Democrats Attempt SCOTUS Filibuster

By: Haley Goode, 1L

Layout Editor

President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, finished a grueling four-day confirmation hearing process on Thursday, March 23.

Despite Gorsuch’s ability to remain articulate, collected, and even friendly throughout what was clearly intended by Democrats to be a tortuous 96 hours, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is urging Democrats in the Senate to filibuster and ultimately block Gorsuch’s confirmation.

Schumer stated that Gorsuch, who received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, J.D. from Harvard University, and doctorate from Oxford University, was “not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seeded conservative ideology.”

Despite these allegations, Judge Gorsuch has repeatedly and emphatically stressed that he views the bench as a place where personal preferences dissipate and precedent, namely the Constitution, is ultimate.

During Day Two of the hearings, Judge Gorsuch stated, “There’s no such thing as a Republican judge or a Democratic judge–we just have judges in this country.”


Photo of Senator Charles Schumer

Senator Charles Schumer expressed intent to filibuster Gorsuch in April. | Source:

Nevertheless, Schumer is determined that Democrats will block Gorsuch’s appointment in retribution for Republicans’ refusal to consider President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Court in 2016.  It is important to note that this opposition by the GOP was in compliance with an unwritten rule established by none other than Schumer himself (along with former Vice President Joe Biden during his time as a Senator) that in the instance of a vacancy, a President should abstain from appointing a Supreme Court Justice during the final year of his administration. As is typical in politics, the rule was in vogue when it furthered the Democrat agenda, but has quickly fallen out of fashion with the rise of the Trump administration. Schumer has been backtracking and attempting to block the President’s nominee.

The hypocrisy of his position is only heightened by the method with which Schumer announced his stance – Twitter. On the morning of March 23, Schumer blasted a tweet stating, “Judge Gorsuch’s nomination will face a cloture vote & as I’ve said, he will have to earn sixty votes for confirmation. My vote will be ‘No.’”
In addition to his duplicitous method of communication, it appears that Schumer has not carefully considered the ramifications of his intended filibuster. Pressure is mounting for Republicans to execute the so-called nuclear option, which would effectively allow Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed to serve their life-terms with a mere majority vote in the Senate. This strategy, even if not invoked in defense of Gorsuch, would certainly come into play should Democrats oppose Trump’s next nominee.

As the situation currently stands, the Washington Post has labeled Gorsuch a “gift to Democrats” due to his reasonableness, whereas there is no guarantee that any future nominee of President Trump may fit that description. Additionally, with five of the eight Justices on the Court over the age of sixty-five, it is possible that Trump may well appoint more than one Supreme Court Justice during his administration.

That Democrats would squander political capital on this appointment through methods that could ultimately lead to a streamlined confirmation process for Trump’s future nominees is baffling at best. It almost seems as if Democrats want Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to employ the nuclear option.

Regardless, there is little doubt that Judge Gorsuch will be ordering a new black robe.

Update: Judge Neil Gorsuch assumed the office of Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on April 10, 2017.

Categories: Opinions & Editorials
Tags: Gorsuch, SCOTUS