Another one week delay on the Gorsuch vote

There’s an understandable sense of annoyance in conservative circles over the frequently overheated confirmation process for Judge Neil Gorsuch and that’s been ramped up a couple of degrees by the news that the Democrats have inserted another one week “pause” in the process. Before Gorsuch’s nomination can even make it out of committee it will have to wait for the one week delay. But still, all things considered, these nominations always take a while and we’re not even close to breaking any records for getting one done. (Fox News)

Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee on Monday asked for and were granted a one-week delay on a vote to approve sending the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Senate floor.

The 20-member committee had scheduled a noon business meeting to vote on whether to favorably send the nomination, but rules allow any senator to ask for a one-week delay.

Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, announced a vote on President Trump’s nominee will now happen April 3 at 10 a.m.

The full Senate is then expected to immediately take up whether to make Gorsuch the 113th Supreme Court Justice. By Fox News’ count, at least 15 Democrats and Independents have publicly announced their opposition to Gorsuch.

The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee don’t even have to provide a reason at this point and they obviously didn’t. But if we got the chance to chat with any of them I’d dearly love to hear their explanation for what continues to give them pause. I sat through a fair bit of those hearings and saw the frequently bombastic and disrespectful questions put forward by Al Franken, among others. But no matter how hard they tried to drag Gorsuch into some sort of trap, he always seemed to maintain his composure and provide solid answers to the best of his ability. Did they turn up anything to actually complain about? CNN has a piece out this morning which attempts to explain why Democrats are “nervous” about Gorsuch, but it doesn’t produce much in the way of disqualifying factors.

To be sure, the 49-year-old federal appellate judge is not the first Supreme Court nominee to keep his views close to the vest, but he did it to a greater extent.

“What worries me,” said the committee’s ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, of California, “is that you have been very much able to avoid specificity like no one I have ever seen before.”…

Two of his court opinions drew particular Senate scrutiny. In one, Gorsuch ruled against a truck driver whose trailer broke down in subzero temperatures. The brakes had frozen, and after becoming numb in the cold (the heat was not working in the cab), the driver unhitched the rig and temporarily drove away. His employer fired him for leaving the trailer…

Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota mocked the result as “absurd” and pressed Gorsuch about what he would have done under the circumstances.

“Senator, I don’t know,” Gorsuch said. “I wasn’t in the man’s shoes.”

So Feinstein had “concerns” over the fact that Gorsuch wouldn’t make predictions about how he would vote in hypothetical cases which are not yet before the court. No judge in their right mind would do that. And Al Franken (!) wanted to badger him about the “frozen trucker” case, apparently so he could call the nominee “absurd” in the middle of his confirmation hearing. Is that the best they’ve got?

If they can’t find eight Democrats to vote in favor of Gorsuch I predict that it’s going to trigger something far more disturbing than the nuclear option. (Which will be coming along shortly in that event, I can assure you.) The qualifications of this judge are so far beyond question and his handling of the confirmation hearings so professional that the actual absurdity (to borrow Al Franken’s word) is the idea that anyone would vote against him. He’s already drawn the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association. For forty or more of the Democrats to band together and try to stop this confirmation would be the last nail in the coffin of Senate comity and civility.

In the future, no matter how qualified a judge may be, if the party of the president who nominates them doesn’t have a majority in the Senate we will simply be left with an empty seat on the Supreme Court until that condition changes. It’s a terrible way to do business in the upper chamber, but I don’t see anything else for it. If Chuck Schumer and his friends can’t find a sufficient number of votes to put Gorsuch past 60 then there is absolutely zero reason for any Republican Senator to ever again cast a vote for a nominee put forward by a Democrat. They don’t even need to bother with the sham of these dog and pony show committee hearings. Just say that the vote is “no” and be done with it.