6 Reasons to Filibuster Gorsuch

  1. Gorsuch is a partisan. He will rule in ways that go against Democratic interests and voters. That by itself is not a reason to filibuster, which leads us to…
  2. Gorsuch was dishonest about his partisan judicial philosophy during his confirmation. By refusing to answer even basic questions, he comes off as a judge with something to hide. If he was centered by a judicial philosophy that leans to the right, why not just say so (as Scalia did) while also trying to convince the public that he will give everyone a fair hearing. By repeatedly refusing to explain his perspective on settled cases and how he might apply them, it indicates he knows exactly how he will apply them (or discard them) but is afraid to tell us. That is very concerning, but would not be enough to filibuster.
  3. In this partisan era, we cannot expect the Supreme Court not to be drawn into the fray. Unlike the left, the right has been grooming a generation of conservative judges to make it through the nomination process without detection. Democrats can choose this moment to drop the charade that this can be a bipartisan process. There is little indication the public cares that much about senate voting rules regarding court nominations. And yet, that would still not be reason enough to blow up Senate tradition and usher in an era of pure partisan Supreme Court nominations. Which leads us to…
  4. It would not be Democrats who blew up Senate tradition, but Mitch McConnell. He’s the one who will have to lower the 60 vote threshold to 51. This will make the body he loves less powerful vis-a-vis the executive. It will harm its ability to form coalitions and build consensus. This will be the price (political, historical and moral) that McConnell will have to pay for gambling Merrick Garland’s seat on an election year bet. He won that bet and will get Gorsuch, but Democrats are obligated make him face the cost. The GOP cannot just get away with it, and the only way to check them, however weakly, is to return partisan fire with partisan fire. See Reason #3: Democrats cannot be expected to be the only political party that plays fair on the judiciary. The GOP offered up Garland to Obama as a ‘consensus candidate‘ back when they did not have enough senators to block a Kagan or Sotomayor. It will be a generation before a president nominates someone from the non-partisan mainstream. History will record that Obama was the last president to nominate a centrist, and McConnell will be the reason why. After the resulting mess, that history lesson might convince a new class of politicians to cool the partisan fever. Yet there is an even more strategic reason to filibuster…
  5. If Democrats wait, McConnell will not hesitate to change the rules next time he gets the chance (if Kennedy retires this summer). If Democrats filibuster now, and McConnell changes to majority rules, Kennedy may be less likely to retire. He may want to avoid putting his seat into the middle of the political firestorm where Trump will have more unfettered power to select his replacement. And if that were not enough…
  6. At all costs, screw Trump.

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