The nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court leaves a bad taste in the mouth due to the process that has led to this moment, the judge’s antagonism toward federal regulations and to his legal philosophy, which possesses a limited view on the Constitution.
It is impossible to disregard the fact that Justice Merrick Garland was the judge supposed to replace the late Antonin Scalia. He was nominated by Barack Obama, who was the president at the moment the High Court seat became vacant.
Under Republican control, the Senate refused to consider Garland because he would shift the ideological balance of the Supreme Court to a less conservative stance. Garland was a centrist moderate with an excellent background who fell through as a result of the legislative obstructionism that predominated in the government.
The previous Congress bet on Obama’s successor being a Republican, and to have the new president designate someone with an ideology similar to Scalia’s. The strategy perfectly comes to fruition with Gorsuch.
The problem with Gorsuch is that his interpretation of the Constitution clings to the original ideas of the men who wrote the document. In practice, this means that the rights and protections of minorities in the 21st century are constitutionally debatable because they were not considered in the 18th century.
Another school of thought, in contrast to the nominee’s, sees Constitutional Law as subject to interpretation, taking into account the passage of time and new circumstances while leaving its principles intact. The most significant civil rights decisions are sustained by this doctrine.
We are also worried about Gorsuch’s anti-regulation position, which earns the sympathy of conservatives and the private sector. It is true that regulation excesses exist, but federal oversight is necessary.
Someone has to protect the people from dangerous medication, bank fraud, contaminated food, sham businesses, unscrupulous professionals, and from all those who see unaware consumers as an opportunity to swindle money out of their pockets.
Today, Democrats are studying whether it is worth it to spend political capital on resisting this nomination or if they should wait for another opportunity with the potential to truly alter the equilibrium of the Supreme Court to fight it.
We still have much to learn about Gorsuch, who so far seems to have nothing positive to add and who does not look any worse than Scalia when it comes to minorities in the Supreme Court. However, history is full of surprises.