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Cass R. Sunstein

The Best Option for Democrats on Gorsuch

The Senate minority should resist the pressure for political payback.
The strategy matters.

The strategy matters.

Photographer: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Charles Schumer, the leader of the Senate minority, has said that he will ask Democrats to filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch. In response to that request, the Senate Democrats have four options. Each of them has considerable appeal, but each also runs into significant objections.

1: Return to normal order. At least since the unsuccessful nomination of Judge Robert Bork in 1987, Supreme Court nominations have been highly politicized and occasionally ugly, and the situation has been getting worse. Before Bork’s defeat, it would have been possible to say that so long as a Supreme Court nominee meets basic tests of character and competence, the Senate will confirm him -- and that members of the opposing party will not mount a serious protest. After all, Antonin Scalia was confirmed by a vote of 98-0 in 1986.