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Trump's America: Grand larceny, court seat

The GOP stole a Supreme Court appointment from President Barack Obama.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is weighing the nomination of federal appellate judGetty Images

If someone robbed your house, would you drive the thief to the pawn shop?

So why should Democrats help deliver Neil Gorsuch onto the U.S. Supreme Court? That seat is stolen property, too.

That, when all the lesser arguments are stripped away, is the best argument Democrats have as Senate Republicans try to install the silver-haired Gorsuch as the high court’s fifth conservative justice. Doesn’t the seat belong to Merrick Garland, the eminently qualified Court of Appeals judge who was nominated by Barack Obama last March, only to be denied a vote or even a hearing by Republican leader Mitch McConnell?

Given how Republicans froze out Garland, why should Democrats cooperate this time, even if Gorsuch has a nice resume and an uncanny resemblance to an actor in one of those erectile-dysfunction ads?

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I wasn’t the commentator who first noticed that. But it’s true. The smooth-talking, right-leaning jurist has the exact same twinkle and the same unthreatening tone. Now, he’s putting the moves on Senate Democrats like they’re a party of babe-ish 40-year-olds.

Doesn’t “no” mean no anymore?

There will be an important hearing today in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republicans will tout Gorsuch’s fine credentials and advance his nomination to the Senate floor. But the Republicans still need 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster. On Sunday, Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana became only the third Democrat to fold. That only gets the Republicans to 55.

There are bare-knuckle options on both sides. McConnell threatens to unleash the “nuclear option,” if he can get 50 of his fellow Republicans to go along. “One way or another,” the Republican leader vows, Gorsuch will be confirmed this week. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, still smarting from last year’s home invasion, istaunting his Republican counterpart: Go ahead and try!

There is an answer to this so’s-your-mother back-and-forth, the kind of bipartisan deal that used to get made all the time in Washington. Give this nomination to the man who deserves it, the dissed Merrick Garland, and let Neil Gorsuch — credentials, charm and all— come back the next time a high-court seat is empty.

That would be sensible and fair. Does this one really have to be settled at the pawn shop?

Metro columnist Ellis Henican is a veteran journalist, a bestselling author and a frequent commentator on CNN and other TV networks. Follow him on Twitter @henican.

 
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