Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gorsuch Deserves Full U.S. Senate Review

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gorsuch Deserves Full U.S. Senate Review

Article excerpt

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died Feb. 13, 2016. In normal times, the president would have nominated a new justice and that nominee would have received confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate, followed by an up or down vote. These are not normal times.

President Barack Obama nominated U.S. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland in March. Republicans controlling the Senate vowed not to give Garland a hearing, claiming "the people" should decide who the next justice would be and that decision would be made on Election Day. It was a false argument, one we decried as bogus. But Republicans gambled they would retain control of the Senate and capture the White House in November. They did.

So it comes as no surprise that a Republican president who campaigned that he would nominate a justice in the image of Scalia if elected did exactly that on Tuesday. President Donald Trump chose Neil Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge, to replace Scalia. Democratic opposition has been predictable. Trump's reaction has been as well - he is encouraging Republicans to "go nuclear" if needed to ensure Gorsuch is approved.

"Going nuclear" would mean reducing the number of votes needed for Senate confirmation of a Supreme Court justice from 60 to 51. Neither Republicans nor Democrats should be in a hurry to lower the standard for confirmation to the highest court in the nation.

Gorsuch's legal pedigree is impressive. Columbia. Harvard. He clerked for two Supreme Court justices, including sitting Justice Anthony Kennedy, who at age 80 could retire during Trump's term. On paper, Gorsuch fits the mold cast for a potential Supreme Court jurist. Like Garland, he deserves a hearing and a vote in the Senate. Democrats would be foolish to do anything less.

There is no political gain in obstructing the nomination process just because Republicans did it last year. …

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