By Nick Riebel || Staff Writer
In what should be a surprise to no one, Senate Republicans have done the unprecedented and used the “nuclear option” to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. For those readers not familiar with this legislative maneuver by now, it means, in effect, that Neil Gorsuch’s theft of Merrick Garland’s seat on the Supreme Court will be complete, and that the former will soon be confirmed, as Donald Trump’s first major judicial victory. A victory, unfortunately, unlikely to be his last.
With Gorsuch’s nomination and confirmation, we will likely see the Supreme Court, which is right now relatively divided with only a modest conservative tilt, will have a right-wing majority for at least a generation. As I have written earlier, the Citizens United decision is here to stay, cementing Wall Street and special interest control over our politics. Roe v. Wade is extremely likely to be overturned in the near future. The question over that will be whether it will truly be left up to the states to decide on the status of abortion within their jurisdictions, or whether a socially conservative Court will ban it everywhere. A similar situation could occur with gay marriage (marriage equality, if you prefer). If Overgefell v. Hodges is ruled as un-Constitutional, we could potentially see it rolled back in the states as well, even if it is supported by the people there. Numerous Supreme Court decisions, approved by Justice Gorsuch, will also likely adversely affect our environment, foreign policy, infrastructure, education, and economy.
One may argue that the Court would not be that radical with Neil Gorsuch on it. After all, Gorsuch seems like such a nice, charming guy. Never mind that he might actually be to the right of Antonin Scalia, even more extreme than the deceased originalist judge (this article being quite illuminating on that front): https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/31/us/politics/neil-gorsuch-supreme-court-nominee.html. The truth is that Gorsuch will be a radically conservative justice, who will move the Supreme Court as far to the right as he possibly can. This conservative Court is one which has passed an absolutely absurd decision in the Citizens United case, and will do more to make our lives hell. And please, after you have thought about the ramifications of an unrestrained conservative Court, on all the progress we have tried to make over the years, particularly on civil rights, why we would want someone who would reverse it with a smile— a polite, friendly smile, mind you, but it doesn’t matter to me one’s demeanor as they slide the knife into my back.
And no, Justice Roberts’ one vote to save Obamacare does not mean that occasionally the Court will make reasonably moderate decisions. John Roberts only voted to save Obamacare, in that one instance, so as to not make the Court look overtly partisan, causing damage to its prestige and legitimacy, and consequently, to Roberts’ own personal power and legacy. And when Justices Breyer and Ginsburg (not to mention Kennedy) pass away or retire, Trump will make the Court perhaps permanently conservative, for many decades. Think of it— as America becomes more left-wing and progressive, the Supreme Court will become increasingly right-wing and regressive. (At such a point, I would hope, the Court could safely be ignored by a reasonable, democratic people, although I highly doubt it).
I must ask: why would any Democrats in their right mind, I ask, not want to oppose Gorsuch? Trump’s already deeply unpopular, under federal investigation, generally is not perceived as being trustworthy or honest, and didn’t even win the popular vote for the presidency. Why should we trust his puppet, Gorsuch, on the highest court in the land? Democrats, please, I implore you— the mature, “adult in the room” strategy hasn’t worked very well for us over the Obama years. Let us remember the definition of insanity, and do something different. Even if we can’t keep Gorsuch off the Court, we may be able to remove him later, depending on the results of the investigation into Trump, and how far the web of corruption expands: it is possible it expands it expands to Gorsuch. Let us not forget what we are fighting.
The Republicans’ recent health care fiasco, if nothing else, should have told us that the Grand Old Party shouldn’t be trusted anywhere near the capital, let alone actually governing. Yet, despite all of the analysis of why they couldn’t pass healthcare reform, something important, I thought, was missing. The “secret” elephant in the room, that a “liberal” media hides from us, so as to desperately try to portray themselves as truly neutral. This “secret elephant” that any slightly attentive person can observe is that modern, Republican conservatism has simply failed. Reagan’s policies do not work, and never have. The bill didn’t work, not because of competing factions within the Republican party necessarily, than the fact that their bill simply didn’t work— because it couldn’t— as their ideology does not work in the real world. Indeed, it could be argued that conservatism, or at least right-wing ideology, in general fails. The evidence is overwhelming; there is a reason that human society in general has become more progressive over the centuries, and that those who have opposed progress have tended to be on the “right’ side of history.
Democrats, we as a party must fight the other side which cheats (stole a Supreme Court seat), breaks its own rules (on using the “nuclear option” to illegitimately move their judge onto the Court), is openly corrupt (just look at Trump’s conflicts of interests, if nothing else), may actually be treasonous (in favor of Russia, of all countries, Obama is right— Reagan would certainly be rolling in his grave), and, above all: simply is incompetent because their leaders don’t know what they’re doing, their ideology doesn’t work, and they can’t win without bending every conceivable rule and circumstance to their advantage (for example: the House would likely be controlled by Democrats if Republicans did not viciously gerrymander most of it).
If we preemptively surrender, as we have become far too accustomed to doing, over anything, we will not only hand Trump a second term, and the Republicans the keys to perpetual power, but our only thought will be— “well, we should move further to the right and be more bipartisan next time; I suppose Senator Manchin (for example) as our candidate for president was simply too liberal.”
Let’s fight hard, let’s fight smart, but above all, let’s actually fight the other side for once! We have to do it for our nation, the world, and for ourselves, friends, and families. Otherwise, why even have a Democratic party? We might as well just give up completely. I certainly hope it doesn’t come to that, but I still fear that it may.
And if we cannot even stand up to that irredeemable person, Trump, and his administration which proves to be simultaneously both inept and evil, then we don’t deserve to be in government at all.
Senior Nick Riebel is a staff writer. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.