Donald Trump kept his word, Mitch McConnell played hardball, and together they triumphed over Chuck Schumer and the liberal establishment. April 7 should be marked on every patriot’s calendar as a turning point in history.
How long has it been since we had a policy victory of this magnitude? America now has a 50-50 chance to return to constitutional government.
If you think I am exaggerating the importance of having a true originalist in the Scalia chair on the Supreme Court, consider this question: If Neil Gorsuch had been writing the 5-4 majority opinion in the 2012 NFIB v. Sebelius challenge to Obamacare, would we still have Obamacare? No way, Jose.
Adding Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a historic turning point for three reasons besides the obvious one of having a strong conservative in Scalia’s chair. The Republican Party should heed the lessons taught by this victory if they want to actually govern the country instead of merely taking over the command of a doomed Titanic.
First, the U.S. Senate Republicans showed unusual courage and uncharacteristic stamina. When Justice Scalia died suddenly in early 2016, President Obama moved swiftly to fill the vacancy. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley decided the vacancy on the court should be filled by the winner of the 2016 presidential election and not by a lame duck incumbent. Indeed, no less an authority on Supreme Court vacancies than Democrat leader Chuck Schumer had proposed the same thing back in 2008 when George Bush was the lame duck. McConnell and the Senate Republicans held their ground despite the onslaught of criticism from the new power trilogy of the mainstream media, Hollywood comedians, and Obama Legacy stockholders.
Then, in the middle of his campaign in 2016, candidate Donald Trump drew up a list of 21 conservative judges, made it public, and promised to select his first Supreme Court nominee from that list. Publishing that list was in itself radically unconventional and a bold gamble. But then he did a really unconventional thing and kept that promise by selecting Neil Gorsuch, a 10th Circuit Court judge who was probably among the two or three most conservative judges on that list of twenty-one. Golly, Batman, what next?!!
And then came the coup de gras — not just ending opposition to Gorsuch but also giving Trump’s next Supreme Court nominee much better odds for confirmation.
Democrats announced they would filibuster to block a full Senate vote on the Gorsuch appointment since it takes 60 votes to end a filibuster, not a simple majority of 51. Senate Republicans rose to the occasion by pulling the “nuclear trigger” ending the filibuster rule altogether, thereby not just stopping the filibuster against Gorsuch but also ending the filibuster threat against all future court nominees as well.
Mitch McConnell had his finest hour as Senate Republican leader by holding that gang of 52 Republicans together and delivering on his promise to President Trump.
All three elements of this miracle are worthy of praise– Trump’s courage in publishing the list, his wisdom in selecting Gorsuch, and McConnell’s stellar leadership and political craftsmanship in delivering the victory despite universal, virulent Democrat opposition.
Why is this victory so pivotal and so monumental? The answer is simple: a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court is absolutely central to the survival of our Republic. The rule of law has become the rule of judges, and the Supreme Court is the final check on the rule of bad judges – -of which we have a few hundred in our federal courts thanks to decades of poor judicial appointments.
Let us recall that the infamous 1973 Roe v. Wade 7-2 decision was written by a Republican nominee, Harry Blackman. More recently, Obamacare survived a court challenge because of the linguistic creativity of a Republican chief justice.
The lessons to be learned from the Gorsuch victory are many, but this is the main one: We can restore the rule of law and true constitutionalism to the Supreme Court only if we have all three elements of the winning formula: a President with the wisdom to appoint the right judges, a Senate Republican leadership with the courage to fulfill its constitutional obligations, and a nation with a majority willing to support those choices.
The Gorsuch appointment dwarfs in importance anything else Trump can or will do in the next four years and more than balances the inevitable disappointments and missteps he will send our way.
Some people will think I am enthusiastic about Gorsuch only because he is likely to uphold Trump’s Executive Orders on immigration, but they are mistaken. I earnestly hope he will have the opportunity in the next few years to overturn bad precedents in Kelo (2005), Chevron (1984), and Roe (1973) decisions and many others.
We can and will disagree with President Trump on some issues, such as trade policy, infrastructure boondoggles, and foreign policy mistakes like military involvement in Syria’s civil war. In fact, I may not agree with Trump’s every proposal or action on immigration and border security. But no matter: gaining conservative control of the Supreme Court makes the Trump presidency a success no matter what happens tomorrow.
The Republican success in delivering the Gorsuch confirmation greatly overshadow the Republican Party’s many warts and weaknesses. I have decided to rejoin the Republican party as the best available vehicle for defending and sustaining our constitutional Republic.