On criminal justice and executive branch power, Neil Gorsuch may be more "liberal" than Merrick Garland

Senate Democrats are threatening to mount a filibuster this week against Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Why? Among other reasons, the Democrats say they want some payback for last year’s Republican stonewalling of Obama Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland, whose SCOTUS nomination languished for months without getting so much as a hearing from the Senate Judiciary Committee. As Democratic Sen. Thomas Carper (Del.) recently told The Washington Post, “I have a very hard time getting over what was done to Merrick Garland. That’s a wrong that should be righted.”

While the Democrats are busy trying to right that wrong this week they might also take a moment to consider whether Merrick Garland was really all that preferable to Neil Gorsuch on certain issues that Democrats claim to care deeply about. After all, remember that when President Obama first nominated Garland, many liberal activists spoke out in protest and disappointment. And it was no wonder why. As I noted at the time, “while Garland is undoubtedly a legal liberal, his record reflects a version of legal liberalism that tends to line up in favor of broad judicial deference to law enforcement and wartime executive power.”