Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the highest-ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, signaled this week that Neil Gorsuch would not have a smooth path to the Supreme Court. Echoing many in the party leadership, Feinstein said Republicans could expect payback for their refusal to consider Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Feinstein said, “To see the way he was treated, with almost a year to consider his nomination, was just appalling,” said Feinstein. “The humiliation that he went through. Asking people just to meet with him and getting turned down.
“Asking just to have a hearing and getting turned down,” Feinstein continued. “Bringing volumes, literally box after box after box of records, putting it all together, walking these halls day and night, and getting the back of the Republican hand.”
Feinstein said that Democrats were not in the mood to let bygones by bygones.
“So I think the appropriate thing is to take our time considering this nominee,” she said. “The court’s not going to fall apart. It’s going to be just fine.”
Feinstein undoubtedly wishes, like some Republicans did when it appeared that Hillary Clinton was going to be president, that we could keep the court at 4-4 indefinitely. And the Democrats would love to at least keep Gorsuch off the bench until after the Supreme Court’s Spring session – a feat that will likely prove much more manageable. Eventually, Mitch McConnell will pull the “nuclear” switch and put Gorsuch on the bench, but the Democrats will get plenty of room to make a spectacle of themselves in the meantime.
Speaking of the meantime, the Washington Times reported this week that Feinstein has requested that Gorsuch provide more information to the Judiciary Committee before the panel can get to work on his nomination. The hearings are scheduled to begin on March 20, but Feinstein now wants a few extra questions cleared up regarding Gorsuch’s tenure at the Justice Department.
Feinstein is reportedly grilling Gorsuch on his role in several prominent DOJ cases, including ones involving Guantanamo Bay, torture, abortion, and wiretapping.
At the end of the day, though, nothing short of a major scandal will keep Gorsuch from being confirmed to the Supreme Court. And even if a scandal did erupt out of nowhere, President Trump would simply name another constitutional conservative judge that the Democrats would hate just as much. In fact, they might want to go back and look at that original list of 20 judges that Trump released and realize that, ideologically speaking, they got off easy.