Should Democrats Spend Political Capital on Trump’s Supreme Court Pick?

Rick Pluta/MPRN

President Donald Trump has announced his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died one year ago this month.

Trump’s pick is federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch.

It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives,” said Gorsuch during his nomination announcement in the White House on Monday night. 


A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers, rather than those the law demands.”

Many court-watchers say Gorsuch and Scalia are very similar in their legal style. They’re both conservative, both well-respected jurists, and both known for their thoughtfulness and wit — especially in crafting written opinions.

Although Gorsuch looks like a great pick on paper for a Republican president, how will Democrats in the Senate react given this almost year-long obstruction to President Obama’s choice to fill the same vacancy?

For almost 300 days, Republicans refused to even hold a hearing to consider Judge Merrick Garland.

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Tim Alberta, political reporter at POLITICO Magazine for his take on the matter.

I sense that President Trump chose the path of least resistance here,” says Alberta. “Trump is probably daring Democrats to filibuster this and make [Republicans] invoke the nuclear option, which I think that most Senate Democrats do not ultimately want to do…Democrats realize that Trump could have nominated someone who would present significantly more problems for them.”

Still, how will Democrats move forward considering President Obama wasn’t afforded by Republicans in the Senate to fill the Supreme Court vacancy during his term?

What we’re witnessing now is sort of a downward spiral of the upper chamber of the world’s greatest deliberative body as it’s known,” says Alberta. “On the one hand, if they choose to filibuster Neil Gorsuch knowing that they’re not going to be successful anyway… they view not a ton of upside there necessarily, except [on the other hand] that it’s going to kind of throw a bone to the Democratic base and keep some of these people happy.”

Many Democratic senators are up for re-election in their home states in two years, some in vulnerable “red” states.

There’s really no great option for Senate Democrats at this point,” says Alberta.

To hear more from Alberta on Detroit Today with host Stephen Henderson, click on the audio player above

Image credit: Ian McWilliams (Supermac 1961 - FLICKR/Creative Commons)

About the Author

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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