There are only nine justice positions on the United States Supreme Court. At present one remains unfilled. The person originally nominated for that justice seat was Merrick Garland. He was nominated a little over a year ago on March 16, 2016. In an unprecedented action the Republican controlled US Senate refused to meet with him or grant him a hearing. Their role in the nomination was to advise the president and consent to or not consent to his nomination. This it refused to do.
The one thing you could say about Merrick Garland is that he was not nominated by a president who surrounded himself with people who are under investigation by the FBI for colluding and conspiring with Russia to undermine the American election. He was nominated by a president above any suspicion so that had he been approved by the Senate he would have joined the Supreme Court without any taint.
Thus it is that Democratic Senate leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for a halt to the nomination process in which he was joined by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Shumer said: “It is unseemly to be moving forward so fast on confirming a Supreme Court justice with a lifetime appointment while this big gray cloud of an FBI investigation hangs over the presidency.”
Speaking on the Senate floor yesterday Shumer called it “the height of irony that Republicans held this Supreme Court seat open for nearly a calendar year while President Obama was in office, but are now rushing to fill the seat for a president whose campaign is under investigation by the FBI.”
He continued by saying: “You can bet that if the shoe was on the other foot—and a Democratic President was under investigation by the FBI—that Republicans would be howling at the moon about filling a Supreme Court seat in such circumstances,”
Some people have suggested that the Supreme Court is such an important body in our nation that a nominee to that position should never have a cloud him or her. That the appointment of a justice by an administration that has a cloud over it, especially one that may be found to have colluded with the Russian, will forever diminish the standing of the Supreme Court in the view of the nation.
That, of course, is all rubbish.
The status of a president at the time of his making a nomination to the Supreme Court is all that is important. If the president is the person who was duly sworn in as president and he is holding his office during that time then all his acts are considered the acts of the president. That is the only way that the nation can function. In other words no matter what you believe of Trump or how you believe he gained the presidency, by hook or crook, he is still the president. His acts are the acts of the president until such time he no longer holds that position.
For instance, during the time the FBI is investigating the Trump team’s relationship with the Russians business must go on as usual in Washington. For one thing we know an FBI investigation can go on endlessly. When Congress passes laws the person holding the office of the president will sign or veto those laws.
For the argument that Gorsuch’s nomination is tainted to hold water then you would have to assert that all the legislation Trump signed into law during his tenure is tainted. No one has even hinted at that for to suggest otherwise would end up with a state of anarchy. For until Trump resigns or is removed from office he is the only president we will have and his acts as long as he holds that office are as valid as the acts of any other president.
It was only a short time ago the Democrats were complaining that there were only eight justices on the Supreme Court. It seems their remedy for that is to keep it at eight in perpetuity. Whatever Trump’s sins may be they do not fall on a guy like Gorsuch. Nor will his appointment to the Supreme Court bring any taint to the institution.