Is It Payback Time For Blocking Merrick Garland?

Yin Bogu/Xinhua via ZUMA

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Lots of Democrats want to take a scorched-earth approach toward the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. I’m totally on board with this. The Republican blockade of Merrick Garland was flat-out theft, and no party with any self-respect can let that go without a fight.

Still, I’m curious: how is this supposed to play out? If Democrats filibuster Gorsuch, then either Mitch McConnell kills the filibuster or he doesn’t. If he allows the filibuster to stand and Gorsuch is defeated, Trump will nominate another conservative. And no matter how much McConnell is dedicated to Senate institutions, the second time around he’d kill the filibuster for sure. He’s not going to allow Dems to filibuster Supreme Court nominees for four years, after all.

Substantively, then, it doesn’t matter much. We’re getting a conservative Supreme Court justice one way or another. But Jonathan Chait says a filibuster is important because Dems have to make McConnell own the brave new world he’s created. Richard Yeselson agrees:

I’m fine with this. But why is forcing McConnell to kill the filibuster a win for Democrats? Personally, I think they should block Gorsuch just to show they have a spine. I just don’t understand why anyone cares whether McConnell is forced to get rid of the filibuster.

POSTSCRIPT: When I first heard that Gorsuch was on Trump’s short list a couple of days ago, I thought: I know it’s just a coincidence, but I’d sure want to avoid anyone named Gorsuch. But no. It turns out it wasn’t a coincidence at all: Gorsuch is indeed the son of infamous Reagan EPA director Anne Gorsuch Burford. Enough with the dynasties!

ANOTHER POSTSCRIPT: Anne Gorsuch Burford did her best to tear down the EPA, and perhaps her biggest blunder was her determination to scrap the rules for phasing out lead in gasoline. Thank God she failed.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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