A look back at the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as 113th justice of the Supreme Court

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. This ran April 7, 2017.

The Washington Post headline today was succinct and to the point: “Senate confirms Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court.”

But those seven words offered pro-lifers the assurance that pro-life President Donald Trump was serious about choosing someone in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia and a reminder that pro-life Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had vowed unequivocally that Judge Gorsuch would become Justice Gorsuch.

Securing kudos from the Post, however grudgingly, is like pulling teeth. But Ed O’Keefe and Robert Barnes conceded Gorsuch’s confirmation as the 113th Supreme Court justice was “a marquee accomplishment for President Trump” and a “big legislative win for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)” who displayed “unflinching discipline.”

But no Post story about the Trump administration would be complete without the usual loaded verbiage [“ram through”] and dismissive put downs [“Trump introduced Gorsuch to the country in a slickly produced prime time address from the White House”].

Not to be confused, of course, with that plain-spoken former President Obama who would never have been caught doing anything that smacked of slick. The blatant double-standard and tunnel vision from the publication that now tells us (without a hint of self-awareness) that “Democracy Dies in Darkness” is stunning.

But who cares? This is par for the course and the result is “Gorsuch is expected to be sworn-in in the coming days, allowing him to join the high court for the final weeks of its term, which ends in June.”

As NRLC explained elsewhere today, there were continued machinations by Senate Democrats this morning. Three Democrats joined 51 Republicans in voting to confirm the Denver-based judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

However, note,

all three of those senators voted a day earlier to preserve the 60-vote hurdle, even after seeing that to do so would prevent Gorsuch – and presumably, any other nominee not blessed by the abortion lobby and other left-wing activist groups – from being confirmed.

However the far most interesting Post story came late last night from David Weigel who was channeling grievances from pro-abortion Democrats (“With Gorsuch filibuster, Democrats look ahead to a ‘political’ Supreme Court”).

We’re told that “progressive groups and labor leaders” saw the decision of Republicans not to play dead while Democrats filibustered Gorsuch as a “power grab.” This, of course, was preposterous and believable only to those whose historical memory goes back no further than this morning.

National Right to Life Senior Policy Advisor Douglas Johnson explained what had really happened. “For decades, liberal senators and interest groups had attacked Republican judicial nominees with procedural and political weapons that Republicans were slow to match. This week, the Republicans took decisive action to restore parity to the judicial confirmation process, and we commend them for it.”

Then there is that remarkable last quote from a pro-abortion Democrat funneled through Weigel. It’s enough to give hypocrisy a bad name.

“Four years ago, Democrats, facing incredible, unprecedented obstructionism, decided to change the rules,” [Senator Bernie] Sanders said. “But with the Democrats in control, what they also said — I was in the room, and there was a debate — was no, not the Supreme Court. It’s so important that it does not become a place where you can just ram someone in.”

So, in this telling, when Senate Democrats, under the leadership of then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, decided to initiate what has come to be called the “nuclear option”– eliminating the 60-vote hurdle for all presidential nominations other than Supreme Court–they excluded Supreme Court nominations out of a sense of nobility and devotion to the sanctity of the High Court.

This is the kind of fairy tale you tell children. Note that neither Sanders nor Weigel mentioned what happened in 2016 when Democrats were convinced Hillary Clinton would be the next President.

Prominent Democrats, including Reid himself (in an interview with “Talking Points Memo”) and vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine, (as reported by the Huffington Post) explicitly said that Democrats would not hesitate to extend the simple-majority principle to nominations to the Supreme Court, if Republicans ever tried to filibuster the Supreme Court nominee of a Democratic president.

NRLC congratulates President Trump and Sen. McConnell for a job well done. As NRLC President Carol Tobias said today

“All too often, our efforts to protect unborn children and other vulnerable humans have been overridden by judges who believe they have a right to impose their own policy preferences. Judge Gorsuch appears to believe that judges are constrained to enforce the text and original intent of constitutional provisions, and on all other matters should defer to democratically elected lawmakers – this heartens us, and alarms those who have relied on activist judges to impose their radical pro-abortion policies.”