The confirmation process for the open seat in the U.S. Supreme Court has finally arrived. The popular discussion quickly moved beyond Neil Gorsuch, the judge, to Neil Gorsuch, the president’s nomination. Gorsuch’s nomination should not be a political controversy. Unlike Trump’s cabinet members, there are no questions about Gorsuch’s conflicts of interest or basic competence; he is easily the most qualified person Trump has nominated for any position.
As such, Gorsuch is going to be confirmed. Either the GOP will use the “nuclear option” of changing the confirmation rules to simple majority, as Trump suggested, or Gorsuch will receive the necessary bipartisan support to overcome filibuster. However, it should not come to the “nuclear option,” as there are several reasons why Gorsuch deserves get bipartisan support.
Take his unanimous appointment to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006: not a single Democrat — including then-U.S. Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Joe Biden — spoke out against him during his confirmation. During that confirmation, not a single objection was raised about his ability to serve as a federal appeals judge. While the position on the Circuit does not garner national attention like the SCOTUS seat, the lack of a single objection to his nomination indicates little concern over his judgment to rule on the Constitution fairly and intelligently. Both major parties viewed him as an individual with the temperament, qualifications and ability to hold the position and succeed in carrying out his duties as prescribed by law.
That support can be partially attributed to his background, which boasts degrees from Columbia University (N.Y.), Harvard Law School (Mass.) and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford (England) — a more impressive academic pedigree than that of any current member of the Court. His legal career includes a stint as an federal appellate court law clerk, a Supreme Court clerkship under Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy, a distinguished career at a prestigious private practice firm and a stint as a deputy associate attorney general. The American Bar Association recognized his distinguished career by giving him their highest qualification rating for his nomination. Armed with his education, his experience as a trial lawyer and his career as an appellate court judge, Gorsuch comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee as an eminently qualified individual for the position.
Questions on Gorsuch’s views on issues such as same-sex marriage, Roe v. Wade and the Chevron doctrine have already been posed in these hearings. Thus far, Gorsuch, like nearly every other modern nominee before him, eloquently avoided answering those questions — as he is ethically and professionally bound to do. He stated classic and simplistic legal platitudes, such as confirming his unyielding support of the First Amendment. Those platitudes, like those of many SCOTUS nominees before him, are completely unobjectionable.
When asked how he will approach pressing legal issues like Trump’s travel ban, Gorsuch stated that it is improper for him as a judge and nominee for the Supreme Court to speak on cases that are currently being litigated, as he may hear the case argued in court and must maintain impartiality. He will continue to get all those important details of the hearings right, because he is the right person for the job.
You may not like Trump, and you may not like the idea of having another conservative majority on the Supreme Court, yet there are no known substantive issues that could block Gorsuch’s nomination. Previous bipartisan support and unquestionable qualifications make a clear case that he will be confirmed as the 113th Justice of the Supreme Court and the late former Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat will finally be filled.
Brandon Wood is a College junior from Northridge, Mass.