If President Donald Trump is a budding authoritarian, as his critics allege, one of the safeguards is Judge Neil Gorsuch.
For all that Trump has flouted norms and gotten off to an at times amateurish start in the White House, his pick of Gorsuch was extremely normal and highly professional. The Gorsuch nomination is exactly what everyone should want from a President Trump, especially those who most fear and loathe him. Yet Trump’s fiercest opponents began denouncing Gorsuch in all the usual terms before Trump had even finished announcing him.
This is the dilemma for Democrats: Either Donald Trump is a threat to the republic because he doesn’t appreciate the Constitution and is bound to violate it with excessive assertions of executive power, or Neil Gorsuch is a threat to the republic because he has an overly punctilious view of the Constitution that entails, among other things, a dim view of executive overreach. Both can’t be true.