmation.