Lessons from the Gorsuch hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee held the confirmation hearing on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court last week. Democratic members distinguished themselves with the vacuity of their attacks on Gorsuch. The Washington Free Beacon performs a public service in compiling the video below; the video condenses the lowlights into a one-minute reel. Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken earn their pride of place here.

What is to be learned? Herewith a few observations.

1. Judge Gorsuch radiated intelligence and decency. It’s a powerful combination.

2. The Federalist Society has played a critical role in improving the quality of Supreme Court nominees by Republican presidents. Are you now or have you ever been a member? If not, you probably shouldn’t be under consideration for nomination by a Republican president.

3. Despite their high opinion of themselves and their condescension to the rest of us, the liberals toe a “progressive” line on the Constitution that is tired and empty. Who ya gonna believe, James Madison or Al Franken?

4. The “progressive” line has some difficulty withstanding scrutiny in open debate where the other side can make itself heard. The case for some form of originalism has itself made a lot of “progress” in a relatively short time. The Federalist Society has made a great contribution to bending the arc of history back in the right direction.

5. Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has declared a filibuster of Gorsuch. Either he wants to free up eight of his Democratic colleagues to vote for cloture or he is daring Republicans to extend the Reid rule killing the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.

6. The filibuster should be killed for Supreme Court nominees. I don’t think it is a matter of venerable Senate tradition. If it were, the Democrats would have killed Clarence Thomas’s nomination with it. As it is, they let his confirmation take place with 52 votes.

7. Has the filibuster ever been used to kill a Supreme Court nominee? It may have been used once to kill President Johnson’s nomination of Abe Fortas in 1968. That remains a matter of some controversy. Given that it took place back in the day when one had to stand and talk in order to filibuster, this is something like ancient history.

8. I took a look at the hypocrisy that is shot through the debate about the filibuster in the Weekly Standard column “They were against it, before they were for it.” In the column I talked about the Star Tribune’s shifting positions on the use of the filibuster for judicial nominees. I don’t think the Star Tribune has shared its thoughts with us on the use of the filibuster against Gorsuch’s confirmation yet.

9. If Gorsuch is outside the mainstream, the mainstream is a rivulet. The Democrats can’t make the argument with a straight face. They barely try. Their disparagement of Gorsuch amounts to something like the pathetic simulacrum of an argument.

10. The election of Donald Trump and a Republican Senate is vindicated by the Gorsuch nomination.

Video via Andrew Kugle/Washington Free Beacon.

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