Longtime Washington Post contributor E.J. Dionne, Jr. has a theory as to why Democrats are justified in their planned filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Although Gorsuch has proven himself through his Senate hearings to be a non-partial, strict constitutionalist judge, liberal lawmakers are nevertheless trying to block his path to the bench. Some would say this is foolish, not only because Gorsuch is a mainstream judge, but because Democrats are picking this fight too early. Why not wait until the next Supreme Court opening – one that would require the Senate to replace a liberal justice - not a conservative justice like the late Antonin Scalia?
In his Wednesday op-ed, Dionne argues that Democrats have the right to engage in this warfare because Republicans have long been trying to tilt the court in their favor via "power-grabbing and bullying." It starts way back in Bush v. Gore, he argued, when five conservative judges halted the recount of Florida’s ballots in the 2000 election, securing George W. Bush the presidency. As such, he recalls, Democrats were robbed of the White House and the Supreme Court, for Bush appointed two justices of his choosing – John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Those two, Dionne explained, helped pass several cases that had right-leaning decisions. It's not a conspiracy theory, the pundit said – it proves Republicans have engaged in a “long-term conservative effort to dominate the Supreme Court and turn it to the political objectives of the right.”
So let’s can all of these original-sin arguments about who started what and when in our struggles over the judiciary. From Bush v. Gore to Citizens United to Shelby County, it is the right wing that chose to thrust the court into the middle of electoral politics in an entirely unprecedented and hugely damaging way.
Guy has a different take. The Democrats, he said, are engaging in a "desperate" and "very stupid" political strategy to try and find some kind of a symbolic win for their base after an awful election performance. Their bitter battle royale, he writes, is without merit.
Because the Democrats are planning to filibuster Gorsuch, the GOP is expected to respond by changing Senate rules to use the nuclear option, which will ensure Gorsuch only needs 51 votes to be confirmed as opposed to 60. The nuclear option was first introduced by Democrat Harry Reid.