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Democrats Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place With Gorsuch

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Neil Gorsuch began taking questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and, after watching it for the past few hours, I have come to begrudgingly accept that he will very likely be the next Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. I hate admitting it and I'm just as angry as every other liberal about the fact that the Republicans have stolen this seat, but the Republicans control the Senate and the White House now and they have the votes to confirm him.

    I've had some interesting conversations with other liberals who insist that the Democrats should filibuster Gorsuch, but no one I've ever conversed with is able to answer what they will do when the Republicans simply invoke the nuclear option and ram Gorsuch through with a simple majority.

    The law of unintended consequences will take over after that. What happens if the Notorious R.B.G. passes away and the Republicans are then able to ram through another far right conservative to the court with a simple majority? That would change the ideological balance on the court for a generation or more. And for what? Because Democrats filibustered a justice who would replace a deceased far right justice?

    This is what happens when people are too lazy to vote or convinced themselves that there was no difference between Donald and Hillary Clinton. Would a President Clinton have nominated a far right jurist or a more left leaning one? We all know that answer, but people don't tend to think about the consequences of sitting on their ass because their preferred candidate wasn't perfect.

    We Democrats only have ourselves to blame for the mess we now find ourselves in when it comes to Neil Gorsuch.

  • Independent
    Washington
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    I have been watching all morning. I could see democratic senators voting no with clarification such as:

    "I am voting no based on the principle that ethically Merrick Garland should have been given up\down vote, and was unfairly treated by Republican obstructionism. Given that Neil Gorsuch has been given a chance to prove himself qualified, I feel he will uphold the constitution and be a fair and impartial Supreme Court Judge."

    Democrats could also vote yes to avoid the nuclear option being used.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    wwjd Wrote: I have been watching all morning. I could see democratic senators voting no with clarification such as:

    "I am voting no based on the principle that ethically Merrick Garland should have been given up\down vote, and was unfairly treated by Republican obstructionism. Given that Neil Gorsuch has been given a chance to prove himself qualified, I feel he will uphold the constitution and be a fair and impartial Supreme Court Judge."

    Democrats could also vote yes to avoid the nuclear option being used.

    Oh, I am by no means suggesting that I want Senators Wyden and Merkley to vote for Gorsuch. All I'm suggesting is that invoking the filibuster at this time may very well come back to bite Democrats in the ass six ways from Sunday if a liberal jurist dies when Trump is still in office and the Republicans still control the Senate.

    A "no" vote is different than a filibuster. All 48 Senate Democrats could vote "no" but still choose to not filibuster Gorsuch.

  • Independent
    Washington
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    Yes, I understood your intent, I was just posting my perception of what I think is likely to happen from a political perspective. There is a lot pressure from democrat voters to out reject Gorsuch even if he were to demonstrate beyond doubt to be voting with the liberal side of the supreme court.

    So from what I've seen watching the hearing, he's doing a reasonable job of staying out of trouble with his responses; staying out of politics\ideology in terms of how he thinks as a judge. He has not said anything that would cause him to be rejected based on qualifications or leaning.

    We all need to keep in mind that if somehow democrats were cause his nomination to fail, it only means Trump would look at his list of judges, and likely pick someone who is even further to the right. Democrats don't have enough power to keep rejecting nominations endlessly.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    wwjd Wrote: We all need to keep in mind that if somehow democrats were cause his nomination to fail, it only means Trump would look at his list of judges, and likely pick someone who is even further to the right. Democrats don't have enough power to keep rejecting nominations endlessly.

    Exactly!

    If Gorsuch fails then we could have a repeat of the Harriet Miers fiasco where Bush simply replaced her with a far right jurist named Samuel Alito. And how did that work out for us?

    I keep going back to "this is what happens when Democrats don't vote." Ideological purity got us absolutely nowhere in November. Bernie or bust "Democrats" somehow convinced themselves that Clinton was worse than Donald. Now they get to reap what they sowed.

    I wonder if they will be able to still convince themselves that they were on the right side of history once women start accidentally killing themselves in back alleys after Roe is overturned or their cancer treatment is taken from them after the Republican Obamacare "replacement" is upheld.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    jaredsxtn Wrote:
    wwjd Wrote: We all need to keep in mind that if somehow democrats were cause his nomination to fail, it only means Trump would look at his list of judges, and likely pick someone who is even further to the right. Democrats don't have enough power to keep rejecting nominations endlessly.

    Exactly!

    If Gorsuch fails then we could have a repeat of the Harriet Miers fiasco where Bush simply replaced her with a far right jurist named Samuel Alito. And how did that work out for us?

    I keep going back to "this is what happens when Democrats don't vote." Ideological purity got us absolutely nowhere in November. Bernie or bust "Democrats" somehow convinced themselves that Clinton was worse than Donald. Now they get to reap what they sowed.

