Faced with the prospect of a Supreme Court that is going to fufill the wishes of the religious right and plutocrats, liberals are floating all kind of ideas to stop the appointment of a conservative justice to replace Anthony Kennedy.
There’s a move to have Democratic Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer push President Trump to nominate Merrick Garland, President Obama’s thwarted choice to replace Antonin Scalia. There’s a discussion about the need to expand the number of justices on the Court. There’s the belief that enough pressure will make Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, pro-choice Republican Senators, block any nominee too extreme.
It’s all wishful thinking. Short of some unforeseen catastrophe with the nominee, Trump’s choice is headed to the nation’s top bench.
None of this is to say that Democrats shouldn’t put up a hard fight against the nominee. But in the end, it’s probably to no avail. Here are four reasons why whomever Trump picks is a shoo-in for the Court.
Democrats don’t have the votes.
Simple math is the hardest fact to overcome. Republicans have a majority in the Senate. To ensure that Neil Gorsuch’s nomination was approved, Republicans eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. As long as Republicans stay unified, Democrats haven’t any way to stop the nominee.
Collins and Murkowski always fall in line.
For all their protestations about their commitment to a woman’s right to choose, Collins and Murkowski are always follow the party line. Both voted for Neil Gorsuch, who is clearly chomping at the bit to severely limit, if not outright overturn Roe v. Wade. Looking to them as profiles in courage means ignoring their voting record altogether.
Some Democrats may cave.
A number of Democratic Senators are up for re-election in states that Trump won in 2016, including Claire McCaskill (Missouri), Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota) and Joe Donnelly (Indiana). Their votes will turn heavily on how they think opposing the president’s nominee will affect their re-election chances.
For example, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana just ran ads in 14 state newspapers thanking Trump for signing 16 of his measures into law. That’s not the act of a man who will be leading the Senate resistance.
Expanding the Court failed spectacularly before.
FDR tried to expand the Supreme Court to get around the justices who kept striking down New Deal legislation. It was one of his most unpopular moves.
Even if Democrats wanted to do it, who do you think will fill the extra vacancies? President Trump.
As for Chuck Schumer getting Trump to nominate Merrick Garland–he’d probably have more success getting Trump to nominate Judy Garland. At least Trump will have heard of her.