In the Daily Kos piece, “Gorsuch: Always remember and never forget, when Republicans lose, they cheat” by Kerry Elenveld, the author makes a very cogent argument about how when national Republicans cannot win by rules they hold Democrats to, they then often change those rules.
One specific case Elenveld cites is the 2000 presidential election, where Republicans on the Supreme Court voted along partisan lines to stop vote counting because it was becoming clear that their preferred candidate was not likely to win. This had ramifications for the court itself, considering that the next president appointed two of its current members, one as the Chief Justice. In fact, that very Chief Justice spent time as a lawyer in Florida in 2000 arguing for George W. Bush, the man who later appointed him.
The current thread that this article finds is again with the Supreme Court, one of the institutions often proclaimed by conservatives to be above politics. This time they went through with the long-threatened “nuclear option”, removing Senate filibuster rules on Supreme Court nominees, something both parties have threatened in the past, but none have followed through on.
Well, that debate is now over, as Democratic Senators stood together with enough votes to filibuster the nomination of Gorsuch this week. And in response, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changed Senate rules, no longer requiring a sixty vote majority to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. Two hundred years of tradition out the window with one decision.
Some might think this is a good thing, as filibusters do tend to remove the majority rules issue that often hampers good legislation. But this stings with special smartness considering that the vacancy was never allowed to be filled under the previous president, and the current president is under a cloud of legitimacy questions involving Russia connections.
Either way, this does not bode well for claims that the Supreme Court is above partisanship.