by Jorie Dybcio
Polarization seems like it has been at an all-time high since this last election. Shall we blame President Donald Trump for this polarization? Of course not, we have no one to blame but ourselves for the growing disparity in the way we interact because of our beliefs. Now that President Trump is in office, however, it is interesting to see the growth of polarization between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans are taking office quickly at Trump’s hand, increasing the power of the right. Trump wants to create a legacy, and what better way to do that than through a Supreme Court justice who will be on the bench long after Trump’s term ends?
Supreme court justices stay in office for quite some time - usually 30 years or more. Many presidents may not even have the opportunity to appoint a justice, due to the low turnover rate from a small number of seats. President Trump had the delightful pleasure of leaving his mark during the first hundred days of his presidency. The results from the Senate were 54-45, after breaking a filibuster. Only three democrats ended up siding with the majority vote. Former justice Antonin Scalia won his seat with 96 votes. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a total of 95 votes. Both were known for being staunchly committed to their ideologies, whether conservative or liberal. With such a divide in the decision for Gorsuch, it seems as though the left and right sides are playing a game of, “but Mom… he started it,” which has always been the case between the two. Though now, this attitude is more prevalent than ever.
Why is it that there is such a tug-of-war between Democrats and Republicans over Gorsuch? He seems fitting as a Supreme Court Justice. He has fine credentials as a Columbia, Harvard, and Oxford graduate, former Supreme Court clerk, and lawyer at both a Washington Law Firm and the Justice Department. He also has served on the United States Court of Appeals in Denver. He has the valuable reputation of being fairly easy to work with and willing to compromise. “As a deep believer in the rule of law, Judge Gorsuch will serve the American people with distinction as he continues to faithfully and vigorously defend our Constitution,” the president has said. There is also a fear that Gorsuch will remain bound to his strict interpretation of the Constitution, as he proclaims to the Senate Committee, “I have one Client-- It’s the law”, depicting his desire for order. However, we should not lose hope that he will be bound to the morality of decisions themselves rather than his label of Conservative.
Interestingly, Gorsuch lives a much different religious life than his politics. Many conservatives have actually shown concern for Gorsuch’ choice of church. He worships in Boulder, Colorado, at St. John's Episcopal Church, where Rev. Susan Springer desires to cultivate a congregation centered around, “a willingness to explore our own interior selves, and a desire to leave the world in some small way better for our having been in it." The church has been known to show desires for peace and justice as Rev. Susan Springer claimed she attended the Women’s March to show her desire for the dignity and rights of all people. Whilst such a claim shouldn’t be inherently understood as what is moral, it is encouraging to know that Gorsuch has a strong backing with a church that may depict more than his strict reading of the Constitution.
Gorsuch clearly holds tight to his Conservative ideology. But we attend a school that holds a similar mission to that of Gorsuch’s congregation. Perhaps as a campus, we can begin to transcend the boxes and labels we subscribe to in order to value those holding positions in offices that we may disagree with. Perhaps we can start viewing the people in office as individuals rather than a puppet to one party or the other. Perhaps we can start believing that the people in those positions will give us a reason trust that they will begin to do the same.