NPR

Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings End And The Political Games Begin

The Senate Republicans have the vote and clout to ensure Judge Neil Gorsuch is confirmed as Supreme Court justice. The only question is, how are the Democrats going to play their final losing cards.

Political predictions are a dangerous business, especially this year. But it does look as though one way or another, the U.S. Senate will vote to confirm the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The open question is how much damage Democrats will do to their own long game in the process.

The long game is this: confirming Gorsuch will not change the overall liberal-conservative balance on the Supreme Court. But two of the current sitting justices are over 80, and a third is nearly 79. These three are considerably less conservative than Justice Antonin Scalia, whose death created the vacancy that Gorsuch has been nominated to fill.

So if any of these three justices were to retire in the next four years, or perhaps eight, President Donald Trump would have the opportunity to nominate a conservative justice to replace a liberal or centrist justice, and the balance of the nation's highest court would be dramatically tipped to the right.

In short, the next confirmation fight will be Armageddon. And if Democrats have a weak hand this time, they could

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