On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Gorsuch would replace Justice Antonin Scalia, a fellow conservative, who died at age 79 on Feb. 13, 2016 — more than a year ago.
You might say, “Wait a minute, that was back during President Obama’s term. Why didn’t Obama get to pick a nominee to replace Scalia?”
President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, an eminently qualified jurist, but the petulant Republicans stonewalled him.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to allow hearings on Garland, saying the vacancy should be filled by the next president. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) climbed on the Republican clown car and supported McConnell’s decision (these two are classy, right?)
There are other examples of presidents making Supreme Court nominations during their last year in office, so it’s nonsense to suggest that a president is somehow less a president because his term is in its last year.
A gross injustice was done to Obama and Garland that certainly is novel and inconsistent with the intent of the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, it thwarts the will of the people and damages our representative democracy.
Gorsuch and Scalia both are or were adherents to the theory of “originalism,” the concept that the meaning of the words and phrases in the Constitution should be interpreted as they were at the time the document was written.
My question for Gorsuch would be this: If, as you say, you believe in the original intent of the founding fathers, how would you square that with the absurd perversion of the Constitution that Republicans used in their power play to get you to this confirmation hearing in the first place?
Certainly, nothing in the Constitution says a president can’t nominate a justice to the Supreme Court during his fourth year in office and expect that the Senate will do its Constitutional duty and hold hearings.
And if the theft perpetrated against Merrick Garland — and the American people — is contrary to the original intent of the Constitution, will you do the right thing and stand down, declining to accept a seat on the Supreme Court under circumstances that essentially involve stolen property?
If the answer is no, where is your integrity, sir? You either believe in the doctrine of originalism or you don’t. Or is originalism just a faux intellectual cover for siding with wealth, power, big business and big donors?