From Our Future
After a contentious start to Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination hearings, Senate Democrats are struggling with what the New York Times calls "two options: Get out of the way or get run over."
But Democrats have a third option, one that should attract moderate "centrists" as well as more liberal senators: fight.
Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, received some criticism for introducing Gorsuch to the Senate. Bennet's action was defensible: in normal times, it's Senate protocol for senators to introduce nominees from their home state. Colorado's other senator, Republican Cory Gardner, also introduced Gorsuch.
But these are not normal times, and Democrats need to recognize that. Donald Trump, and the Republican Party in general, have succeeded by ignoring "normal" behavior and the protocols of the past.
Nobody's suggesting that Democrats should behave like Republicans, but it's no longer "moderate" to pretend that the rules haven't changed. In today's world, a vote for Gorsuch is a vote for extremism over moderation.
Here are five reasons why all Democrats should vote against this nomination.
1. A vote for Gorsuch gives Trump a mandate
Trump adviser Roger Stone said it himself. "If Trump is going to be a transformational president, not a transitional president, he needs a supportive court."
But Trump does not have a mandate to transform the country the way the Supreme Court would with Gorsuch on the bench. Trump's Cabinet picks, along with his budget blueprint for 2018, have made it clear that he intends to govern from the far right. The blue-collar populism of the campaign has already faded.
As voters have come to know Trump the President, they have increasingly come to dislike him. Only 37 percent of voters approve of the way he's handling the job, according to the latest Gallup poll, while 58 percent of voters disapprove. As the Huffington Post notes, Barack Obama had a 60 percent approval rating at the same point in his presidency.
It may have been inelegant for the Huffington Post's headline to say that Trump's approval ratings are "in the toilet." Inelegant, but not inaccurate. A vote for Gorsuch is a vote to give Donald Trump the tools he needs to transform the nation in a way that very few people are going to like.
2. Gorsuch's judicial approach is not moderate
A number of attorneys who appear before the Supreme Court signed a letter last month calling Gorsuch "unfailingly polite." That's nice. But Gorsuch is no moderate, and some of his rulings have often been anything but kind.
There's a reason why Gorsuch was handpicked by two right-wing groups, the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation -- and it's not because he judges every case solely on its judicial merits. Sen. Patrick Leahy was right when he said today that Gorsuch had been "selected by interest groups." These groups chose Gorsuch because he shares their ideology, and because that ideology influences the way he decides cases.