The debate of the century is underway. Well, it is if you listen to the news hyperbole to drive eyeballs and clicks. In truth, if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell drops the nuclear option this week the damage will never be undone.
The Senate began closing debates today on Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. The Democrats seemingly have enough votes to block his nomination through a filibuster. The Republicans need 60 votes to stop a filibuster. They have 55 if you count three Democrats willing to go along with them.
Senator McConnell can change procedural rules to stop a filibuster with a simple majority. That is the nuclear option.
Think about this for a minute. If Senator McConnell invokes the nuclear option like Democratic Senator Harry Reed did during his tenure of destruction, it changes the fabric of the Senate forever. That means whichever party is in the majority has carte blanche to pick whichever extreme judge it wishes. That should terrify and elate most extremists at the same time.
The Left Wing and Right Wing nut jobs will love the opportunity to transform the Court to their extreme delight. They will also loathe the option when the opposition controls the Senate. That means political campaigns will become far more important. The higher the stakes, the more extreme behavior and actions will occur.
Is the current crop of Democratic Senators really that stupid to risk the next four years to oppose a judge that will not alter the makeup of the Court one iota from what it was before Justice Antonin Scalia’s death?
That is a foolish decision.
My advice to both sides is to invoke the dirty “C” word. No, not that “C” word..,I’m referring to compromise.
If I’m Senator McConnell I simply tell Senator Chuck Schumer to consider his options carefully. The choice of Judge Gorsuch is not too extreme. It’s a more mainstream selection than we have seen in decades. If I’m Senator Schumer I save my bullets for the next fight that will change the complexion of the Court.
Also, Senator McConnell needs to consider a small fact. I have maintained from the start President Trump is not a Conservative. What if I’m right? Once Senator McConnell invokes the nuclear option and President Trump selects a Left leaning judge on the next round; the Democrats can turn the tables.
All the Democrats will need is 51 votes to break a filibuster and with so many Democrats in Republican clothing (called Moderate Republicans) lurking in the Senate the tables can turn quickly.
The Democrats claim President Trump is an illegitimate president because he did not win the popular vote – the Majority of voters. In this instance, they claim majority should rule. Well, the majority of the Senate (52 republicans) wants Judge Gorsuch. Shouldn’t majority rule now?
In my view, no. We have an Electoral College for a reason just like we have a filibuster for a reason. In normal times those rules and precedents should win the day. Unfortunately, in today’s vitriol environment it seems Senator McConnell will have no choice but to go nuclear.
I think Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh, of Kansas, wrote it best: “While everyone clamors for the justice they seek/The world is corrupted and the strong take the weak”
Right now, the Republicans are the strong and the Democrats are the weak. If the Senators care about the country they will figure out a way to work together and with President Trump. Since we know they only care about themselves perhaps someone should tell them self-preservation relies on working together.
If Senator McConnell goes nuclear the Republicans will get Judge Gorsuch and every other future judge appointed until they are out of power. Then it will be the Democrats turn when they are in power.
Is that the price we want to pay to get our way?