by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The upcoming confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch might prepare U.S. senators for another confirmation confrontation within the next four years. That’s the prediction from one top senator, as reported by Ryan Lovelace of the Washington Examiner.
As Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, prepares for Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings to the Supreme Court, he said he’s expecting to repeat the process before 2020.
Asked whose seat he expected to open before the next presidential election, Grassley responded, “Oh, I wouldn’t answer that. If I answered for some it’d be like hoping they die.” At the end of Trump’s four-year term, three justices will be older than the life expectancy of U.S. residents. Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy would be older than 78, while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be 87.
Fresh off a lunch meeting with President Trump and Senate Democrats on Gorsuch’s high court nomination and other topics last week, Grassley in an interview with the Washington Examiner expressed confidence that Gorsuch would be swiftly confirmed. Grassley said he did not detect any Republican opposition to Gorsuch and predicted a confirmation with “a lot more than a majority but significant opposition.”
Conservative justices appointed by Republican presidents have routinely faced staunch opposition. Chief Justice John Roberts was confirmed in 2005 by a 78-22 vote that included the support of 22 Democrats, but the Supreme Court’s more conservative members have faced bigger battles. Justice Samuel Alito, another President George W. Bush appointee, was confirmed in 2006 by a 58-42 vote, and Thomas, a President George H.W. Bush appointee, was narrowly confirmed in 1991 by a 52-48 vote.