Proponents of the obstructionist strategy argue that the ends justify the means – that any tactic to thwart the other side is acceptable. They couldn’t be more wrong. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. Absolutism and extreme partisanship crowd out both compromise and fresh ideas. They also threaten the stability of our most vital democratic institutions: the judiciary, Congress and the presidency. Let’s consider each.
Republicans were wrong to stonewall Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. (Of course, Democrats had promised to use the tactic years earlier had a vacancy occurred under Republican presidents.) But the fact remains that the country needs a full complement of justices — not only to break ties on major issues, but also to prevent a breakdown of constitutional order.
By all objective accounts, including from the American Bar Association, Gorsuch is a highly qualified nominee. He is not, of course, the person Democrats would have selected. But Democrats had a chance to determine the court’s make-up by electing their presidential nominee, and they failed. As President Obama once said, “Elections have consequences.” One of them is that the president gets to nominate and appoint justices to the Supreme Court.