Editorial: Senate goes ‘nuclear’

April 4, 2017

What a disgrace! By any rational standard Judge Neil Gorsuch — who was unanimously confirmed for his appeals court post — is a first-rate choice for the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a man well-suited by virtue of his experience and his temperament to sit on the nation’s highest court.

And yet the atmosphere in Washington, D.C., has grown so partisan and so toxic that his qualifications seem to matter little to Democrats determined to exact their revenge for Republican efforts that killed the nomination of Merrick Garland.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, insisted Gorsuch’s answers during two days of questioning were “diluted with ambiguity.”

It was, of course, a fig leaf. But so it goes.

“If they oppose Neil Gorsuch, they will oppose any nominee of this president,” said U.S. Sen John Cornyn (R-Texas).

And that means the end of what little remained of Senate tradition and the comity often attributed to the upper branch. The Democrats have enough votes to filibuster the Gorsuch nomination. The Republicans have enough votes to change the rules — the so-called “nuclear option” — and confirm him with a 52-vote majority.

Frankly this distinguished nominee deserved better. And surely the people of Massachusetts deserve better than our two “me-too” Democratic members of the U.S. Senate. Senate Democrats will come to regret this day.