Government & Politics

Trump Delivers on Supreme Court Nomination

Neil Gorsuch is an outstanding pick.

John J. Bastiat · Feb. 1, 2017

Donald Trump promised during his campaign for the presidency to nominate a constitutional conservative to the Supreme Court, and he did not disappoint. With the selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch, currently serving on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Mr. Trump delivered on yet another campaign promise. This fulfillment was particularly important for millions of conservative voters, as it was the deciding factor in their decision to pull the handle for Mr. Trump over his opponent. (What was her name again?)

Judge Gorsuch’s credentials are impressive by any standard: top undergraduate honors at Columbia, top law school honors at Harvard, top PhD honors at Oxford, and an unwavering history of originalist constitutional interpretations that would make the late, great jurist Antonin “Nino” Scalia proud. Gorsuch beat out a strong list of fellow contenders Mr. Trump had paraded before the public during his campaign for the White House, with the promise he would choose his nominee from among that list. And he did.

What does this nomination mean for America’s future? For starters, an immediate uphill battle. Within literally seconds after the president’s announcement, the statist juggernaut launched into full swing, with the usual suspects in the Senate immediately pulling the gloves off and lining up to deliver blows.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) soap-boxed that Democrats would oppose nominees who were not “bipartisan and mainstream.” Meanwhile, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) hissed lines from his dog-eared copy of the playbook: “I had hoped that President Trump would work in a bipartisan way to pick a mainstream nominee like Merrick Garland and bring the country together. Instead, he outsourced this process to far-Right interest groups. This is no way to treat a co-equal branch of government or to protect the independence of our federal judiciary.”

From this mummy’s wisdom, of course, we learn two pearls: 1) A judge who reads the plain language of the Constitution and interprets it accordingly is a choice of the “far-Right interest groups,” not the American public, who would rather see “living, breathing Constitution” patsies contort the law to whatever suits the Left; and 2) In the wake of their abject Election Day spanking, the Democrat leadership’s “new” course is to continue spewing the same bile and venom that helped its candidates so much back in November. How excitingly new and refreshing! Hey Dems, keep it up: America needs you to abandon even more seats in the midterms!

Since Schumer has pledged that Democrats will filibuster any Trump nominee of whom he does not approve, many have questioned if the only option available for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would be to invoke the “nuclear option.” There are other options for breaking the filibuster, including utilization of existing rules as proposed by our colleagues at The Heritage Foundation: “A majority may use Rule XIX (the two-speech rule) to shorten the amount of time members are able to filibuster. This rule prohibits any senator from giving more than two speeches on any one question during the same legislative day.” It is important to note that a “legislative day” is not confined to a 24-hour period but to whenever the Senate adjourns, which could potentially last for months, as it did in 1980. After all, senators have given their speeches — they may not speak again — and confirmation can be obtained by a simple majority vote.

Republicans could also load the Senate docket with legislative proposals, which, if delayed by filibuster, could wound Senate Democrats in their home states.

Oh, and for the record — on the subject of obstruction — recall these words from Barack Obama on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton: “She knows that in this big, diverse country, democracy can’t work if all we’re about is trying to destroy somebody in the other party, if we demonize each other. If we block Supreme Court appointments — not because that’s how it’s supposed to work, but just because we didn’t win.”

However confirmation is achieved, a Justice Gorsuch means an end to the 4-4 split, an end to ideologically driven deadlocks arising in the wake of Justice Scalia’s departure and a return to juridical sanity on the High Court. Judge Gorsuch referred to Scalia as “a lion of the law,” also noting how much he misses him. He should: He has big shoes to fill. We are very optimistic, however. Echoing the same judicial philosophy and disarming manner as Nino consistently used with great impact, in accepting his nomination Judge Gorsuch humbly remarked, “A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge.” The implication is one all constitutionalists should understand: The outcome follows the law, not vice versa. And in this regard, Judge Gorsuch has been a reliably solid judge over a host of decisions before the Tenth Circuit, most notably in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby. There the court struck down contraceptive mandates under ObamaCare — mandates that would have otherwise violated the religious free exercise rights of Hobby Lobby’s owners in lieu of the “rights” of its employees to have employer-funded contraceptives. The decision is one of many similar examples demonstrating to us that Judge Gorsuch gets it.

Conservatives across the nation are unified in declaring this selection an unequivocal win, because it’s a victory for Rule of Law. As Mark Alexander notes, “Despite how the Democrats and their Leftmedia echo chambers want to frame this debate, it is NOT a ‘Republican versus Democrat’ or ‘conservative versus liberal’ issue. This is a Rule of Law versus a rule of men issue, the terminus of the latter irrevocably being tyranny. Our Founders and Constitution prescribed that the specific role of Supreme Court Justices was and remains, to uphold Rule of Law in accordance with their oaths ‘to Support and Defend’ our Constitution. They are not a "despotic branch” whose jurists legislate by judicial diktat, as has been the case by statist Supreme Court jurists for the last 70 years.“

As Thomas Jefferson warned on judicial despotism, ”[T]he opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves, in their, own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.“

Indeed, President Trump continues building an administration that is tantamount to a Reagan revival. With this critical nomination, it’s now up to the Senate to hit this one over the wall.

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