This is why Donald Trump was elected.
Pundits can discuss campaign strategies and Hillary Clinton’s emails all day long. But for many religious voters who would have loved to have anyone to vote for other than Trump, the future of the Supreme Court was the deciding factor in how they cast their votes. If you don’t believe there were thousands of voters in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio that fall into that subset of voters, you are only fooling yourself.
Trump took a big step toward the White House in September when he released a list of 20 people he would consider for the open Supreme Court seat.
The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch — one of the least extreme jurists on the list — was Trump delivering on a promise to the voters who were drawn to Trump not for his own moral virtue or any other policy stance, but to the fulfillment of the dream of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Obviously, the biggest target for pro-life voters is the reversal of Roe v. Wade — the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
Gorsuch is pro-life. Gorsuch has a conservative streak a mile long. In law school, he could have been named “most likely to become Antonin Scalia.” The main difference between Gorsuch and Scalia, according to his colleagues, is his affability.
He is also young. Once confirmed, Gorsuch could spend more than three decades on the bench.
That strong, long-term conservative voice is the biggest reason pro-life voters were able to overlook Trump’s traits that don’t align as well with their belief systems. They hoped Trump would give them control of the Supreme Court. They knew Clinton wouldn’t.
With Gorsuch, Trump chose a very conservative jurist, but he is hardly an extremist. His views won’t be any more popular with the left than the views of Merrick Garland — President Obama’s nominee who was stonewalled by Republicans in the Senate — would have been with those on the right. Like Garland, Gorsuch is aligned with the views of the president who appointed him. However, both presidents could have ventured much further from the center with their picks.
Trump could have nominated William Pryor of Alabama or Thomas Hardiman of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Gorsuch is a much better choice.
After all, Gorsuch was a classmate of Barack Obama at Harvard Law School and Obama voted to confirm him to a judgeship when Obama was a senator. Clinton also voted in favor of Gorsuch when she sat in the Senate.
He can’t be that bad.
The Democrats don’t want to hear this because their nominee was never even considered, but the country is not served well by rejecting Gorsuch in an attempt to gain retribution for the past year of delays.
Playground rules shouldn’t be the rule in matters of governing our nation. Just because someone else did something shameful, it doesn’t make you doing it less reprehensible. As the George Bernard Shaw saying goes, if you wrestle with a pig, you both end up dirty and the pig likes it.
It is not in the best interests of our country to keep eight members of the Supreme Court. It wasn’t when the Republicans did it, and it won’t be if the Democrats fight back. When it comes to the mid-term elections of 2018, I don’t know how many Democratic senators in states where Trump won really want to find out if this issue would be important enough to leave them on the outside looking in.
All anyone can hope is to do the right thing every chance you get. Confirming Gorsuch is the right thing.
Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at email@example.com.