The recent decision by Republican-led and partisan inspired Senators to bypass our normal confirmation process represents an ill-considered moment by the world’s greatest deliberative body.
The Supreme Court is a critical nonpartisan instrument of our democratic system designed to check executive and legislative abuses of power, not a partisan extension of the others. In reducing the needed approval for confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to just 51 votes, the Senate has ensured that future candidates, even those of a severely partisan nature, can now be confirmed to our nation’s highest court without a single vote of bipartisan support.
This sets a dangerous trend, particularly for those citizens and communities traditionally left outside the halls of power. In turn, it reinforces to those with power and access that their access and influence will only increase.
There are democratic moments when a leader faces a choice between a patriotic excellence and partisan expediency, this day a misguided Senate majority chose the latter.
The undemocratic action now creates a situation where all presidential nominees for federal courts and executive branch positions can now be confirmed with a mere 51 votes. This is a major blow to the system of checks and balances within our government. It also means that an administration which lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes can now recreate the government in their own partisan image, which leaves the overwhelming majority of us vulnerable.
To those Senators who voted for this option and Judge Gorsuch…
We will remember.
Cornell William Brooks is the NAACP President and CEO.