Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch Faces Historic Filibuster; Expected to Set Precedent

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is expected to face a partisan filibuster by Democrats. There is debate from both sides on the issue, but if the filibuster goes through, it will be the second-ever partisan filibuster for a Supreme Court nominee.

Although President Trump has already made his nomination for the Supreme Court, Democrats such as Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer are vowing to filibuster this decision. Trump’s Supreme Court pick is Neil Gorsuch from Colorado.

This will be the second-ever filibuster for a Supreme Court nominee, and the decision will set a precedent for future nominations.

Earlier this month, Sen. Schumer told CNN, “Make no mistake, Senate Democrats will not simply allow but require an exhaustive, robust, and comprehensive debate on Judge Gorsuch’s fitness to be a Supreme Court Justice.”

The decision to filibuster Neil Gorsuch’s nomination will be a historical one, as this could result in what is called the “nuclear option” where Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell would push to change Senate rules on the majority vote if the Democrats choose to filibuster the nomination.

The importance of the “nuclear option” lies in the fact that the Democrat’s choice to filibuster could very well end future chances to filibuster.

According to a Politifact article titled, “6 questions answered about ‘the nuclear option,’ the filibuster, and Supreme Court nominations,” Senate Republicans usually would need a 60 vote majority to pass Gorsuch as a Supreme Court judge. However, the nuclear option allows for the majority party to change the supermajority rule so that only a simple majority would be required.

Jo Copeland, an adjunct professor of Sociology at Emory & Henry who has been a lawyer for 40 years explained the media’s comparison of Gorsuch to the late Antonin Scalia.

“I don’t believe that Gorsuch is necessarily as conservative or rigid as Scalia…it is hard to judge a judge based on their past decisions and even his past decisions do not indicate that he is going to be as inflexible as Scalia was,” said Copeland.

Why is it that Democrats disapprove of Neil Gorsuch so much? Gorsuch’s decision to side with Hobby Lobby and view of contraception as immoral, his endorsement of Second Amendment rights, and his opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide suggests how he may act in future abortion cases.

According to a Five Thirty Eight article titled, “Trump Picks Neil Gorsuch, A Scalia Clone, For The Supreme Court,” Democrats are still upset with the Republicans refusal to allow former President Obama to nominate Merrick Garland in his last 11 months in office.

Despite the continuing controversy, Professor Copeland stressed the importance of giving judges like Neil Gorsuch a chance.

“We need to keep an open mind, listen to the answers…really listen. I don’t know any judge who is so bad that they cannot look at the case in front of them and decide on the merits of the case itself. Their job is to apply the law as closely as possible, not to express their personal views or political agenda,” said Copeland.

– Shayla DiTolla

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