As expected, #The Senate Democrats managed to maintain a filibuster to block the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch as a #Supreme Court Justice. Just as expected, Senate #republicans voted to remove the requirement of 60 votes to confirm a justice, setting the stage for a vote the next day to send Gorsuch to the high court. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s brazen act of partisan defiance was brushed aside with contempt.
No longer will Supreme Court nominees be blocked by a minority.
The way has been opened for President Donald Trump to replace one possibly two of the liberal justices with conservatives, shifting the ideological balance of the court for at least a generation, Schumer has given his liberal base the gesture that it demanded in return for ultimately ceding control of the Supreme Court. He has lost the battle and the war. What he could possibly do now besides complain to the media about how unfair everything is cannot be determined.
It is possible that Schumer thought that the Republicans would cave at the last moment. He certainly talked as if he thought so, declaring that the only way to avoid a filibuster would be for the Republicans allow him veto power over Supreme Court nominees. If he thought that this was a realistic proposal, Schumer now is experiencing disappointment. Unexpected to him, the Republicans showed a little bit of spine, even the moderates who could always be counted on to cave.
Schumer has also accomplished something else that may have long-term consequences. He has handed the Republicans a victory and has shown them that they can get victories if they stand fast.
One of the many complaints that conservative voters have is that GOP office holders always cave in to Democrats. This judgment is a little unfair but happens often enough to have some validity as well. In any case, Republicans have stood to their guns, have won a victory, and the world did not end. This might get to be a habit and could have far reaching consequences for legislation going forward,
If Senate Republicans can take the lesson of the Gorsuch nomination fight to other battles, such as over Obamacare and tax reform, they might go far indeed. In the meantime, the Senate Democrats now have to drink the bitter gall and wormwood of defeat. They did everything they could to stop Neil Gorsuch, and they failed. Robert Bork has been avenged, and nothing may be the same again.