The New York Times editorial board criticized President Donald Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court but said that Democrats should not play tit-for-tat by obstructing the confirmation process the way Republicans did with former President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland last year.
The editorial admitted that Gorsuch is widely respected and, with a reliably conservative voting record, would normally be an obvious choice for a Republican president, but the Times argued that Garland was both more moderate and more qualified than Gorsuch.
It also emphasized that this is not normal times, because the GOP, in refusing to hold confirmation hearings for Garland, outrageously "discarded a constitutional duty that both parties have honored throughout American history and hobbled an entire branch of government for partisan gain."
Trump missed a great opportunity to repair some of that damage, and the Times said his "failure to choose a more moderate candidate is the latest example of his refusal to acknowledge his historic unpopularity. A wiser president faced with such circumstances would govern with humility and a respect for the views of all Americans."
The editorial board said that although "any Democratic impulse to mimic the Republican blockade by filibustering Judge Gorsuch would be understandable ... Senate Democrats should be wary of stooping to the Republicans' level."
The Times dismissed this as impractical, "especially because any such effort is likely to prove futile, since Republicans have the votes to simply eliminate the use of the filibuster against Supreme Court nominees."
Instead, the editorial said the only real weapon the Democrats have left for now is to ask him difficult questions on his views in the confirmation hearings. "Given the events of recent days, senators should press Judge Gorsuch on how he would approach constitutional questions that have already arisen out of Mr. Trump's actions as president, like his order barring refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, or his alleged violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution."
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