Should Democrats block Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court?
via AP

Should Democrats block Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court?

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Democrats still aren't sure if they'll confirm judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. One faction of the Democrats say Republicans cannot get away with stealing a Supreme Court seat—Gorsuch must be blocked on principle. Others say Gorsuch is a good candidate and should not be blocked. The Supreme Court needs nine members to function, and the political consequences of blocking Gorsuch might not be worth it. What do you think?

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Liberals are pushing Democrats to block Gorsuch's nomination because of his extremely conservative views. He might be a nice guy but his views could put many Americans at risk. His history shows his values align with corporations. Liberals worry he'll give corporate interests a free pass and fuel inequality. 

The groups argue that Gorsuch, who currently sits on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is “as extreme a nominee as we’ve seen in generations” and would be the “deciding vote” on Trump’s “most discriminatory, corporate-friendly policies.” They cite voting rights issues and Trump's executive order to bar immigrants from six Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States.
“Donald Trump promised to nominate justices to overturn Roe v. Wade and Judge Gorsuch appears to fit that bill,” the statement continued.

And politically, it could benefit Democrats to block Gorsuch's nomination.

Some embrace the tactics advocated by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) to wage a filibuster and bait Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell into trying to change Senate rules. The gamble would be that the Kentucky Republican doesn’t have the votes — or, if he does, that Democrats will win the next presidential election in 2020 and ultimately benefit from the new rules.

If Democrats don't confirm Gorsuch, it may lead Republicans to change the rules and make it so a simple 51 vote majority sufficient to confirm Supreme Court nominees. Then, it won't matter what Democrats think.  

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who’s in the same political predicament as Heitkamp, added that he is “truly and totally concerned” that a Democratic filibuster would prompt Republicans to do away with the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees. He is the only remaining Democrat to vote against the party’s rules change in 2013.

Others say it's more important to ensure the Supreme Court is functional. Republicans may have broken the rules but that does not justify perpetuating dysfunction to score political points. It's about picking and choosing which battles are worth fighting. This is not one of them.

“You need nine members. It doesn’t work with eight,” Manchin said of the Supreme Court and Democrats who would deny Gorsuch a seat. “I understand the Democrats being so upset. I understand it. … That doesn’t make it right to go along with eight. If you think [Republicans] are going to give you a center-left [judge], they’re not! Come to grips with it.”

Republicans say Gorsuch is a great candidate and fully expect he will be confirmed by the April recess. 

“I think the president, to his credit, and his team found the single most outstanding circuit judge in America. It is very, very hard to argue against Gorsuch,” McConnell said, later crediting Trump for not “blow[ing] this opportunity” with his selection of Gorsuch.
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