Senate Dems Have No Legitimate Reason to Oppose Gorsuch Confirmation
When the United States Constitution was drafted and ultimately ratified, the idea that people from different ethnic, religious, and even historical origins could live together peaceably in a singular society had never been tested. The notion that “all Men are equal” and “endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights” had been set out in the Declaration of Independence against the backdrop of the Revolutionary War, but those principles hadn’t been tested or codified in the law.
The Constitution and The Bill of Rights are, in that sense, the most significant governing documents to have ever existed. They protect individual liberties, safeguard the notion that power belongs to the people, and prevent government from wrongful intrusion into the private lives of citizens.
The Supreme Court is there to make sure executive and legislative branch actions measure up. That’s why we need Supreme Court Justices who understand the Constitution. Their job isn’t to bend to political whims or to interject with personal opinions. It’s to make judicial rulings based on the application of the highest law in the land, the Constitution.
This week, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch will likely be confirmed, giving the Supreme Court its newest justice. The only question that remains is “how?” With the possibility of filibuster hanging heavy in the air, confirmation may require a rule change in the Senate.
It doesn’t have to come to that, and if Senate Democrats are being honest with themselves and with the American people, they know it shouldn’t.
In spite of Gorsuch’s unimpeachable reputation among legal scholars and practitioners on both sides of the aisle (Obama Solicitor General Neal E. Kaytal said in an op-ed for the New York Times that he has “no doubt that if confirmed, Judge Gorsuch would help restore confidence in the rule of law”), a partisan split has emerged as to whether the Senate should move forward with the confirmation. But on what basis?
It would be tough to undermine Gorsuch based on his character or his qualifications. He went to law school with President Obama at Harvard and studied at Columbia and Oxford. He clerked for Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy before entering private practice, where he remained for a decade. He served as a senior official in the United States Department of Justice and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate back in 2006 when he was nominated to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
During last week’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gorsuch remained dedicated to the dispassionate role of the jurist in spite of leftist attempts to force him to predict how he would rule in one situation or another.
Most importantly, Gorsuch has remained adamant that the words and the meaning of the Constitution, and not personal beliefs or public opinion, are what should guide any judge in making a ruling. Why is that so important? Because in this country, the Constitution has been the central mechanism for restoring rights when they’ve been wrongfully taken and for extending rights where they’ve been wrongfully withheld.
Republicans and Democrats alike know that the only remaining reason to oppose Gorsuch’s confirmation is political. It has nothing to do, as some have claimed, with his impartiality (he’s been given the American Bar Association’s highest ranking) or his extremism (97 percent of the cases he’s decided have been unanimous, meaning that every judge on the panel agreed). The left’s opposition to Gorsuch’s confirmation boils down to this: he was appointed by a Republican President during a Republican Administration.
Ultimately, the House has no say in Gorsuch’s confirmation. That decision is in the hands of the Senate. And I trust that he will be confirmed, one way or another.
So, my question to Senate Democrats is this: why deepen the political divide in this country? The integrity of our judicial system is too high a price to pay for partisanship. Gorsuch is an undeniably qualified jurist, and I urge Michigan’s two Senators to move beyond partisan politics, oppose filibuster, and vote to confirm Judge Gorsuch.
What’s at stake is more than a short-lived victory in a political battle. What’s at stake is the integrity of the confirmation process and of the Court charged with protecting our individual liberty and equal treatment under the law.