    I wonder if they will be able to still convince themselves that they were on the right side of history once women start accidentally killing themselves in back alleys after Roe is overturned or their cancer treatment is taken from them after the Republican Obamacare "replacement" is upheld.

    Yes Jared, this is what you get if you don't change the "system" here. Sorry it is totally outdated, but long live the "electoral college",the NRA, the healthcare system, voter repression,etc etc. I hate to rub it in, but the election in the Netherlands should have been an good example of that only "votes" should count without voter "fraud" or disputes as well an 82% turn out . The result here is obvious because in the "rural " area's "development" stood still and now they govern. Sure you can blame the non voters, but why not change that system as well; like everyone can have "mail in" ballots or do it by "cellphone/computer" etc. As well an"uniform " system throughout the country.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Well let's not act like the Republican party. All that got them was..... well everything. Yes, do the opposite so we maintain. Pretty empty principles.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Republicans are ruthless. Remember that if Clinton had won, several Republicans were claiming they would block any Clinton nominations for 4 years.

    PBS: If Clinton wins, more in GOP say no to full Supreme Court

    "...several Republicans have said if the voters elect Clinton, they’ll block her nominees, effectively abandoning their advice and consent role for her entire term.

    “If Hillary Clinton becomes president, I am going to do everything I can do to make sure four years from now, we still got an opening on the Supreme Court,” North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr said in an audio recording of his meeting with GOP volunteers on Saturday. CNN obtained a copy of the audio.

    "GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Ted Cruz of Texas have also suggested blocking any Clinton nominees. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said in a debate Monday night that he “can’t imagine” voting for any Clinton nominee though he stopped short of vowing to block a pick from a Democratic president."

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    Furthermore, if another justice resigns or dies, look for Trump/Republicans to fill that void from the same list.

    From what I have read and heard, Neil Gorsuch is indeed a very conservative judge and would be to the right of the existing justices on the court...in other words, just like Scalia.

    Don't be impressed by his likability. He will not be expected to engage with the public as a politician. He'll do his damage quietly behind the scenes for the next 40 years.

    Republicans are elated by Neil Gorsuch. They seem to know a lot more than Democrats do. Gorsuch didn't reveal much of himself from what I have seen.

    I vote "NO"....perhaps a filibuster. What would we lose?

    Republicans are ruthless.

  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    I heard a lot of the hearings yesterday and all I could think is how slick this guy is. He can sure "Talk the talk" but in reality he is nothing more than a complete BS artist. Nothing more than a polished, more sophisticated Trumpy. He says just what the Repubs want him to say and to listen to them he is gods gift to America, i.e. Corporate America.
  • Independent
    Washington
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    There should be a law passed that gives congress 90 days to confirm, meaning each member must give a up\down vote in 90 days.

    Neither party would support such a law because I believe both sides want to be able to block the other side's nominee if the circumstances allow it.

    I fully agree that the Republicans stole the nomination, and did so using very dirty politics, but I also strongly believe that the democrats would have done exactly the same thing if it had been a republican nominee. Now that a standard of dirty politics has been set, democrats are free to play the same nasty game at the next opportunity. It's like watching two feuding neighbors allowing their dogs to shit in the other's yard because it happened once.

    My basic belief is that Republicans are the master of dirty politics, and the democrats are constantly playing catch up to match them, but are always one step behind. This is a generalization mostly of national politics.

    Don't be surprised if the next nomination is held up for over 2 years, if the democrats are able to get the right numbers to block any further Trump's appointments.

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I heard he's approx. 50 years old. Great that he would be there for 25 - 35 years. Maybe longer. More evidence of how horrible our loss was in November. SCOTUS was the most important thing and while some here want to tout Mrs. Clinton being honest or at least not the liar Trump is. If you see her today, ask her about her SCOTUS nominee. Win or get out of the way.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    TJ Wrote: I heard he's approx. 50 years old. Great that he would be there for 25 - 35 years. Maybe longer. More evidence of how horrible our loss was in November. SCOTUS was the most important thing and while some here want to tout Mrs. Clinton being honest or at least not the liar Trump is. If you see her today, ask her about her SCOTUS nominee. Win or get out of the way.
    Sitting there for 35 years?? And you say nothing is wrong with this country? Crazy laws, no wonder we get an Trump as well holier than shit Supreme Court judges. Thus during 35 years the poor women who get raped or have an total deformed fetus have to go "outside" the country to get an abortion and order birth control pills by mail outside the country. Fantastic what an"advanced" country.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Where did Donald Trump get his original list of Supreme Court candidates? According to a New York Times article in May 2016, "Nan Aron, the president of the liberal Alliance for Justice Action Council, deplored Mr. Trump’s choice of potential justices as “dangerous.”

