So the dirty deed has been done. The gray cardinal, Mitch Mcconnell has eliminated the Senate rule that empowers senators to filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. With that, a partisan majority vote confirmed Gorsuch.
Before we focus on Gorsuch, we might note that McConnelll relied on that same filibuster repeatedly during the Obama administration to force the Senate to muster 60 votes for even mundane things to happ+en. Now, in a matter that is not mundane, McConnell sees no value in the filibuster rule. That tells you a lot about Mitch McConnell. He would surgically remove and slurp up his own guts if he thought it was needed to enhance his power. And he calculates now that getting Gorsuch on the Court will achieve that.
So Gorsuch is in. What does it mean? We do not know precisely how Gorsuch will rule on any given case. We do know that he has a track record — an ideological bent —. that will likely be continued. And that ideological bent surprise, surprise — matches the conservative thinking on lots of issues. So we can expect that the conservative coalition on the bench will retain its coherence.
That might prove to be politically useful for the conservative movement. Bravo! Let’s allow guns to be sold to infants and force women to have lobotomies if they want an abortion! Let’s insist on states rights whenever states rights defeat a progressive policy! Let’s let religious fanatics determine when sensible rules about tolerance might make us a more inclusive culture!
There is one more thing. I will never be able to look at any image of Neil Gorsuch sitting on the bench without remembering that he sits in a stolen seat. He should not be there. And that does not matter how many years he sits on the court.
That is not a nice thing to say, And I have I have worse to add to it. The credibility of the court has been irrevocably diminished. It is no longer a place that transcends politics. It is politics by other means. Winner takes all has become the principle that governs political calculation in law too. And that political calculation is detached from what the majority thinks is normal. That is a bad sign for American.