Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Gorsuch and Game Theory

Trump makes his pick for the Supreme Court:
President Donald Trump will nominate Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Trump announced Tuesday night at the White House.

The nomination of Gorsuch, a 49-year-old federal appellate judge from Colorado, gives Trump and Republicans the opportunity to confirm someone who could cement the conservative direction of the court for decades.
Actually, that's not right. Gorsuch would be going into the seat occupied by Antonin Scalia, who died last year. Scalia was a brilliant conservative. By most accounts, Gorsuch is as well. His elevation to the Supreme Court doesn't change the calculus.

The Democrats have a decision to make. They are understandably bitter that the Republicans ashcanned their nominee, Merrick Garland, last year. Had Garland gone on the Court, the balance of power would have shifted decisively to the Left. That's not going to happen now. So if you're a Democrat, what do you do, especially with all the rent-a-mobs out on the streets protesting everything the Trumpster does? They can either try to stop Gorsuch, or they can keep their powder dry. If they try to block Gorsuch, Mitch McConnell will eliminate the filibuster entirely for judicial appointees, and that will be the end of it. After that, Trump would be able to put anyone he likes into the next slot. And that is where the real challenge for control of the Supreme Court comes, as it is reasonable to assume the next nomination will be to replace either Anthony Kennedy, who is the swing vote, or Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who holds down the left wing. Both are in their 80s, so their time may be running short. Meanwhile, Stephen Breyer will be 80 years old in less than two years. If Trump gets to replace any of these three Justices, the court will tip decisively to the right. And it's quite possible he'll get to replace all three.

The Republicans hold the majority in the Senate now. It's tenuous, but it's a majority. The Democrats have a number of senators in red states who will be up for reelection in 2018. Some of them, especially Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Jon Tester in Montana, and Claire McCaskill in Missouri, are going to be looking over their shoulders. Others who might have been safe otherwise, including a couple of big-time lefties, Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin), also have reason to think twice about how to proceed.

Gorsuch has outstanding credentials and was named to the 10th Circuit by unanimous voice vote in 2006. This may not be the fight the Democrats want, nor the time. We're about to find out how much influence the freeway blockers really have in Washington.


R.A. Crankbait said...

"Thinking twice about how to proceed" does not appear to be a Democrat strong point. Schumer does seem a little too canny for that, though. He may take a page from trump's playbook and stake out an extreme position (filibuster) in an effort to establish some negotiation. What he ultimately wants, of course, is to take the nuclear option off the table where Harry Reid left it. He likely can't achieve that with this nomination, but expect to see some rousing protests and virtue signaling, after which the Democrats will pass out participation ribbons and Gorsuch will be confirmed. Then the table will be set for the battle when replacing a liberal justice

jerrye92002 said...

Latest nose-counting says there are 7 Democrat Senators willing to vote cloture, and the GOP needs only 8. My guess is like yours, that they will put up a shambolic fight and then "allow defeat."

As for influence from the "streets," I am wondering why the media even show these idiots? It's all nonsense and should be discouraged, not recognized.

Bike Bubba said...

I have to find it funny that the left is fighting the confirmation of a guy who lives in Boulder. Or maybe it makes sense, as Boulder made me into both a hardcore conservative and a Huskers fan. They simply don't want anyone who's seen the excesses of the left and hasn't drunk the Kool-Aid.

R.A. Crankbait said...

Bubba - when I was a kid my family did a driving vacation out west in the late 60s. We stopped for lunch one day in Denver and my father asked the waitress where all the hippies were because he'd heard that Denver was full of hippies.

The waitress smiled and said, "Oh, they're usually around but they all heard the world was about to end so they went to Boulder."

Gino said...

I guess the GOP proved me wrong. I was sure some MC Cain type senator would negotiate some kind of surrender on this. Instead they hung on tight. I'm shocked.

Mr. D said...

Instead they hung on tight. I'm shocked.

Oh, the game has just begun. We'll see.

R.A. Crankbait said...