Mike Mansfield, who was the longest-serving Senate Majority Leader in the history of the United States, once referred to the Senate as “the world’s greatest deliberative body.” Our Senate is meant to carefully vet each piece of governmental business it encounters and to take its time in the process. But now it is poised to bitterly fight over an unquestionably qualified Supreme Court nominee.

The Senate is a temple of reason. What Democrats are potentially doing to Judge Neil Gorsuch, the current Supreme Court nominee, is unreasonable.

After a rancorous election, virtually everyone expressed a longing for the days when our government and society were not so damaged and divided. As a student who identifies as center-right, I welcomed these calls for respectful discourse, especially being in such a liberal environment. However, it did not take long for me and many others to become disheartened.

Human nature is human nature; Republicans slighted Democrats by stonewalling Judge Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s nominee, and a peaceful confirmation this time around would undoubtedly aid President Donald Trump, leaving many Democrats eager to stymie Gorsuch. However, these purely political concerns must not dictate the policy of loyal congressional opposition.

Slowly but surely, the Supreme Court nomination process has become another outlet for the left and right to vent their many incompatible differences. It used to be that a nominee need only be qualified for the job both professionally and personally. With a few exceptions, modern nominees have virtually sailed through the confirmation process. Fair consideration was granted to Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Roberts and Sonia Sotomayor. The man who nominated them wasn’t a primary issue for these nominees, and neither was the surrounding political climate.

The Republican stonewall of Garland can be remembered as a singular, horribly partisan handling of the independent judiciary. But by blocking the confirmation of an unblemished jurist, Democrats will firmly establish that as a precedent. They will force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) to end the ability to filibuster on Supreme Court nominations — invoking the “nuclear option” — just to maintain a full bench. Scrapping this important extra scrutiny for judges of our nation’s highest court will not only erode the fabric of the Supreme Court’s prestige, but it will send bellicose echoes through the halls of Congress.

It would be easy to say “an eye for an eye.” It would be simple to rally the liberal base by filibustering the nomination of Gorsuch. It would be a great political victory for Democrats to deny Trump his pick. But these short-term triumphs would come with tremendous long-term costs.

One way or another, the president will fill the vacant seat left by Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last February, with his choice of justice. It’s now up to Democrats to either accept reality or face the harrowing consequences of forcing the nuclear option upon the Senate and throwing our American polity into a new era of uncertainty.

Confirming Gorsuch will send multiple messages to an anxious population fraught with anger directed at those of differing political views. First, and to the benefit of their party, Democrats can show they are willing to sacrifice partisan animosity for the benefit of the nation. It would show the American people that our government is willing to come together, even if it means allowing the president to claim a political victory. Additionally, Congress would be able to declare they are committed to the orderly execution of the functions of a well-working government, no matter the ideological differences.

Eventually, citizens on both sides of the aisle need to realize a successful government action can be considered a win for the nation rather than a political party or one politician. Could one construe a Gorsuch confirmation as a victory for Trump? Yes, but that view is short-sighted. The peaceful confirmation of Gorsuch would be a victory for the integrity of the Senate, bipartisanship, the Supreme Court and the nation. This view, I’ll admit, is optimistic at worst and understated at best.

It is understandable to see the current political atmosphere using the former approach. Cynicism is abound in every corner of the nation, in liberal urban enclaves and Trumpian rural towns alike. Yet, if we change our attitudes toward one another, toward the way we discuss political differences, toward the way we conduct the business of government, I believe we can reach a more congenial form of politics.

It has been said that politicians look to the next election while statesmen look to the next generation. Republicans were politicians when they refused to perform their constitutional duties of advising and consenting to a new justice. Democrats can now either prove they are just as petty as their opposition by playing politics with our judiciary, or they could set an example and act like statesmen.

Michelle Obama once told Democrats, “When they go low, we go high.” Talk is cheap. Let’s see if Democrats can act on those words.

Benjamin Keller is a Public Policy junior.

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