Hearings for the nominee to be the next SCOTUS have started. These hearings, obscured by the announcement of a criminal investigation involving Trump and his campaign, should also be shaped by the announcement of that investigation as well.

It is starting to appear likely that a Constitutional crisis is developing, and the questions being asked of Judge Gorsuch should have addressed to that possibility. For example, it seems likely that the tax returns of Trump will be subpoenaed by investigators at some point. No doubt Trump will refuse, which will trigger a crisis. If there is sufficient evidence to indict the president or one of his key aides, the justice department will have to make a decision to prosecute. Trump will likely try to prevent that prosecution, leading to another crisis. If Trump himself is indicted, then all bets are off, and the Supreme Court may be the only Branch of Government functioning for a while.

Gorsuch has a reputation for loyalty and protecting powerful interests. That does not bode well for the country. Democrats had plenty of reason to delay and deny this nomination before the specter of the looming Constitutional crisis. They should be even more wary and determined now because it is no longer just a matter of judicial ideology. It may mean the security of the country at stake.

They might also consider asking him his legal opinion of the GOP refusing to perform their Constitutional role of advise and consent with President Obama’s nominee over a year ago. What should happen when one political party refuses to even allow hearings for a nominee? If one year is not too long to refuse to allow any hearings on SCOTUS, how about two years or three? How about waiting for the next election, 3 years away? What happens if Gorsuch says the GOP action was unconstitutional? What remedies should be available? What happens if he says it is Constitutional? Does that mean Dems can refuse to do the same indefinitely? Either way, he should be required to answer that question.

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