Don’t be surprised by Trump’s Supreme Court nomination

Sercan Oktay, Contributing Writer

Neil Gorsuch has emerged as President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Gorsuch’s credentials are fully sufficient for this position which include a degree from Harvard Law, Supreme Court clerkship for Justice Byron White, and ten years worth of experience as a federal appeals court judge in Colorado. This resume, however, can’t seem to keep the nominee from sizable opposition due to the fact that Gorsuch would be a strongly conservative addition to the Supreme Court.

The reactions to Gorsuch’s nomination have been fairly mixed. This isn’t too surprising given that this is a Supreme Court nomination at a highly polarized point in American politics. A CNN/ORC poll found that 49 percent of Americans are in favor of Senate voting to confirm the nomination, yet a closer examination of this number reveals that it is a result of little more than party allegiance. Eighty-four percent of Republicans are reported to be in favor of the Senate confirming the nomination while more than 61 percent of Democrats oppose this. So far, opinions on Gorsuch seem to be based off the fact that he is a right-leaning judge who had “a family connection to Republican establishment politics and service in the administration of George W. Bush.”

Gorsuch’s views are similar to those of the late Justice Scalia, whom he is replacing on the bench. Gorsuch has previously stated that judges should use “text, structure and history” in analyzing the law and “not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best.” His adherence to focusing on the original intentions of the Constitution and the textual side of the law rather than its intentions for certain circumstances make Gorsuch a clearly conservative candidate.

This is the main reason why the opposition to Gorsuch’s nomination has been very vocal, as many fear that his presence in the Supreme Court could be to the detriment of laws related to gay marriage, abortion, affirmative action, and other social issues.

Referring to the nomination, Trump expressed his hope that “both Democrats and Republicans can come together for once for the good of the country.” The sincerity of this statement is questionable since it is highly unlikely that this will be the case. The highly polarized state of politics along with Trump’s controversial decisions since his inauguration will surely make bipartisan agreement on this issue very difficult. Trump must also be aware of the fact that Gorsuch’s nomination will not be an easy or uniting process because it is unlikely to immediately pass through the Senate, given that the Republican majority is several votes short of the 60 needed for cloture in the case of a filibuster.

While Trump’s presidency has had plenty of controversy in a short time, Gorsuch’s nomination isn’t one of them. Every Justice in the Supreme Court today has been nominated by a president who felt that they shared certain views. Therefore, it would be wrong to criticize Trump’s nomination based solely on party allegiance, which is what seems to be happening thus far into the nomination process. Views regarding Gorsuch should be formulated based on the ideals that he will bring with him to the Supreme Court rather than looking at where he stands on the political spectrum. That isn’t to say that Trump’s nomination is good or bad; but it’s not a shocking one.

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