Republicans were forced to push the button for the nuclear option, but Neil Gorsuch was confirmed as the 113th Justice of the United States Supreme Court this afternoon. The vote to confirm fell on heavily, though not total, party lines at 54-45. the odds Gorsuch could have reached the usual sixty votes needed to confirm are slim due far more to partisan bickering than Gorsuch's judicial skills. In a ore civil political climate, a jurist of his caliber would have been easily confirmed.
Gorsuch's confirmation ends a year long Constitutional conflict over the president's power to appoint a candidate for the Supreme Court with the advice and consent of the Senate. After Anonin Scalia's surprising death last year, Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland. The Republican controlled senate refused to engage the confirmation process with he argument a president ought not make an appointment during an election year. The real issue was the ideological balance of the Court. Conservatives wanted a conservative to replace the one who passed away. Liberals, incensed Garland was successfully blocked, were going to do the same for Gorsuch.
I opted to remain silent on Garland's treatment because I am an originalist and want someone of similar judicial philosophy on the Supreme Court. I am especially adamant bout this when it comes to maintaining the current balance. Scaia was an originalist. Garland is more inclined to take the idea the Constitution s a living breathing document. That said, it most likely was proper for Obama to name a nominee and Garland probably should have gotten a confirmation hearing. You see my dilemma. My solution was to avoid contending on the issue.
I am happy Gorsuch was confirmed, but wary of the consequences of how it all went down. It is highly likely the next vacancy on the Supreme Court will be by one of the liberal justices. The vacancy is also likely to occur while Trump is president. There I a brutal conflict potentially brewing in which a Republican president is going to nominate a conservative to replace a liberal justice. Considering how nasty the Gorsuch confirmation process was without the ideological balance of the Supreme Court affected, the next time around will be all out war.