I have a pretty #resist mindset, but I’d like to see Gorsuch get a hearing. Here’s why.
First, I’ll stipulate that the stonewalling of Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, a qualified compromise pick, was damaging to the United States. Mitch McConnell hobbled one of the branches of government. And since Mitch McConnell’s behaviors through most of 2016 suggested he didn’t think Trump would or should win (meaning a Hillary pick) that dangerous obstruction reads like spite and egotism. Vandalous.
However, that wasn’t a decision of the Trump administration. There wasn’t a Trump administration.
I don’t know yet whether I like or dislike Gorsuch. That’s something I’d find out at the hearing. What I do know is that Trump picked him off a list prepped by Republican leadership, and he was nowhere near the scariest person on that list. PLUS Trump brought in a “maybe” of his own to consider, Hardiman (a colleague of Trump’s sister), who is thoroughly moderate. This looks to me like one of the most reasonable good governance attempts Trump has made since his acceptance speech.
Maybe I find out something awful later. I don’t know. Right now, I look at what has been written about Gorsuch, and although there’s a lot of distance between me and him, it still seems like he’s more on my side than Bannon’s side. He has a good record on freedom of religion (not just in favor of Christians – incidentally he’s Episcopalian, one of the most liberal branches of U.S. protestantism) and batting back police and surveillance overreach. He doesn’t believe in an activist court, but he doesn’t believe in an activist executive branch either. He believes in getting stuff done through legislation. That’s hard in the current environment, but it’s not wrong. (Remember how I’m an anti-monarchist? When judges and presidents call the shots, freedoms are built on sand and can be easily knocked down by the next guy in line, as we are seeing.)
There is no chance a Republican administration is going to pick someone who doesn’t make me nervous about reproductive rights. Gorsuch has written extensively about euthanasia and abortion, but so far what I’ve read from him on the subject (not a lot, there are only so many hours in the day) is basically: this is hard and morally complicated and rests on things that can’t be measured or assigned a number value. Thus it’s difficult to write laws that preserve patient autonomy while minimizing unnecessary killing. Which…is true?
I can understand why dems might want to go into the revenge business right now, partly because any time you get a chance to act like Inigo Montoya, it’s appealing. For myself, it seems like denying a hearing for Gorsuch doesn’t hurt the villain in this saga (McConnell) and potentially empowers the villain in the wings (Bannon). I’m not saying vote for him. I’m saying hear him out.
And, lest you forget, the reason I’m mad at McConnell is for hobbling the Supreme Court. I don’t like any strategy that doesn’t offer a path toward filling that seat. If we’re not willing to give anyone a congressional hearing, who and how are questions I need answered.
PS Not only do I doubt we’ll get a better offer; I’m really really dubious we’d actually be able to block him, so I’d rather not radicalize him with a super nasty confirmation process. He’ll be in there for decades. It’d be nice if we nudged him toward Roberts instead of Thomas.
Kate says: Abortion isn’t ‘unnecessary killing’. just, it makes a difference if people think that. if people think that the human being with the uterus is less important than the collection of cells accumulating in said human.
Romie: If you have a brilliant plan to get a Republican supreme court nominee who is going to support every form of abortion in every situation, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, I’m going feel some relief that somebody at least acknowledges that patient rights need to be included in consideration and lawmakers should be careful in what they legislate.
U.S. law is pretty clear about there being a difference between a clump of cells at the beginning of a pregnancy (human tissue, not a human) and for instance a third trimester situation. It’s as false to pretend an eight-month pregnancy is a zygote as it is to pretend a zygote is an eight-month pregnancy. It is in line with current law to refer to some abortions in this way, and also in line with how women who get late-term abortions refer to their lost babies.
I am an intelligent woman who has the ability to say I should be able to control my own body (and defend myself against risks to my life and liberty) without having to pretend all abortions are just a clump of cells. My right to self defense doesn’t depend on the threat being inhuman.