There are three primary reasons that Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to sit on the Supreme Court should be rejected:
First: A prior candidate, Merrick Garland has already been nominated for this vacancy by President Obama. Garland is a highly qualified jurist and an ideological moderate and the Congress was constitutionally bound by their respective oaths of office to consider the President’s nomination. The Republicans, without good cause, refused to do so. The Republicans should not be rewarded, and the Supreme Court delegitimized, by that refusal. This argument is well set out by University of Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey R. Stone’s article in The Huffington Post,“The Gorsuch Nomination And The Rule Of Law“.
Stone writes in part, “In a completely unprecedented abuse of power, Senate Republicans, under the ‘leadership’ of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), refused to confirm, or even to consider, Judge Garland’s nomination. This unconscionable maneuver was nothing less than a dishonorable and dishonest effort to steal this seat on the Supreme Court for the right wing.
Senator McConnell had the audacity to maintain that the ‘people’ should decide who should fill this particular vacancy on the Supreme Court. By employing his duplicitous strategy, he managed to shift this appointment from a President who had won the popular vote by a margin of five million votes in 2012 to one who lost the popular vote by a margin of three million votes in 2016.
This crass and unprincipled manipulation of our democracy should not be allowed to succeed. Anyone who cares about the proper and legitimate functioning of our American democracy must oppose Judge Gorsuch’s nomination, not because he is unqualified, but because of the undermining of our American democracy by Senate Republicans. Anyone who cares about the rule of law should oppose this nomination.”
Here’s Russ Feingold making the same point in The Guardian in an article “If Gorsuch is confirmed, the legitimacy of the US supreme court won’t recover“.
Second: The legitimacy of the nomination of Gorsuch by Trump remains in doubt while suspicions remain that Trump, himself, colluded with Russians to illegally undermine the 2016 election. Evidence to date leaves no doubt that Russians, in fact, meddled in the election during a period in which they were in communication with Trump’s aides. Moreover, the narrow margin of victory in the election was within the range where the illegal meddling may have been decisive. Given that the Supreme Court seat is for life, action on the nomination should be withheld pending investigation of the election, the Russian role therein, and any collusion on the part of the President.
Here’s Nick Knudsen making the same point in The Huffington Post in “Senate Democrats: No SCOTUS Pick for a President Under Investigation“.
Third: Gorsuch was nominated by Trump to pass Trump’s campaign ideological litmus test. Gorsuch represents a generational shift moving the power of the Court to the far right – he will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, uphold Citizens United, support corporate interests over rights of people, and allow fundamentalists to substitute their religious claims in place of established law. Those results are unacceptable. The far right wants to seat Gorsuch to advance their substantive power grab and to carry out previously determined policies rather than to sit as an independent judicial arbiter. Those results would remove the constitutional right of privacy found in Roe for women to determine whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. And Gorsuch would uphold the nonsensical finding of Citizens United that corporations are entitled to the rights of individuals and that corporate funding of election campaigns is constitutionally protected. That ruling undermines the democratic rights of the poor who, while retaining a right to vote, cannot buy access to the media and the market place of ideas. In short, the nomination of Mr. Gorsuch must be resisted if we are to retain a tolerant, pluralistic, and democratic society.
Note also that the vote on Gorsuch is itself a test for whether Senate Democrats are willing to resist or whether they are complicit. Any Senator who votes to confirm should be removed at the next election in which they stand for office.