Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court will come to the Senate floor for a vote, and it is building up into a heated controversy.
First is the background of what the Republicans did in denying President Obama's full constitutional right to fill that seat a year ago. Republicans would not even have a hearing for Judge Merrick Garland, claiming that Obama couldn't make an appointment during the last year of his presidency. That is nowhere written in the Constitution or in case law.
Both Gorsuch and Garland are rated as highly qualified by the legal profession. The arguments are about political philosophy and sheer political power. Further to the point, Obama had made the political concession of nominating someone who is more middle road moderate than he might have done, thus extending an olive branch, which Republicans rudely brushed aside. In contrast, from his record of judicial decisions, Gorsuch seems even further to the right than Scalia was.
Democrats now claim that a president under investigation for colluding with a foreign power should not have the right to make a lifetime appointment to SCOTUS. That strikes me as at least as good an argument as Republicans saying Obama couldn't make an appointment the last year of his term in office. So here's my modest proposal. It'll be rejected. But I like it:
Turn back the clock. Instead of voting now on Gorsuch, let the Senate take up the Obama nomination of Garland, as they should have done a year ago. Republicans have to give him a good faith hearing and vote. Then, when the next seat on the court opens up, let the Senate then vote on Gorsuch for that seat.
It seems both fair and a suitable remedy for the wrong that was done to Obama and Garland last year. It also puts off consideration of a Trump nominee, hopefully, until this mess gets resolved. It might even contribute to restoring comity in the Senate.