President Trump announced yesterday that he has essentially made up his mind about who he will nominate to fill the Supreme Court vacancy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. There are about three names floating around, all of which are Circuit Court Judges. Dianne Sykes of the 7th Circuit, William Pryor of 11th circuit and Neil Gorsuch of the 10th circuit. I believe all three of them would be fantastic choices, if I had to make a prediction I would predict that President Trump will nominate Bill Pryor. Pryor is from Alabama and went to Tulane law school and he would provide geographic diversity on a court that is made up of Ivy League elitists. I also think President Trump tends not to shy away from controversial picks and Pryor is controversial and hated by the left.
Whoever President Trump ends up nominating, the Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schummer have made it clear they will fight tooth and nail. This is not a new philosophy coming from the Democratic party, they have been fighting tooth and nail against Conservative SCOTUS nominees. Starting in 1987, the Senate Democrats led by Ted Kennedy and former Vice President, Joe Biden, effectively shut down the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan. During the confirmation hearings, Kennedy viciously attacked Bork and was able to convince all the Democrats and some wishy washy Republicans to vote against Bork. This marked a major shift in the process and Senate Democrats again attempted to shut down the nomination of Clarence Thomas in 1991, but Thomas was narrowly confirmed in the Senate. The Senate Democrats also did the same thing with Justice Alito in 2006, but again were unsuccessful. Ironically, they did the same thing to William Pryor back in 2003 when President George W. Bush nominated him to the 11th Circuit, but failed.
One would think that Republicans would do the same thing, but until the Merrick Garland nomination in 2016, this was not the case. The Senate Republicans did virtually nothing to oppose Obama's appointment of Sonia Sotomayor, who remains the most radically progressive justice on the court. Sotomayor was confirmed by a vote of 68-31, with many Republicans voting in favor of her nomination. Additionally Elena Kagan was confirmed with 61 votes. However, the death of Justice Scalia was a wakeup call to the Senate Republicans, who for decades in my opinion have lost the battle of the Supreme Court. They finally got tough and refused to even hold hearings for Merrick Garland. Now, it is time for Republicans to take the fight up a notch. President Trump is taking the Supreme Court selection much more seriously than previous Republican administrations have. He has made it clear his nominee will get through and if the Senate Democrats obstruct, Trump has made it clear he will knock out the filibuster and use the nuclear option so the threshold would be 51 votes in order to confirm the nominee. I personally think this would be a great thing, given that Harry Reid did away with the filibuster for lower court nominations and cabinet picks the next logical step is to include SCOTUS picks and if President Trump gets a second term and the Republicans can maintain a majority in the Senate, he could end up appointing an additional two-three justices given the fact that Justice Ginsburg is 83 years old, Justice Kennedy is 78 and Justice Breyer is also 78.
By Spencer Roush