Cutting Off Their Nose

Erick Erickson
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Posted: Feb 03, 2017 12:01 AM
Cutting Off Their Nose
President Trump has kept the one promise that caused conservatives to rally to him through all the turmoil of the presidential election. In nominating Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court, the president is putting a Scalia-worthy replacement in Antonin Scalia's seat.

At a time the political left in America worries about the creeping hand of authoritarianism, a concern they never expressed with Barack Obama, the left should want Neil Gorsuch on the highest court in the country. Conservatives have suspected President Trump was never really interested in the Supreme Court. Given his desires as president, some see his choice of Gorsuch as confirmation of that disinterest.

Neil Gorsuch is exactly who a president would not put on the Supreme Court if the president wanted to be an authoritarian. Judge Gorsuch takes an extremely skeptical view of government power and, in particular, executive branch power. He has relentlessly argued from the bench and from behind the lecture that courts give the president and his agencies too much power in interpreting regulations.

Judge Gorsuch believes courts should not be deferential to the executive branch in its implementation of regulations when the legislative branch never vetted such regulations and their interpretation is subject to change depending on the partisan composition of the executive branch. Judge Gorsuch also has taken a much firmer stance against retroactive regulations than even Justice Scalia took.

On first amendment issues, Judge Gorsuch is a free speech purist. He strongly opposes authoritarian restrictions on the first amendment and believes protest is a fundamental American right that the government should only be able to lightly regulate for safety concerns. Judge Gorsuch also takes that expansive view to religious liberty where, in addition to siding with Hobby Lobby and other Christian organizations against President Obama's abortion agenda, he has sided with American Indian prisoners seeking to practice their faith in prison.

With so many American leftists marching in the streets against, as they call him, "Cheeto Hitler," one might think they would want a member of the Supreme Court who broadly supports the rights of protestors and is broadly skeptical of presidential power. But the left instead intends to oppose Neil Gorsuch purely because he is Donald Trump's pick.

Had Donald Trump nominated Jesus Christ to the Supreme Court, the left would march in protest of the Lord's views on life and marriage. So wrapped up in the advance of one size fits all social justice, the left will cut off its nose to spite its face. They will oppose a replacement for Antonin Scalia who is even less deferential to the power of a president than Scalia.

It is amazing what leftwing demands for social justice have done to that party. If the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade tomorrow, abortion would still be legal in all 50 states. States could then decide for themselves. Citizens would have the freedom to move from pro-life states to pro-abortion states or even to live in a pro-life state and drive to a pro-abortion state for an abortion. The founders believed we were a diverse nation even when there were just thirteen states. Allowing states to have different policies and different morality is not a bad thing. But the left insists on multiple skin colors, genders, and sexual orientations, but they only tolerate one correct opinion. The result will be their opposition to a Supreme Court nominee who would protect their rights to protest and restrain the president.

Even then, it will be to no avail. Senator Harry Reid and the Democrats established the precedent to end the filibuster for executive nominations in the Senate except for the Supreme Court. The Republicans will take advantage of that to eliminate the filibuster for all executive nominations. Neil Gorsuch will sit on the United States Supreme Court.

In their current state of setting their hair on fire about everything, the Democrats are unable to pick their battles carefully. Every hill has become a hill to die on, and die on those hills they will. So be it.