Opinion

Supreme Court High Noon

The appointment of Judge Neil Gorsuch by President Trump to be the next Supreme Court justice has the left in a state of hysteria. Politico recently ran an article curiously offering the premise that liberals win if he is filibustered or if the GOP changes the rules (as now looks likely) to allow a 51 vote approval (the so-called “nuclear option”)  that they will pay the price with voters come 2018 and the congressional elections.  This may be true but then again Politico as I recall was confident that Trump would lose last November 8th, so you might question the reliability of their predictions.

Harry Reid would undoubtedly have gone nuclear if Democrats had still controlled the Senate when Justice Scalia had died.   But the GOP had control and blocked President Obama’s appointment of Judge Merrick Garland by the very simple tactic of never giving him a vote.  This of course is grounds for a free round of drinks where at any bar where progressives congregate if anyone angrily yells “Merrick deserved a vote!” But in the rest of the country that was pretty much a non issue. In fact the election results might be argued to be approval for not giving him a vote. Now the stakes of this appointment are very high but I conclude that liberals not only don’t win either way but will lose in a big way over the next few years.

Let us suppose that the 55 yes vote count stands and the rules are changed to end a filibuster. I personally think the filibuster is a wonderful check on the abuse of power, but I can see that both sides have really forgotten what it can mean.  Say then that on April 7th the nuclear option is exercised and Judge Gorsuch is confirmed. Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch would make the balance of power largely 5-4 in favor of conservatives. That really doesn’t mean that you then may predict case outcomes solely by virtue of political viewpoint, it has not historically always worked that way.  But there is one stalwart heroine of the left, Justice Ginsburg who is speculated to be the highest risk for creating the next vacancy.  While I disagree personally with her political and judicial positions I do wish her a long life and hope that she defies expectations and continues to serve for years to come.  But if another position does open, and the odds are it will be a “liberal” Justice that leaves an open seat, the right would then see a 6-3 majority.  That status could possibly exist for decades to come.  And if the GOP continues to hold the Senate and Trump wins a second term it is possible that an even larger majority could be created.

Maybe that  does happen. I fail to see how 8 democrats agreeing to vote for Gorsuch actually prevents the end of the nuclear option.  Nothing exists to prevent a new Democrat majority Senate from invoking it unless they don’t control the White House (what would be the point then?).  What that means is that all of this posing and preaching about the sanctity of the filibuster is so much whistling past the graveyard.  It will mean nothing, Harry Reid killed the filibuster in reality a few years ago and we just haven’t admitted it yet.

For the left the results of Trump’s election continues to be felt, and they hurt. They don’t control the White House, the Senate nor the House.  If the Supreme Court becomes a 6-3 majority, that believes the constitution is not written on toilet paper, the impact will be immense and felt for a long time to come.

Consider however what President Franklin Roosevelt contemplated. Increasing the number of Justices so that you could “pack the Court” with like-minded Judges.  Roosevelt backed away from that, but does anyone believe that the progressive minded politicians beloved by Politico and the left would even hesitate for a second and do just that if the opportunity arises? Whatever happens in the days to come, this is a situation that seems to me to be predestined for a conservative majority and however Politico and others attempt to spin that, it is by no means a “win” for the left.