After refusing to even consider President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee for over a year and vowing to deny Hillary’s nominations had she been elected, now Republicans are rushing to confirm President Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch. So anxious to achieve it, they are even threatening to use the nuclear option, better known as doing away with the filibuster.
So why all of a sudden the big rush? It’s the same reason Republicans like Devin Nunes and Jason Chaffetz are so reluctant to really investigate Trump’s relationship with Russia – party first. They want to get Trump’s guy in before Trump is forced to leave.
Just think for a moment about the possible consequences if it should be proven that Trump was found guilty of collusion with Russia in influencing the tight 2016 election with fake news and hacked emails. Assuming such a revelation were to come out, it could render the 2016 election illegitimate. That might lead to our nation’s first re-do Presidential election. All of Trump’s executive orders and Supreme Court appointees would run the risk of be considered void. After all, if Trump’s presidency is illegitimate it would follow that any Supreme Court appointee nominated by him would be an illegitimate as well.
The decision to revoke Gorsuch’s confirmation would create the mother of all constitutional crises as the case would ultimately go before the Supreme Court. Gorsuch would have to recuse himself, leaving an eight person Supreme Court to decide. They would most likely be split, leaving the decision to a lower court and rendering the Supreme Court ineffectual.
But all that can be avoided if we just wait and see how things play out with the Russiagate investigations before we rush a Supreme Court confirmation. Republicans have certainly not had a problem with eight justices when they thought Hillary was going to nominate a ninth. Senator John McCain said, “I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up.” Senator Richard Burr, said “If Hillary Clinton becomes president, I am going to do everything I can do to make sure four years from now, we still got an opening on the Supreme Court.” ”Ted Cruz said,“There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices. I would note, just recently, that Justice Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job.” Michael Stokes Paulsen wrote in National Review that the Court should be reduced from nine to six justices.
Judging by the actions (or lack of) by Republicans in charge of investigating Trump, too many of them prefer a conservative President seemingly under the thumb of of a foreign adversary than a Democratic one. The question is, “Would Republicans prefer an illegitimately appointed conservative Supreme Court justice on the bench rather than a more liberal one?”
I guess we will find out very soon. — Michael D’Antuono