Let Gorsuch Through

This is the wrong fight. Let him through. Let the Democratic senators express their concerns and make their points, but this is not the man to filibuster. Don’t behave like Republicans have over the past eight years, supporting left-leaning iterations on Ted Cruz. In the age of Trump, this guy is a win for liberals. Yes, for liberals. Why? Because Trump has much, much worse options for Supreme Court vacancies–political hacks who can pave the way for a deterioration of the separation of powers, the First Amendment, etc.

Gorsuch is not one of those. He can be reasoned with. He will protect the core values of the Republic and the Constitution that both (non-authoritarian) conservatives and liberals revere. He is not the pick we would expect from a non-ambivalent authoritarian; he’s not the sort of rubber stamp judge that, for instance, Putin would pick for a court appointment in Russia. Gorsuch will act independently. He knows what his job function is in a liberal and democratic Republic. If we want to get out the other side of the next four to eight years with our Republic and Constitution functioning and in tact, we better reward Trump when he doesn’t go with his worst impulses. Recall that Trump also didn’t appoint a torture proponent as Secy of Defense. When Trump gets it right, don’t pretend he didn’t. This is good for him and good for the country.


For a party that has often strained to match the fury and zeal of its base during the wave of anti-Trump activism since the election, a full-scale showdown may prove…

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
This entry was posted in atheism, Bernie Sanders, brexit, climate change, donald trump, feminism, hillary clinton, Politics, Ted Cruz, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Let Gorsuch Through

  1. andrewclunn says:

    Agreed. There are battles to fight. The immigration situation (which was executed horribly, even if you agree with the policy) is one of them. This appointment however is not. Hell, as an originalist he seems even more consistent than Sculia (no… well this is a special case because Catholicism).

  2. I see no downside (for Democrats) in filibustering. Goresuch will still get the court seat stolen from the people for a year and held in reserve for him, and Democrats will be able to demonstrate to their base they have at least the capacity for resolve.

    • Santi Tafarella says:


      I think the posturing should be within the confines of the hearings, not in filibuster. The temptation is to take revenge, and it would be just, but the wise thing to do here is to “pet the kitty” for Dr. Evil. Trump has two personalities, and I think it’s because he is, at bottom, a deeply conflicted, ambivalent, man. On the one hand, he has a desire to find the love-spot with everybody, and in this space he can show liberal tendencies (with LGBT rights, with Gorsuch, and with his defense pick, a non-torture grown-up). On the other, he has extraordinary Manichean and authoritarian impulses. I really think Democrats should always reward his better half; that blanket resistance is a huge mistake with a person like Trump. I think he’s capable of evolving, but he also has to be shown that when he moves in a direction that’s reasonable, people don’t pretend he’s still in unreasonable mode. Giving Trump a win on Gorsuch, and not begrudging him that win, makes him more open (I believe) to being reasoned with in the future.

      • I agree with your opinion on a personal level, and disagree as a matter of tactics. It’s good for us spiritually to act with generosity. and I do believe Goresuch is the most qualified pick by far Trump has made yet. However, we are not dealing with a mentally fit president, nor a person who accepts or understands much beyond raw power. He may have a capability to evolve, but he has no interest in doing it. He already believes he is right in all things. Trump will get the win on Goresuch either way. The President already demanded the Senate change the confirmation rules if there’s a filibuster. I say call that bluff. Let’s force McConnell to confirm with a simple majority, if possible. And resistance should be constant and everywhere possible. Call it “forced evolution”.

      • Santi Tafarella says:


        I just don’t think forcing the bare majority option on McConnell is good for the court’s credibility. I’m hoping Gorsuch gets at least 80 votes. It sends a signal that there is bipartisan agreement that the court is a place for justice. It serves the interests of authoritarianism if the courts are perceived cynically. Why not have a strong-man if the liberal and democratic Republic is corrupt from top to bottom, not really a nation of laws with checks and balances on power? I think it’s a direction we don’t want to go.

  3. notabilia says:

    The amount of credulity you express towards these conservative lunatics is bizarre. The Secretary of Trillion-Dollar Wars is somehow against “torture”? By what standard of truth? This anti-rationality religious freak is somehow “liberal”? Count me out of this milquetoast line.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Making distinctions is important to reason–and especially important at this time. You can walk and chew gum at the same time. You can be in the streets and allow that Democratic elected officials will join Trump on the White House lawn for the signing of a bipartisan bill. Not everything has to be a blanket casting of shade. That’s how the Republicans played the Obama years, and here we are on the cusp of autocracy. Let’s pull back from the ledge, moderating the Manichean thinking. What’s going to get us to the other side of Trump jungle is cunning attention to detail, not blind thrashing at the undergrowth because it’s Trump’s.

      • notabilia says:

        I’ve seen this kind of thinking in the academy, trying to forever calm the waters.
        I don’t see social engagement as requiring this endless moderation of passion.
        Does Gorsuch represent your views on death with dignity? Does he embody your views on abortion? Is he, as a Christian moralist friendly to corporate rule, your kind of judge? If not, then no rule of political self-denial says you have to accept his hideous views as worthy of enshrinement as a lifetime solon.
        His views are abominable. Yet because politics and intellectual thought has become so debased in this religious country, he’s now Mr. Clean.

      • andrewclunn says:

        If that’s the way you want it, but then you win or lose all at once, and guess what? You’re going to do nothing but lose for the next 2 years. This wouldn’t even be an issue if not for the Warren court. There have been many “sins” (I use the term without any religious implications here), which have cut away at the system’s authenticity and legitimacy. Both sides ignore those glaring flaws when they’re in power. Both sides continue to erode at it when they’re not, or when their power is insufficient to push through their agenda.

        Burning it to the ground sounds well and good, but I know those thoughts will go away for most democrats as soon as the little r by the president’s name becomes a little d (as it just did in reverse for most republicans). Santi wants a legitimate and civil system regardless of who’s in power. I disagree entirely, and want it to come crashing down, but at least I respect that what he wants as the rules of engagement don’t change based on tribal strategy. Opposing justices because you don’t like their politics is embracing the gamesmanship of the system, while still pretending that it should remain.

  4. notabilia says:

    Do you have any idea what this new fascist regime has been up to in the last two weeks? Do you have any idea what it is gearing up for in the immediate future?
    “Crashes” are horrible acts of unmitigated violence. If that’s what you want,” you’re a sadist.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      I agree with Notabilia that Andrew is being a bit glib here, hoping for chaos. Here’s what Andrew wrote: “Santi wants a legitimate and civil system regardless of who’s in power. I disagree entirely, and want it to come crashing down, but at least I respect that what he wants as the rules of engagement don’t change based on tribal strategy.” I wish he would clarify what he means by crashing the system and how he defines fascism. With what system of values does Andrew mean to replace the pragmatic values of liberal democracy (separation of powers, regular voting, rule of law, independent and free media, and civil rights guaranteed by a constitution, etc.)? Would he have a problem if somebody blew up the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island? If so, why? Wouldn’t that be part of what it meant for the whole system to come down–bringing to ruin its ultimate historic symbol (akin to bringing down Lenin’s statues after the collapse of the Soviet Union)?

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