Column: Neil Gorsuch confirmed by the Senate after GOP uses nuclear option

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Senator Claire McCaskill/Flickr | (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Judge Neil Gorsuch meets U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill on Feb. 8. The Senate confirmed Judge Gorsuch to serve in the Supreme Court on April 7. 

After an official vote from the senate, Neil Gorsuch will be taking Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat. Considering the talk of Russian connections amongst the other picks made by Donald Trump, most people would be quite terrified. Trump’s Supreme Court nomination, however, seems to be a lesser evil by contrast.

During Trump’s candidacy, Gorsuch was named in Trump’s short list of 21 judges he would consider for Supreme Court nomination.

George W. Bush appointed Gorsuch to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in 2006. Gorsuch, judging by his record, seems to be your standard Republican. Not too evil, but evil and inconsistent enough to be a strong supporter of the death penalty and opponent of assisted suicide.  

His stance on assisted suicide can be found in his book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, which is surrounded in controversy due to plagiarism (yep, that thing that can land you in the dean’s office can land you in a Supreme Court nomination).

Other than Gorsuch’s political philosophy, historically seems inclined to lean in favor of corporations rather than with individuals in his past judicial rulings. This can raise quite an alarm due to Trump’s corporate background and his obvious kickbacks to corporations during his presidency so far.

Uncertainty on Gorsuch’s position regarding abortion is the center of attention to many pro-choice activists. Trump, in his campaign, vowed to appoint a judge with pro-life background, who would overturn Roe v. Wade. 

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, asked Gorsuch what he would do if Trump were to ask him to overturn Roe v. Wade. Gorsuch simply stated “No ... I would have walked out the door, that’s not what judges do.” 

Related: Senate confirmation hearings as serious as ever

When Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, asked Gorsuch to explain his stance, Gorsuch responded, “Part of the value of precedent -- and it has lots of value, it has value in and of itself, because it is our history and our history has value intrinsically. But it also has an instrumental value in this sense: it adds to the determinacy of law”. 

Gorsuch, who voted to defund Planned Parenthood, has taken a stance that really was not suspected. Statements such as this must leave people who are strongly pro-choice intrigued about how Gorsuch will be behaving in related cases. 

The nomination went to the floor of the GOP majority senate, where only 60 votes were needed to officially nominate Gorsuch. 

When Democrats took their opportunity to filibuster and block the nomination from going through, the GOP decided to take the “nuclear option”. 

This was an expected counter to the filibuster because Trump had said to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, “if we end up with that gridlock I would say if you can, Mitch, go nuclear.” 

The nuclear option lowers the number of votes needed to end the filibuster and fast track to nomination. The number of votes needed then drops down to 51. Doing this meant that not every one of the 52 Republican senators would have had to vote in favor of the Supreme Court nominee. 

51 out of 52 Republican votes sounds like a sure thing. The ability for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to point out democrats had chosen the very same option under Obama prevented any controversy from following the vote. 

The nuclear option helped Gorsuch in the voting process as he had a 54-45 vote in favor of him, leaving him 6 votes shy of the 60 votes needed. From this vote, had it not been for the nuclear option, Gorsuch would have been rejected from the court and Donald Trump would have had to find a more moderate conservative nomination.

Trump critics from the right, including Ted Cruz, have already expressed liking to the recently nominated Gorsuch. Even those with more libertarian values, such as Rand Paul, have spoken highly of Gorsuch, even leading him to defend Donald Trump and his use of Twitter saying “The Constitution does not forbid the president from having opinions about the court, I do believe very, very strongly in the separation of powers. I don’t think that includes one branch not criticizing the other.” 

Related: Jeff Sessions is the new Russian connection

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley is already planning on having the confirmation hearing, to be held in six weeks. In this waiting period Gorsuch will have meetings with Vice President Mike Pence, McConnell and other Republican Senators.

