With many Senate Democrats threatening to filibuster the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, Senate Republicans on Thursday employed the nuclear option, meaning that there will only need to be a simple majority of 51 votes to continue debate and potentially confirm Gorsuch to the Court. A final vote will be taken on Friday.
Leading up to this event, there has been much discussion about the nuclear option and the role of the Senate. David French, writing for National Review on April 4, says it comes down to Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 legalized abortion on demand in all 50 states.
In discussing “what went wrong,” French writes that “[t]he Supreme Court went wrong, and it did so most decisively and consequentially when it created the right to kill a child.” French regards the pro-abortion position as one about “presumed social justice,” and, just as pro-abortion Senator Dianne Feinstein mentioned when expressing concern about Gorsuch, a “‘living constitution'” which turned the founding document into “a child-devouring monster.” Similarly, as has long been a criticism of Roe, French evokes “penumbras and emanations,” calling them “sheer nonsense” and “embarrassing rhetoric.” Unfortunately, “embarrassing rhetoric from the Supreme Court has the force of law,” French reminds.
With regard to Democrats and Republicans, French writes it is important to understand the stakes, particularly when it comes to “taking steps to correct the judiciary’s overreach and abuse” and when it comes to “checks and balances… checking the justices of the Supreme Court.”
French does not believe that Roe will end anytime soon, but he does have hope that the time for the Court’s abuse is coming to an end. He writes:
Defying President Obama in 2016 and Chuck Schumer in 2017 won’t fix our nation’s jurisprudence, and it won’t necessarily end Roe, but it does signal that a critical mass of Americans have had enough. At long last, and for today at least, judicial supremacists face the consequences they so richly deserve.
How does this relate to the nuclear option? As French makes clear, it is of utmost importance that the Court be comprised of those who can correctly interpret the Constitution to protect the right to life, rather than have it bend to their whims. During his hearings, Gorsuch has acknowledged that Roe is the law and has refused to prejudge cases. He has not yet directly ruled on abortion cases, but the cases he has ruled on could be considered promising by pro-lifers.
Perhaps most promising of all is how he has stood up against attacks on his originalist view, by those who take the “living constitution” view, which is how Roe became law in the first place.