The Supreme Court was one of the declared priorities of the Republican Party. The GOP had refused to consider President Barack Obama’s replacement for the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia in anticipation of a Republican President would nominate a conservative justice. Yesterday President Donald Trump and the Senate delivered on that promise.

Stolen seat

President #Donald Trump’s first nomination for the Supreme Court was always going to be a controversial choice. The Democratic Party considered the nomination a “theft” of the seat after the Republican Senators refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland with the ostensible excuse that the President was at the end of his term and that the incoming President should be the one to make the nomination.

The choice of Neil Gorsuch by the new Oval Office was the confirmation that the planning, at least by the Republican Party, was proceeding correctly. His previous experience on the bench indicated a nominee with all the conservative ideas that would ensure that the Supreme Court would act in a manner that Republicans would consider appropriate for their long term political agenda.


The result was a fiery confirmation hearing with the Democrats determined to make the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch as difficult as possible. The Democrats members always knew that they would have a hard battle, especially knowing that Vice President Mike Pence would have no hesitation in casting the deciding vote as he had already done for the confirmation of controversial Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education.

At the end of the hearings the Democrats had the numbers to ensure a filibuster to highlight their concerns on Gorsuch and to draw out the confirmation as long as possible. Despite Democrat Senator Jeff Merkly’s 15 hour speech between Tuesday and Wednesday this was not to be.

On Thursday the GOP Senate majority voted to effectively abolish the filibuster as a tactic in the Senate and to allow the confirmation of nominees to the Supreme Court by a simple majority.

It must be pointed out that the precedent for this was made by the Democrats when they reduced the requirements for the confirmation for nominees for other judicial positions in 2013.


The use of the so-called “nuclear option” highlights the high stakes being played in the Senate where the Republicans hold a single seat majority and undoubtedly this will cause problems for the Oval Office for future legislation.

At the same time Senators from both Parties have acknowledged that the current high pressure situation in the House cannot continue. The GOP and the Democratic Party must finally decide how they will work together in the future. This is already happening in the Senate Intelligence Committee where the Democrats and Republicans are handling its investigation into the allegations of Russian interference in the presidential election in a bipartisan manner.

This intention to try to find a better working solution may well be the catalyst for major changes to proposed legislation from the White House on controversial issues such as the proposed Mexican border wall and the proposed budget.

The only possible stumbling block may come from Senators, particularly on the side of the GOP, who will give preference to pure political philosophy rather than the practicalities of ensuring good government.

This sets the stage for some interesting political battles in the Senate in the future but the one person who will pay the ultimate price for this political struggle will be the man occupying the Oval Office thus further straining the rapport between President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.