Senator Heitkamp May Support Gorusch, and She Should

By March 16, 2017North Dakota
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Senator Heitkamp shows encouraging signs of being open to the idea of voting to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court following the hearings starting on March 20.

It would not only be the right thing for Sen. Heitkamp to do, but it would also be the best political strategy for her, being a Democratic Senator here in North Dakota, which went so heavily for President Trump.

A recent Politico article quotes her recent statements about Gorsuch: “We should be open to supporting any nominee. … I wasn’t sent here to respond to [the] pressure [from my fellow Democrats to vote against him].”

People in our state have shown not just support, but downright enthusiasm for Gorsuch.  I see it in the ladies I lead as the state director for Concerned Women for America (CWA) of North Dakota, the largest public policy organization for women in the country. CWA women understand and appreciate the limited role of judges, and they love Judge Gorsuch’s embrace of judicial restraint.

As he said the day of his nomination:

I respect, too, the fact that in our legal order it is for Congress and not the courts to write new laws. It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.

Gorsuch puts the law above politics.  That is why he enjoys bi-partisan support.

Liberal Democratic lawyer David Frederick rightly wrote in a recent Washington Post article that there is “no principled reason” to vote against Gorsuch.

And Frederick is not the only liberal supporting Gorsuch.  In a recent letter, more than 50 of his Harvard Law classmates, spanning the political spectrum, expressed the same sentiment, writing:

We are Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and independents; progressives, conservatives and moderates; religious and non-observant; married, single and divorced; men and women; straight and gay. … What unites us is that… we unanimously believe Neil possesses the exemplary character, outstanding intellect, steady temperament, humility and open-mindedness to be an excellent addition to the United States Supreme Court.

Another letter featured more than 150 of his Columbia classmates who also span the political spectrum but were, “united in [their] belief that [Gorsuch] would serve our country with honor and distinction on the Supreme Court.”

Even the liberal American Bar Association recently gave Gorsuch its highest rating of “unanimous well qualified.”

This is simply a non-controversial nominee.

Gorsuch was even confirmed to the Tenth Circuit appeals court by a simple voice vote — unopposed.  Why should Heitkamp oppose him now?

Thankfully, I don’t think she will.  Some liberals continue to pressure her to vote against him, but their arguments are hollow or plain dishonest.  Heitkamp knows she’s in the Senate because North Dakota voters put her there, and we want her to confirm him.

Furthermore, it looks like Heitkamp won’t try to filibuster or stop Gorsuch with some extreme political antic.  When asked directly if Gorsuch should get a vote instead of being blocked by filibuster, she said, “Absolutely.”

CWA of North Dakota supports her in that stance, and we will continue to urge her to resist extreme liberal pressures to disregard the facts and record of this well-qualified nominee and vote against him because of party loyalty or some sort of symbolical stance against President Trump.  That is the sort of irrational, political gridlock with which North Dakotans are so fed up.

Heitkamp should actually change her openness to Gorsuch to downright support and, in that way, lead the Senate in a new kind of approach to politics — one that puts loyalty to constituents ahead of party. It would be quite a statement.