The current Supreme Court justices will likely be quickly joined by recent Donald Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, given that Republicans have a virtual stranglehold on the Senate. This appointment will represent a huge consolidation of power for the Trump administration.
The Associated Press notes Republican-controlled committees in charge of vetting other Donald Trump nominees for the Treasury Department suspended the rules to override minority Democrats, which means blocking Neil Gorsuch from joining the nation’s highest court is also probably a losing battle.
But what will be the impact of Trump’s far right nominee on the Supreme Court and its future judicial decisions? While only time will tell, we already have a few clues.
‘Apprentice’ Supreme Court Justices
The selection and announcement process for the new Trump Court nominee was as unconventional as the rest of the 10-day-old Donald Trump administration has proven to be. In the past, an individual chosen to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States would have been brought to Washington and announced by the president in a fairly straightforward way.
But nothing about Donald Trump is straight forward. Hearkening back to his days hosting the reality show, The Apprentice, Trump decided to have two different “candidates” fly to Washington so as to present the actual Supreme Court nominee in the usual Trump over-the-top style.
That Trump reduces United States Supreme Court justices to little more than the winners of a beauty pageant he is hosting is hardly surprising. More important – and alarming – is the effect that Donald Trump Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will have on the Supreme Court and its decisions.
Tilting the Supreme Court
Justices on the Supreme Court are – in theory – supposed to put aside their own personal political ideology or religious beliefs when a adjudicating the law, but in the real world, this doesn’t always prove to be the case. In recent decades in particular, Republicans have tried to nominate and install Supreme Court justices more likely to render judgments matching their party’s policies.
In fact, Republicans were willing to prevent President Obama’s most recent Supreme Court nominee from even getting a hearing in order to ensure that the balance of the Supreme Court Justices did not tilt to the left following the death of Justice Scalia. A Donald Trump Court nominee is only possible at this moment because of this filibustering by Republicans.
Court decisions by Judge Neil Gorsuch make it clear that he is strongly supportive of deregulating private industry as can be seen in his assertion that a 1984 Supreme Court decision regarding Chevron Oil devolved too much authority on federal agencies.
“Where in all this does a court interpret the law and say what it is? When does a court independently decide what the statute means and whether it has or has not vested a legal right in a person? Where Chevron applies that job seems to have gone extinct.”
As noted by RNN, other previous Neil Gorsuch judicial opinions on a range of issues closely match that of the far right of the Republican Party, from religious beliefs overriding reproductive rights to assisted suicide for terminally ill patients; the latter of which Gorsuch argued strongly against in both a 2000 article and a book he published in 2006.
The left-leaning or moderate Supreme Court justices are going to have difficulty restraining their right-leaning colleagues once Donald Trump Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is inevitably confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as an Associate Justice. And the court will become even more tilted in favor of right-wing conservatives if – as seems quite possible given the age of some of the currently serving liberal members of the court – Donald Trump is able to nominate more Supreme Court justices in the future.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]