We must accept this occurrence and move on to deal with other issues, such as healthcare and immigration. Gorsuch isn’t too bad when we take a look at other republicans. He merely fills a seat that was held by a republican in the first place. Who knows, he can very well prove to be a fair Justice of the Supreme Court. After an official vote from the senate, Neil Gorsuch will be taking Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat. Considering the talk of Russian connections amongst the other picks made by Donald Trump, most people would be quite terrified. Trump’s Supreme Court nomination, however, seems to be a lesser evil by contrast.

During Trump’s candidacy, Gorsuch was named in Trump’s short list of 21 judges he would consider for Supreme Court nomination.

George W. Bush appointed Gorsuch to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in 2006. Gorsuch, judging by his record, seems to be your standard Republican. Not too evil, but evil and inconsistent enough to be a strong supporter of the death penalty and opponent of assisted suicide.  

His stance on assisted suicide can be found in his book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, which is surrounded in controversy due to plagiarism (yep, that thing that can land you in the dean’s office can land you in a Supreme Court nomination).

Other than Gorsuch’s political philosophy, historically seems inclined to lean in favor of corporations rather than with individuals in his past judicial rulings. This can raise quite an alarm due to Trump’s corporate background and his obvious kickbacks to corporations during his presidency so far.

Uncertainty on Gorsuch’s position regarding abortion is the center of attention to many pro-choice activists. Trump, in his campaign, vowed to appoint a judge with pro-life background, who would overturn Roe v. Wade. 

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, asked Gorsuch what he would do if Trump were to ask him to overturn Roe v. Wade. Gorsuch simply stated “No ... I would have walked out the door, that’s not what judges do.” 

When Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, asked Gorsuch to explain his stance, Gorsuch responded, “Part of the value of precedent -- and it has lots of value, it has value in and of itself, because it is our history and our history has value intrinsically. But it also has an instrumental value in this sense: it adds to the determinacy of law”. 

Gorsuch, who voted to defund Planned Parenthood, has taken a stance that really was not suspected. Statements such as this must leave people who are strongly pro-choice intrigued about how Gorsuch will be behaving in related cases. 

The nomination went to the floor of the GOP majority senate, where only 60 votes were needed to officially nominate Gorsuch. 

When Democrats took their opportunity to filibuster and block the nomination from going through, the GOP decided to take the “nuclear option”. 

This was an expected counter to the filibuster because Trump had said to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, “if we end up with that gridlock I would say if you can, Mitch, go nuclear.” 

The nuclear option lowers the number of votes needed to end the filibuster and fast track to nomination. The number of votes needed then drops down to 51. Doing this meant that not every one of the 52 Republican senators would have had to vote in favor of the Supreme Court nominee. 

51 out of 52 Republican votes sounds like a sure thing. The ability for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to point out democrats had chosen the very same option under Obama prevented any controversy from following the vote. 

The nuclear option helped Gorsuch in the voting process as he had a 54-45 vote in favor of him, leaving him 6 votes shy of the 60 votes needed. From this vote, had it not been for the nuclear option, Gorsuch would have been rejected from the court and Donald Trump would have had to find a more moderate conservative nomination.

Trump critics from the right, including Ted Cruz, have already expressed liking to the recently nominated Gorsuch. Even those with more libertarian values, such as Rand Paul, have spoken highly of Gorsuch, even leading him to defend Donald Trump and his use of Twitter saying “The Constitution does not forbid the president from having opinions about the court, I do believe very, very strongly in the separation of powers. I don’t think that includes one branch not criticizing the other.” 

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley is already planning on having the confirmation hearing, to be held in six weeks. In this waiting period Gorsuch will have meetings with Vice President Mike Pence, McConnell and other Republican Senators.

We must accept this occurrence and move on to deal with other issues, such as healthcare and immigration. Gorsuch isn’t too bad when we take a look at other republicans. He merely fills a seat that was held by a republican in the first place. Who knows, he can very well prove to be a fair Justice of the Supreme Court.


Follow Chuck Valadez on Twitter



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