Throughout its history, the United States Senate has experienced disgraceful filibusters (Strom Thurmond against the 1957 Civil Rights Act), entertaining filibusters (Huey Long in 1935 reciting a fried-oyster recipe) and symbolic filibusters (Rand Paul making a point about drone strikes in 2013). But the filibuster that Chuck Schumer is about to undertake against Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court is perhaps the institution’s dumbest.
It won’t block Gorsuch, won’t establish any important jurisprudential principle, and won’t advance Democratic strategic goals — indeed the opposite. A Gorsuch filibuster would be an act of a sheer partisan pique against the wrong target, with the wrong method, at the wrong time.
The Democratic effort to portray Judge Gorsuch as out of the mainstream has fallen flat. He has the support of President Barack Obama’s former solicitor general Neal Katyal. He got the American Bar Association’s highest rating. He’s been endorsed by USA Today. He will receive the votes of at least three Democratic senators. Some radical.
From the moment of his announcement by President Donald Trump to the very last question at his confirmation hearings, Gorsuch has been an exemplary performer, whose deep knowledge has been matched by his winning temperament. The attack on him as an enemy of the little man is based on a few decisions where he clearly followed the law, even though it resulted in an unsympathetic outcome.