During the 2016 Presidential race, one of the major issues on the campaign trail was appointing a Supreme Court justice to replace Antonin Scalia because the Republicans in Congress blocked any attempt to have a hearing for President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee is more conservative than Scalia, and he is only 49 years old, so if confirmed, he will be on the bench for a long, long time.
There has already been much outrage on the Democratic side, with Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, calling fellow Democrats to block Trump’s nominee from receiving the required 60 votes to be confirmed. He is confident that the filibuster will be a success, but if Mitch McConnell decides to go “nuclear,” which is when a simple majority is used in the Senate, Gorsuch should be easily confirmed because there are 52 Senate Republicans.
What happens if Neil Gorsuch is not approved? Well, the divide between the Democrats and Republicans will be increased. Furthermore, Supreme Court cases could be left hanging with a 4-4 tie. But, if Senate Majority Leader, McConnell decides to go with the nuclear option, there will also be consequences. First, it would be hypocritical after he opposed the nuclear option in 2013. Moreover, both of Obama’s Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, were able to comfortably pass the 60 vote threshold, so many Democrats are wondering if Neil Gorsuch is such a good judge, why couldn’t he be confirmed normally.
So much is a stake for millions of Americans and with eight Democratic votes, Gorsuch could be the deciding vote to overturn or uphold some of the most important issues of our time. On top of that, there are still many questions surrounding the FBI criminal investigation involving Trump and his associates with Russia to collude in the 2016 Presidential election.
Even Gorsuch’s judge record is not very impressive. In one especially horrifying instance, he voted in favor of TransAm Trucking over Alphonse Maddin in the “frozen trucker” case. Maddin’s truck broke down with the brakes frozen, so he called his employer to arrange for the repair. Maddin fell asleep for three hours, and when he woke up, “I could not feel my feet, my skin was burning and cracking, my speech was slurred, and I was having trouble breathing. The temperature that night was roughly 27 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. The heater in the cabin was not producing heat, and the temperature gauge in the truck was reading minus 7 degrees below zero. After informing my employer of my physical condition, they responded by telling me to simply hang in there. … I started having thoughts that I was going to die. My physical condition was fading rapidly. I decided to try to detach the trailer from the truck and drive to safety.”
Maddin was fired for saving his own life by leaving his truck on the side of the road. Neil Gorsuch was the only judge out of seven to approve of TransAm’s actions over the seven years of going through the courts. We should not have a judge who sides with big corporations at the expense of innocent people in the most powerful court position.
The fight is on against Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation, and we are being outspent 20 to 1 by the right-wing’s attempt to have Gorsuch on the bench. There have been vicious attacks on Democratic senators who are facing reelection in 2018, and about $10 million has been spent on pressuring these individuals to confirm Neil Gorsuch.
Currently, it looks like Gorsuch will receive votes in the mid-fifties to high-fifties due to the strong opposition from the democrats, but most likely Mitch McConnell will go nuclear and Gorsuch will be confirmed. Though we will probably lose the overall battle, making the GOP use pure majority is a victory in and of itself.