    “The list includes some of the most extreme conservatives on the federal bench today,” she said. “Their opinions demonstrate open hostility to Americans’ rights and liberties, including reproductive justice and environmental, consumer and worker protections. They have ruled consistently in favor of the powerful over everyone else. They would move the needle even further to the right on the Supreme Court.”

    Neil Gorsuch wasn't on that original list. His name was among 10 others that was added later.

    Now go back in time to the selection of Sarah Palin in September 2008 as John MacCain's running mate. The group behind that selection was the Council for National Policy. I wrote about it at the time.

    Who is the Council for National Policy? Max Blumenthal described them in 2008 as "an ultra-secretive cabal that networks wealthy right-wing donors together with top conservative operatives to plan long-term movement strategy." CNP members in 2008 included Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Grover Norquist, Tim LaHaye and Paul Weyrich. Blumenthal wrote at the time:

    "At a secret 2000 meeting of the CNP, George W. Bush promised to nominate only pro-life judges; in 2004, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told the group, "The destiny of the nation is on the shoulders of the conservative movement." This year, thanks to Sarah Palin's selection, the movement may have finally aligned itself behind the campaign of John McCain.

    "The members of the Council for National Policy are the hidden hand behind McCain's Palin pick. With her selection, the Republican nominee is suddenly -- and unexpectedly -- assured of the support of a movement that once opposed his candidacy with all its might."

    Last night I was reading an article by Janet Reitman on Betsy Devos in the Rolling Stone: Betsy DeVos' Holy War. It's an interesting and well researched article that you should read on it's own to learn more about DeVos, but a couple of paragraphs really caught my eye.

    "One of the organizations the Prince and DeVos clans have supported is the Council for National Policy, a secretive and little-known group of several hundred of the country's most powerful religious and social conservatives. Founded in 1981 by evangelical leader Tim LaHaye, a co-founder of the Moral Majority and co-author of the Left Behind apocalyptic series of books, the CNP has been described as a conservative answer to the Council on Foreign Relations.

    "Members' names... among them, Texas oilman Nelson Bunker Hunt; financier Foster Friess; religious leaders Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Tony Perkins; right-wing operatives like Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff; Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation; the NRA's Wayne LaPierre; Reagan's Attorney General Edwin Meese; and Republican members of Congress like Tom DeLay and Jesse Helms. More recent members now occupy roles in the White House, notably Stephen K. Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, and Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president."

    Reitman also relayed Bruce Bartlett's observations in the 1990s: "It was a clique [of] religious wackos who kept it all behind closed doors because they were afraid that people would see how nuts they were. I was there because I was interested in tax policy and economics. I also had to get the support of the religious kooks, who didn't give a rat's ass about economics. And they realized that they had to get our support. It's about creating the big tent. 'Maybe you want theocracy – we don't give a shit as long as we have our tax cuts.' It's kind of frightening."

    My research could not find anything that said the Council for National Policy helped Donald Trump build his list of Supreme Court nominees. But the fact that both Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway are members of the CNP, I cannot help but speculate that like Sarah Palin's selection in 2008, the CNP selected many of the people on Trump's lists including Neil Gorsuch. You won't find much on Gorsuch as you look at his actions on cases or listen to his testimony. He is too coy and cute. However, I would guess that the CNP had already thoroughly vetted Gorsuch via the cocktail social network of influential people. His presence on the Supreme Court would indeed be "dangerous".

    I support a filibuster and just live with the consequences.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Schmidt Wrote: I support a filibuster and just live with the consequences.

    I agree with pretty much everything you said, but I'm worried that the Republicans would simply rewrite the rules and ram him through with a simple majority.

    What happens if a left leaning jurist dies and the Republicans are able to ram through someone to the right of Gorsuch in their place? That would have the potential of altering the balance of the court for a generation or more.

    Gorsuch is a right wing zealot, but he's replacing a right wing zealot. I believe the Democrats should hold their fire for a fight that means a lot more, like if Kennedy retires or a left leaning jurist dies.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Jared -- Yes you make a good point. But I'm not so sure that others on the list will be further to the right than Gorsuch. We really don't know based on what we have seen of his testimony...and his ability to charm the committee vetting him.

    Unlike Republicans who are divided on the health care proposed legislation, it appears that Republicans are not just 100 percent supportive but outright giddy about Gorsuch. They know something more about him that we don't. Perhaps it's because he is a pro-life extremist and the prospect of Row v. Wade being overturned has made them giddy. He is also very pro-corporate. Can he be further right than Scalia? Some people seem to think so.

    He will be easily approved if Dems don't filibuster. I wish we could find out more about him, but his answers to questions just seem so evasive...almost smug.

    I kind of liked the guy on first impressions, but as the testimony wore on I became more uncomfortable. Maybe that's just me. The thought of him being on the Supreme Court for maybe 35-40 years bothers me.