by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Now, the conservative [Neil] Gorsuch is poised to cast the deciding vote that deals a fatal blow to unions’ taxation of workers who don’t wish to be taxed.
When liberals think of Gorsuch, all they can see is a vision of Judge Merrick Garland, the man President Obama nominated to succeed Scalia. That was the conceit of a New York Times editorial that took the occasion of Janus v. AFSCME to complain about what they ironically — though correctly — labeled “Mitch McConnell’s finest moment.”
For conservatives, it was a useful reminder that there’s still no satisfactory response to those who defend President Trump on the basis of Gorsuch’s nomination alone.
At this point, it’s hard to believe even left-wingers can still work up the energy to claim that Gorsuch is sitting in Garland’s seat. More than ten months after Gorsuch’s confirmation, it is tedious but apparently still necessary to remind the Times editorialists and all the liberals nodding along with them that Garland’s fate was sealed in November 2014, when Republicans won a midterm landslide and a 54–46 majority in the Senate.
There was no precedent for a president of one party demanding that a Senate controlled by the opposition not merely confirm a new justice in the middle of an election year but also flip the Supreme Court from a conservative to a liberal majority. That was never going to happen, and while Majority Leader McConnell’s decision to not even bother holding hearings on Garland was also unprecedented, it merely saved the judge the agony of a confirmation fight that had only one possible outcome.