Yesterday, at the swearing-in ceremony of the newest Associate Justice on the Supreme Court Neil Gorsuch, Trump bragged:
“I’ve always heard that the most important thing that a President of the United States does is appoint people, hopefully great people like this appointment, to the United States Supreme Court…And I got it done in the first 100 days, that’s even nice. You think that’s easy?”
Let me tell you, getting Gorsuch confirmed is nothing to be proud of.
For one, it wasn’t just Trump who “got it done,” and it didn’t take 100 days. It was the Republican party and it took over a year of crying and whining and pouting at Obama’s pick. After Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, Obama picked his nominee, Merrick Garland. This was Obama’s duty as POTUS, but the Republicans balked, claiming that this was an election year and that the next president should get to pick, which is nonsense. They refused to give him a hearing.
Now, come Trump’s presidency, and he nominates Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch doesn’t have the votes, as the Democrats filibustered, thus denying him the necessary 60 votes for confirmation. So Trump then “went nuclear.” He broke with two-hundred years of tradition and changed the rules, allowing a simple majority for confirmation to the highest court of the land. Trump, as president, may have been the one to make the death blow to the Democrats’ resistance, but it was not he who entirely “got it done.”
And secondly, instead of bragging, Trump should be lamenting the fact that now the standards of the highest court in the land, the US Supreme Court, have been lowered, thus opening the possibility of extremely skewed courts in the future. But lamenting that fact would be weird, since he and the Republicans are the ones that brought it about. You can’t blame the Democrats for Trump “going nuclear”; if Gorsuch didn’t have the votes Trump should have picked a different nominee, not change the rules.
Instead of picking another nominee, Trump instead bullied his way through the confirmation, as I suspect he has done though much of his life. On that day a little piece of America eroded.
Although I do not agree with Neil Gorsuch’s conservative record, I haven’t heard anything really bad about him as a person, but this is less about Gorsuch and more about how Trump and the Republicans have disrespected the wisdom of our forefathers to advance their agenda. This is a new era in which rules don’t matter anymore because they can be changed whenever it is convenient to fit your needs.
Confirming Gorsuch is nothing to be proud of. Instead, we should be ashamed.