The White House on Friday put Senate Democrats on notice that any opposition they express to Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch when a vote is held, probably next week, will be viewed as “baseless” and 100 percent partisan.
“The baseless Democratic opposition to Judge Gorsuch shows that they would have the same opposition to ANY judge a Republican president nominates,” the White House said in a statement.
Democrats have been upset that President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland was not given a hearing by the GOP majority in the Senate last year when Justice Antonin Scalia died.
They have wanted to replace Scalia, a staunch conservative, with someone who aligns with their progressive view of the Constitution as a living document that can be reinterpreted according to the current social agenda.
That view prevailed when a narrow 5-4 court majority two years ago created same-sex “marriage” for the nation even though the Constitution doesn’t mention marriage, and just months earlier, the court had ruled that the regulation of marriage belonged strictly to the states.
The White House pointed out that President Trump selected Gorsuch after getting advice from 29 senators, and “more than half of these were Democrats, including every Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
“Their consensus advice was to pick a respected mainstream judge,” the White House explained, and “Gorsuch is the very definition of a mainstream judge.”
“In the more than 2,700 cases he has participated in on the 10th Circuit, 97 percent of them have been unanimously decided. He was in the majority 99 percent of the time. He has the lowest rate of other judges dissenting from his opinions on the 10th Circuit. According to CRS, only 1.5 percent of Judge Gorsuch’s majority opinions were accompanied by a dissent—the lowest of any judge in the study.”
And the Supreme Court “has never overruled an opinion Judge Gorsuch authored, and only one time in the more than 2,700 cases he participated in, has the Supreme Court overruled an opinion where Judge Gorsuch sat on the panel.”
He was unanimously confirmed when he was elevated to the 10th Circuit a decade ago, the White House pointed out.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in a commentary published by CNN, wrote “arguments peddled by the left against [Gorsuch] are total straw men and non sequiturs.”
“If Democrats refuse to allow an up-or-down vote on Judge Gorsuch, as Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has threatened, then there’s no Republican nominee they won’t filibuster. Judge Gorsuch will be confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice. The question is whether Democrats will give him the up-or-down vote he deserves,” he wrote.
Another senator commenting on the dispute said tersely that Gorsuch “will be confirmed.”
Democrats have been trying to get every single party member to line up against Gorsuch, because, according to Senate rules, the GOP would need eight Democrats to join the 52-member GOP majority to avoid a filibuster.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has been the loudest voice opposing Gorsuch, threatening that there will be terrible consequences if the GOP changes Senate rules, as the Democrats did under Harry Reid several years ago for other nominees, and allow for a simple majority to end debate and move to an up-or-down vote.
The White House pointed out that since his nomination, Gorsuch has met with nearly 80 senators. He has provided more than 70 pages of written answers and more than 75,000 pages of speeches, case briefs, opinions and written works dating back decades.
“At the request of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and Ranking Member, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the White House Archives produced over 180,000 pages of email and paper records related to Judge Gorsuch’s time at the DOJ,” the White House said.
Gorsuch sat for nearly 20 hours of questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee, answering nearly 1,200 questions.
The White House said, however, it appears that the Democrats decided to oppose Gorsuch “before he was even nominated.”
It is not Gorsuch’s seat, however, that Democrats are most concerned about, since he would be replacing the right-leaning Scalia, maintaining a 4-4 balance, with Anthony Kennedy as the swing vote.
President Trump could, for example, be in a position to find a successor to progressive Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who at 84 has had health struggles.
WND columnist Armstrong Williams wrote that Gorsuch’s “detractors misconceive the role of the judge.”
“They fault him for resisting the temptation to play Don Quixote to rescue damsels in distress by stretching the law to the breaking point.” he said. “He recognizes, in the words of immortalized Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in Missouri, Texas, and Kansas Ry v. May, that ‘it must be remembered that legislatures are ultimate guardians of the liberties and welfare of the people in quite as great a degree as the courts.'”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, recently told WND that Gorsuch will be confirmed.
“Without engaging in hypothetical speculation about exactly what mechanism will be deployed here, I will say this very confidently, we’re going to get Judge Gorsuch confirmed. One way or another, he will be confirmed,” the senator said.