Today, Michael Thielen, Executive Director of the RNLA, wrote an op-ed for The Daily Caller pointing out that Judge Gorsuch meets and should be held to all the Democratic Standards as applied to past Supreme Court nominees in recent history.
First and foremost, the Senate was merely following the Schumer Standard. In July 2007, current Minority Leader and then-Senator Chuck Schumer said if any new Supreme Court vacancies opened up, Democrats should not allow President Bush the chance to fill it “except in extraordinary circumstances,” as his term was almost over. July 2007 was seven months sooner than Senate Leader Mitch McConnell invoked the Schumer Standard. It should also be noted Leader McConnell used the Schumer Standard before Garland was even nominated. . . . Second, the Gorsuch hearing should have nothing to do with Judge Garland or his nomination. The Garland Nomination in 2016 was not about his qualifications, but solely turned on the Senate process in an election year per the Schumer Standard. This is a non-issue today.
Meanwhile, the next Democratic standard dates to the Reagan Era and was established when considering Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court Nomination. The Leahy Standard announced in 1986 by the longest-serving senator and former Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy says: “I think as members of the [Judiciary] Committee, we should respect the mandate the president has earned. The president had told us in 1980 and 1984 he would appoint judges of his philosophy. He was given a mandate to do that. This Committee, if the nominees are otherwise qualified, should respect that.”
Judge Gorsuch more than satisfies both elements of the Leahy Standard. President Trump went further than President Reagan by announcing a list of 21 potential judges that he would nominate during the 2016 campaign. Gorsuch was on that list. President Trump decisively won the Presidency. Therefore, it is clear that President Trump clearly has a mandate to nominate and confirm Gorsuch. . . The second element of the Leahy Standard requires a nominee be “otherwise qualified.” Fortunately, we do not have to guess what Senator Leahy meant in this case. Senators Leahy and Schumer have been very clear in the later standard: the American Bar Association’s (ABA) assessment being the “gold standard” in evaluating federal judicial nominations. Here, the ABA has given Judge Gorsuch its highest rating, unanimously well-qualified. As such, Gorsuch easily meets these Standards established by the Democrats.
What if Neil Gorsuch fails to adequately testify at his confirmation? Well — the reality is by the standards of the Democrats’ beloved Justice — Democrats simply cannot complain. As liberal icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated during her confirmation hearing to the Supreme Court, she could offer “no hints, no forecasts, no previews.”
However, if Senator Schumer insists on ignoring all his own side’s standards, Leader McConnell can use one last Democrat Standard, the Reid Standard. Then-Senate Majority leader Harry Reid changed the procedure to requiring a simple majority of votes for all nominees, but Supreme Court nominees. However, Reid made clear that was a mere formality, when he said last October: “I really do believe that I have set the Senate so when I leave, we’re going to be able to get judges done with a majority,” he said. “It’s clear to me that if the Republicans try to filibuster another circuit court judge, but especially a Supreme Court justice, I’ve told ’em how and I’ve done it, not just talking about it. I did it in changing the rules of the Senate. It’ll have to be done again.”
So, the Reid Standard clears the way for the Republicans to confirm a Supreme Court nominee as always been done with a simple majority. Senator Schumer responded to Reid’s comments by saying: “I hope we don’t get to that”. . . The irony is if the Democrats don’t follow their own clear and articulated standards, Leader McConnell may be forced to make them follow their own former leader’s standards and impose the Reid Standard upon the Senate.
The full article is a good read especially as the Senate Judiciary Committee questions Judge Gorsuch. Yesterday, opening statements were made by the senators on the Judicary Committee and Judge Gorsuch. Today, the first round of questions are proceeding one-on-one by the senators on the Committee. Tomorrow, round two is expected to commence and scheduled to conclude. Thursday, the Committee will hear testimony by various legal experts.
Follow the RNLA's real-time Twitter commentary today and tomorrow here. Also, please consider signing the RNLA's letter to the Senate in support of Judge Gorsuch's confirmation here.