The number one priority for the resistance movement this coming week must be to use every tactic in the playbook – phone calls, emails, letters, petitions, mass demonstrations at senators’ homes and offices, and more – to make clear that every Democrat who votes to end the filibuster of Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination will lose the votes of their constituents.
Mass actions like these have already helped block the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the implementation of Trump’s Muslim ban.
But until now, the resistance movement has mostly given a pass to Democratic senators on Gorsuch.
A number of Democrats hint they may try to play it both ways: vote to end the filibuster tthat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for, then cast a meaningless vote against Gorsuch’s then-inevitable confirmation in order to appease their Democratic base.
Even the moderately liberal Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy has strongly hinted that he will vote to break the filibuster and then vote against Gorsuch’s confirmation. If he’s not opposed on this, it could give permission to other Democrats to do the same.
Democratic senators can’t be allowed to get away with such a ploy. Masses of people must make it loud and clear that any Democratic Senator who votes to break the filibuster will face a primary challenge.
This is the most consequential vote of the year in the Senate. Senators come and go, but Supreme Court Justices sit on the Court for decades.
Gorsuch may be good-looking and well-spoken, but he’s a product of the hard-right, pro-corporate, billionaire-funded Federalist Society, that played a key role in the successful apppoinment of other right-wing Supreme Court Justices: John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and the late Antonin Scalia, who was Gorsuch’s mentor.
If anything, Gorsuch may be to the even farther to the right than Scalia. His record of opinions shows him to be even more closely aligned with the views of the Chamber of Commerce, the Federalist Society, and the Christian right.
As a Supreme Court Justice, Gorsuch is likely to vote to further loosen remaining restrictions on campaign donations by billionaires and corporations, restrict voting rights, allow the expansion of partisan gerrymandering, close courthouse doors to workers and consumers, overturn environmental and financial regulations, mix church and state, and make it more difficult for women to control their bodies and their health.
Gorsuch is also being named to the seat that rightfully belonged to Merrick Garland and his nomination has been backed by tens of millions of dollars in conservative “dark money.”
As Chuck Schumer has said, if Republicans can’t get 60 votes for Gorsuch, they should change the nominee, not the rules. Schumer should enforce party discipline on any back-sliding Democratic senator who votes to end the filibuster.
Wavering Democratic senators cannot be allowed to get away with voting to end a filibuster of Gorsuch.
And this coming week, the resistance movement must use every tactic in its book to be sure that they don’t.
UPDATE: Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota just announced that they will vote to confirm Gorsuch. (Full disclosure: I contributed to Heitkamp’s 2012 campaign in the hopes that my modest donation in a small state could help the Democrats gain the majority in the Senate – I won’t be contributing to or supporting her again.)
Only 6 more Democrats are needed to break a filibuster. Among the Democratic senators who are still on the fence are Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Diane Feinstein (CA.), Michael Bennett (Colo.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), John Tester (Mont.), and Clair McCaskill (Mo.)
The right-wing Judicial Crisis Center is rolling out a 7-figure ad buy targeted at these fence-sitting Democrats.
All who believe justice matters in the United States should put maximum pressure on these “undecided” Democratic senators, and making clear they will pay a political price if they side with Republicans to break the filibuster and allow Gorsuch to be confirmed.