On April 3rd, Senate Democrats were able to muster up enough support to filibuster the confirmation hearings of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, became the 41st Senate Democrat to oppose the confirmation of President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. To end the filibuster, the Republicans needed eight more senators to oppose it. Although the nominee has been confirmed, this retaliation against Judge Neil M. Gorsuch’s confirmation marks a win for Democrats.
The vacant seat in the Supreme Court had been controversial since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. After his death in February of 2016, President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacant position. Obama’s nominee was highly qualified for the position and his views were considered center-left by most on the Hill. The Senate failed to hold a single confirmation hearing for Judge Garland due to the Republican majority in the Senate who felt it would be up to the next administration to appoint a new justice. Last July, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the press, “One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.”
President Trump nominated Judge Neil M. Gorsuch on February 1st, to fill the spot of Justice Antonin Scalia who passed away in February 2016. Trump’s nominee is considered by many to be highly controversial for his far-right views. According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, “Judge Gorsuch has repeatedly sided with corporations over working people, demonstrated a hostility toward women’s rights, and most troubling, hewed to an ideological approach to jurisprudence that makes me skeptical that he can be a strong, independent justice on the court.” Judge Neil M. Gorsuch is also a source of controversy because he is only 49, the youngest nominee since Justice Clarence Thomas, who was confirmed in 1991.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States and has the ability to make decisions that will affect the country forever. With a Republican Congress, many Democrats believe that the judicial branch is the only branch of government that has the ability to curb President Trump’s power. Several of President Trump’s executive orders have already been met with judicial opposition, especially his order banning the entry of nationals from seven majority Muslim nations.
The confirmation of Judge Gorsuch will create a five to four conservative majority on the supreme court. This will allow the court to overturn past decisions such as Roe v. Wade, which Trump claimed he wanted to be overturned during his campaign. Upcoming cases including Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. will determine whether transgender people in federally-funded programs are given the same rights as cisgender people.
The Supreme Court is one of the most important branches of government. Its job is to protect this country from abandoning its principles outlined in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. While it is the right of the president to nominate justices, the court is not supposed to be political. President Donald Trump’s nominee is just that: extremely political. Past justices have been more moderate and have been known to make decisions contrary to the views of the party that nominated them. Most notably, Chief Justice John Roberts, who was known to be a staunch conservative, voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. Judge Neil Gorsuch will never vote in favor of anything related to equal rights or the rights of individuals, which can be seen by looking at his previous decisions. The fight from Senate Democrats is important in showing the American people that President Trump’s word is not law. Democrats must continue to challenge President Trump. We must do anything in our power to prevent President Trump’s agenda from abandoning the principles that this nation was founded upon.