When Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016, conservatives mourned. Not only had the Court lost a great jurist and an intellectual giant, but the Supreme Court now faced the possibility of being flipped to a 5-4 liberal majority.
Liberals wasted no time in exulting in the idea of a liberal majority on the Supreme Court. President Ronald Reagan had ended the liberal Supreme Court majority in the ‘80s and the Democrats were planning what they thought would be Barack Obama’s crowning achievement. He would put a third liberal justice on the Supreme Court and transform the Court for a decade or maybe longer if Hillary Clinton could win the presidency.
Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, a solid liberal but one who could be passed off by the left-wing media as a “centrist jurist.”
The Democrats counted on the Republican-controlled Senate caving. All the signs were there. Moderate Republican Senators quaked in fear as they believed the Garland nomination could be used against them.
But there was one Republican who stood against the lame-duck Obama appointment. That was Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Mitch McConnell, the longtime Kentucky senator, has never been a favorite of the conservative wing of the party. Many conservatives felt that Senator McConnell is not strong enough on fiscal conservatism and is too tied in to the Washington establishment.
Senator McConnell vowed that Judge Garland’s appointment would not receive a vote. He promised it would not even be brought up in committee because it would be up to the American people to decide who got to make the appointment.
Liberals screamed and squishy Republicans squirmed. The liberals were outraged but it was a bit of faux outrage. After all, they knew Hillary Clinton would be the next president and she could pick Garland or someone even more liberal.
We all know how that story ended.
The Party of Treason went nuts over the idea that Donald Trump would get to nominate someone who might be like Scalia.
After President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Senator McConnell warned the Democrats against opposing him and warned them he would be confirmed. He told them not to filibuster the nomination and when they did, to the Party of Treason’s complete shock, Senator McConnell used the nuclear option to get rid of the filibuster and confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch.
With the confirmation of Justice Gorsuch, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights have won a reprieve.
Over the last decade or longer, some of the most important decisions preserving Americans’ constitutional rights have been 5-4 Supreme Court decisions. The Citizens United case that saved the First Amendment was a 5-4 decision. The Heller and McDonald decisions that saved the Second Amendment were 5-4 decisions. Even the horrible Obamacare decision (National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius) was a 5-4 decision.
As conservatives celebrate the confirmation of Justice Gorsuch, they need to remember one man made that possible. That was Mitch McConnell.
Conservatives should show their gratitude to the senior senator from Kentucky.
At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Texas Senator Ted Cruz told the attendees there would be a second Supreme Court nomination for President Trump later this year. A second conservative nominee from President Trump would solidify a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for a generation.
When that happens, conservatives will once again have Mitch McConnell to thank.