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Star Tribune common sense and the Gorsuch nomination

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Dang if the Star Tribune isn’t surprising the heck out of me with their third reasonable editorial in the span of 11 days.  Perhaps my faithful support as a paperboy and subscriber going back almost 40 years is starting to pay some dividends.

First they penned “Take prudent steps to keep protests safe” where they basically agreed with Republican efforts to more effectively deter protesters from shutting down highways sent a vital message that recent protester behavior is unacceptable.  I praised it as a vital step forward toward restoring order and public safety.

Then on Wednesday they communicated some important energy truth with “Trump acts sensibly on Keystone pipeline:

1. Trump’s move on Keystone “is sensible and will boost public safety in Minnesota.”
2. Pipelines “are safer than rail, truck and ship.”
3. Federal analysis shows that “blocking the pipeline would do little to slow the development of Canadian oil sands” because the “oil would just be transported a different way.”

Now, one day later, they write “Credible nominee merits a fair hearing” about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch:

As a candidate for the presidency, Trump explicitly promised a high court selection who would be philosophically like Scalia. Trump was elected, and Gorsuch fits that description. Voters deserve a proper consideration of this democratic outcome.

Gorsuch is plainly an able and thoughtful jurist, a skilled and incisive legal writer. A conservative textualist and originalist, like Scalia, he is unlikely to favor court-led expansions of progressive social policies. But neither does he appear tolerant of government overreach, especially expansions of executive power. That could prove a valuable inclination in the years ahead.

Above all, Gorsuch is simply, undeniably, a legitimate and respectable nominee. In an often confusing and unsettling time, the Senate and the country can reclaim a measure of normalcy by giving him the fair opportunity he deserves to earn confirmation.

The Star Tribune did not say that the Democrats should rule out a filibuster but such a measure would be “extreme” and “should follow, not precede, an honest evaluation of his qualifications” and “no credible case can be made for committing to that course today.”  In other words, at least give the guy a hearing and an honest chance.

A good chunk of American dividedness is stoked and displayed during Supreme Court confirmations going back, by my reckoning, 30 years ago to when the term “Borked” entered our lexicon.  Smart rising radio host star Hugh Hewitt has a related and worthwhile piece in the Washington Post today on a path forward to repair our broken Senate.

Peter Zeller is Director of Operations at Center of the American Experiment.

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