WHAT IT IS
- On January 31, President Trump nominated federal judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, a position previously held by Justice Antonin Scalia
- Senate Republicans blocked President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland
- Neil Gorsuch has served as a federal judge since his nomination by President George W. Bush in 2006
- Gorsuch has served as a federal judge since his nomination by President George W. Bush in 2006
- Gorsuch is considered to be a staunch conservative and “constitutional originalist”
WHY IT MATTERS
The Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment, with Gorsuch being 49 years-old. Whoever fills a seat on the bench will have an impact on law and society for decades. Anyone over the age of 20 can expect to live with the decisions of whoever the next Supreme Court justice is for most of their adult life. Several recent political events, such as the legalization of gay marriage, allowance for the Affordable Care Act, lifting of campaign finance regulations, were all decided by the Supreme Court.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
- The Supreme Court is a majority voted from the Senate, which is Republican majority
- Democrats can filibuster the proceedings with only 40 members. Democrats currently have 46 Senators, with 2 political independents who caucus with them.
- President Trump has urged Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to “go nuclear” and get rid of the filibuster rule if needed
- Some Democratic Senators are preparing for obstructionist efforts.
- Next Supreme Court session begins February 21.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
- Will Democrats retaliate against Republicans for their treatment of Garland? What would this mean for our democracy?
- How will Gorsuch fare against Senate examination during the confirmation process?
- Should the Supreme Court continue with the same representation of ideology?
- Will Senate Republicans remove the filibuster rule?