Months of mounting fear and anger have finally been realized following the latest nomination announcement from the White House. Donald Trump named Neil Gorsuch his Supreme Court nominee, prompting new outrage from the liberal resistance against his administration. Gorsuch now begins the journey toward confirmation, which could be tricky depending on Senate Democrats' strategy. But easy or difficult, the nomination is a serious signal that Trump wants to upend the balance of the court.
Gorsuch may have officially claimed the nomination, but there's a long way to go before he can actually take the seat on the Supreme Court. First, he has to go through Senate judiciary hearings, which could be a long time from now since there's still so much controversy around Trump's Cabinet nominees. When the committee does meet, the nine Democratic members might give Gorsuch the runaround like none other. Senate Democrats have promised to be just as petty to Trump's nominee as the Republicans were to Merrick Garland, so there's no chance that the nominee isn't coming out of the hearing without being a little scorched.
However, since the committee is a 11-9 Republican advantage, it's very likely that the nomination will move to a full Senate vote with either a positive or mixed report. Depending on how solid the Republican coalition around Gorsuch looks, the Democrats may then be better served by avoiding a filibuster and incurring the wrath of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Reports from inside last weekend's Democratic retreat indicate that McConnell may try to change Senate rules to reduce the number of votes needed to end a filibuster and disempower the opposition. It makes some sense, since appointing a strong conservative to replace Scalia will essentially leave the status quo unchanged, and the Democrats may need to save their political capital for a future nomination. Yet filibustering no matter what still seems in the best interest of the Democrats — that way, McConnell and the Republicans get the bad rep for being uncooperative and the Democrats appease their base with active resistance.
The fight for the open SCOTUS seat may still be a long way from over, but this is only the beginning of what could happen in the next four years. Protesting loudly and clearly against Trump's choice is unfortunately one of the only options for forcing him to make more moderate choices in the future, so get out there and let the world know what you think. Every voice counts in this fight, and you never know what yours could do until you use it.