chuck schumer

Oh please, Chuck e. Cheese, carry out your threat!

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Thursday that Democrats will attempt to filibuster Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination, setting up a major test for Republicans, who may now have to confront whether to trigger the “nuclear option” to get the judge onto the Supreme Court.

As confirmation hearings for the judge ended Thursday, Mr. Schumer pronounced judgment on him, saying that while the judge met all the legal qualifications, he wasn’t the liberal judge Republicans prevented President Obama from nominating in his final year.

A handful of other Democrats rushed to join Mr. Schumer, saying they, too, are prepared to mount a partisan filibuster — for just the second time in U.S. history — to try to block a Supreme Court nominee.

“Judge Gorsuch was unable to sufficiently convince me that he’d be an independent check on a president who has shown almost no restraint from executive overreach,” Mr. Schumer said. “Second, he was unable to convince me that he would be a mainstream justice who could rule free from the biases of politics and ideology.”

If Schumer is actually deranged enough to attempt a filibuster to stop Judge Gorsuch from a seat on the Supreme Court—a seat he is imminently qualified to fill, I might add—then he puts the Republican majority in a position where they could opt to trigger the so-called “nuclear option.”

The nuclear option would allow the U.S. Senate to confirm Gorsuch by a simple majority of 51 votes, instead of by a supermajority of 60 votes, and perhaps as importantly, could possibly be in a position to replace other justices who either retire or expire in the next few years.

Progressive Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 83. Moderate Anthony Kennedy is 80. Liberal-moderate Stephen Breyer is 78. If Schumer carries out his threat and the Republican Senate majority opts to require a simple 51 vote majority for Gorsuch, then they could similarly do so for any other Justice that dies or retires.

It’s a heck of a gamble by Schumer to threaten a filibuster when McConnell has not taken the nuclear option off the table. If Schumer gambles and loses and Ginsberg, Kennedy, or Breyer leave the court in the next few years, it will give President Donald Trump the option of placing more judges in the mold of Gorusch or the man he is replacing, Antonin Scalia, on the court, giving the court a decided textualist tilt for years to come.

This will presumably be very beneficial for those of us who believe the Constitution actually means what the Founders said, and will set the stage to undo much of the damage done by a progressive view of a “living Constitution” that can be reimagined into anything progressives want to torture it to mean, without having to actually amend the Constitution.

Among the decisions that could come before such a textualist court are many gun laws and bans on the books around the country, including those of very dubious standing that have been so far upheld by lower courts in more liberal parts of the nation. If such cases come into a Supreme Court that is solidly leaning towards a textualist reading of the Constitution, many of them are likely to be declared unconstitutional. This would presumably include magazine bans, approved gun rosters, and bans on so-called “assault weapons.”