President Donald Trump’s choice of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court was widely praised by conservatives. Gorsuch is seen as a moderate conservative, though there are some questions about his views on abortion rights. But Democrats seem conflicted about how to approach his nomination.
Many Democrats see a major hypocrisy in Republicans asking that Gorsuch be treated like any other Supreme Court nominee. Senate Republicans refused any hearings on Judge Merrick Garland, who was nominated by President Barack Obama following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The GOP’s decision to deny Garland any hearings was an unprecedented act of obstructionism.
Now, Democrats are exploring ways to delay or prevent Gorsuch’s nomination to the court and they are apparently considering filibustering on the Senate floor. Many Democrats and liberal voters see the SCOTUS seat as ‘stolen’ from President Obama and believe any Trump nomination should be resisted.
However, if a Democrat decides to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination, Republicans have warned that they will consider the so-called ‘nuclear option.’ The Senate has previously considered abolishing the filibuster but there has never been a huge appetite for it. But the Trump administration has already seen unprecedented actions.
If Senate Republicans abolish the filibuster, they will change the nature of the Senate and US democracy irrevocably. The filibuster has been used to highlight intrusive government surveillance and to draw attention to other controversial policies, but it has also been abused by senators who oppose otherwise popular legislation.