The Senate hearings on Judge Neil M. Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court begin today, setting the stage for one of the most contested judicial confirmations in years.
Democrats, still angry that Republicans refused to allow former President Barack Obama to fill the seat over the last 11 months of his presidency, have vowed tough questioning of Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Donald Trump on Jan. 31, the New York Times wrote in February.
But Gorsuch has strong legal credentials and deserves to be confirmed. He is the kind of pick that any president should make, Democrat or Republican, because of his proven qualities necessary for any justice: a strong understanding and respect for the nation’s founding document, the U.S. Constitution.
At 49, Gorsuch is the youngest Supreme Court nominee in a quarter century. He has distinguished himself on the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals with his clear, colloquial writing, advocacy for court review of government regulations, defense of religious freedom and skepticism toward law enforcement, the Associated Press reported at the time of his nomination.
Democrats in the U.S. Senate, the body constitutionally called to provide for the “advice and consent” of the president’s nominee to the court, may balk, not because of Gorsuch’s credentials so much as much as from anger that the Republican-controlled Senate did not hold confirmation hearings on Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Obama nominated Garland to replace Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.
But that inaction was part the advice and consent role of the Senate. Garland was a controversial pick, considering his propensity to rule in favor of government over small business in his current role with the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. circuit.
Yet Senate Democrats should recall that Gorsuch has come before them in the past. He was unanimously confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in 2006.
“He has a strong record of putting the rule of law first and carefully considering the text and history of the Constitution,” wrote U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
Note those words: “a strong record of putting the rule of law first and carefully considering the text and history of the Constitution.”
That is the reason that Neil Gorsuch should be confirmed by the Senate, and should be a standing requirement for any justice to serve on the nation’s highest court.