With 18 months left in his term, then President Barack Obama nominated Marrick Gaarland to the Supreme Court, filling the vacancy after Justice Antoni Sacilla’s death. By all accounts, Judge Garland is not an ideologue, and has signed on to conservative opinions when he felt appropriate. Yes, one could certainly assume that Judge Garland is left of center politically, and yes, could have cited with left learning members of the court. Thus, Republicans in the Senate refused to have Garland sit for a hearing, and never gave Garland and up or down vote. Many on the right cited precedent, saying that no Supreme Court nomination has ever been voted on in the final year of a presidency.
While the precedent exists, the constitution does not give a time frame where a president can not nominate a justice to the court. Yet, Republicans refused to allow the Garland nomination to move forward. Now that the Republicans control the White House, will Democrats treat Neil Gorsuch in a similar fashion? Judge Gorsuch is certainly a conservative jurist, in the mold of Justice Sicilla, and is certainly well qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice. By all accounts, Gorsuch is a strict constitutionalist, and will not make law from the bench, which will be a welcome site to the conservative cause. However, one can certainly speculate rather or not the Democrats will put up a fight, simply out of spite, in an effort to get back at Republicans. Let us make it perfectly clear, not allowing a vote on Garland was wrong, and an affront to democracy, it is the Senate’s job to “advise and consent”, not block because they do not like the person in office. We hope that this nominee will receive a fair hearing, and will be seated on the court soon, unless something disqualifying is found. While, we hope that our politics can become less partisan, and more about the good of the nation, in today’s climate, we certainly can’t bet the house on it.