Principled Conservative© Kevin Williamson has a message for all you lefties (“Defund the Left: GOP, Here’s Your Chance,” National Review, 3/24/2017):
Senator Schumer has announced that he intends to filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. There is no substantive case against Gorsuch, who is well qualified for the position and held in generally high regard — including by Democrats.
I happen to think there’s a great case against Gorsuch (and you can read liberal-y or conservative-y cases here and here), but that’s not the point. Williamson, like all good conservatives, purposefully conflates Democrats’ assertion that the nomination is itself illegitimate with criticism of Gorsuch as a judge.
Conservatives who supported Republicans’ obstruction of the nomination of Merrick Garland have no case against Democrats. The entirety of the Republican senate refused to offer Garland a hearing. There is no “Biden Rule,” which Mitch McConnell used as precedence to infinitely delay Garland’s hearing. Republicans still maintain control of the senate, so McConnell can use the nuclear option of Democrats filibuster. There is zero incentive for Democrats cooperate.
Except for one: the threat of a more radically conservative judge. Should Gorsuch fail to be appointed, I can foresee Trump nominating someone much further to the right that Democrats would dislike even more, and Republicans using the nuclear option and appointing him or her (it’s Trump, probably a him) in lieu of a Democratic filibuster. That’s the only incentive. But guys like Williamson don’t think like that. They believe, or purport to believe, that they and not Democrats are acting on principle.