Thursday, February 02, 2017

Trump's Supreme Court pick and why he is a done deal

Gorsuch is an outstanding choice. Obviously the other side is apoplectic, and not entirely without reason. When they accuse the GOP of "stealing the seat," well they are right. To which the GOP seems to be responding 'yeah we stole it fair and square, get over it.'

On a more practical note, barring some hitherto undetected scandal coming to light, Gorsuch is in. As in he will be confirmed.

The Democrats are livid but there really is nothing they can do. To be sure they will foam at the mouth and there will be heated speeches on the Senate floor. The committee hearings will be a spectacle. But ultimately Gorsuch is in because the GOP has 52 seats in the Senate and the filibuster is as dead as Jacob Marley. It was killed by Harry Reid when he decided the filibuster was standing in the way of Obama packing the US Federal District and Circuit Courts.

Reid and his fellow Democrats saw an opportunity to reshape the legal landscape which had been decidedly conservative since the 1980's. In fairness the vacancies were there and Obama was within his rights to nominate the judges. Seeing what was at stake the GOP did its best to block this and Reid finally said enough and killed the filibuster.

It was a calculated risk of course, but in the short term it paid off huge. For the first time since the 1970's a solid majority, roughly 2/3, of Federal judges below the Supreme Court are Democratic appointees and they clearly lean left.

Ah, I can hear the objection already... "But but the Democrats left the filibuster in place for Supreme Court Justices!" Well yes they did. There were no open seats at the time on the SCOTUS and if that should change they could easily repeat the process to include Supreme Court nominees. Point in fact, right up to election day, prominent Democrats were openly warning Republicans not to even think about trying to block President Clinton's anticipated SCOTUS nominee or the presumptive Democratic Senate majority would do away with the last vestiges of the filibuster.

So yeah, the filibuster is dead. It may live on in some theoretical form on paper, but like a brain dead man on those machines that keeps the body breathing, it's really dead. The simple truth is that once the Democrats killed the filibuster for political gain they set a precedent. And this particular bell cannot be unrung. If the Democrats try to filibuster Gorsuch, I do not doubt for one minute that the GOP will simply finish what Harry Reid started.

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