It is not possible to steal a Supreme Court seat. It highlights the arrogance of the Democratic Party that they think they were entitled to a Supreme Court seat. The President, as even Donald Trump is learning, does not always get what he wants.
But Democrats believe any system that denies they what they want is illegitimate, so they have conjured from thin air the grievance that a Supreme Court seat was “stolen.”
The constitution, which the Democrats only like when it works to their advantage, requires that the Senate advise and consent to nominees to the Supreme Court. The Senate did not consent to the nomination of Merrick Garland. It was under no obligation to hold hearings, and that precedent had long been established. Joe Biden, as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, refused to hold hearings on Republican nominees at the end of a Presidential term.
Democrats may want to believe the process was unfair, but Republicans can just as easily argue that Harry Reid’s procedural sleight of hand to scrap the filibuster for nominations was unfair. In the more and more tit for tat game of politics, this is to be expected.
The reality, however, is that a Supreme Court seat cannot be stolen because it requires the Senate’s agreement. The Senate did not agree, and if anyone should be blamed, it should be Barack Obama who knew he would create a volatile situation by nominating Merrick Garland in the middle of a Presidential campaign at the end of his tenure in office. But that is exactly what the Democrats wanted because they thought it would spur turnout for Hillary Clinton.
Unfortunately for them, it may have helped Donald Trump more than anything else. 1 in 5 people voted in November with the Supreme Court as their chief issue, and 60% of them voted for President Trump.
I dare say the Democrats are more outlandishly butt hurt over this situation because deep down they realize they overplayed their hand on this matter, but cannot bring themselves to admit it.
If the Democrats want to continue claiming a Supreme Court seat was stolen, Republicans in the Senate should just start ignoring them. There is no question Neil Gorsuch is qualified. Many of the Democrats now whining loudest voted for Gorsuch previously. The GOP should expedite hearings for Neil Gorsuch and place him quickly on the Supreme Court.
Democrats may hide behind their grievance fantasies of stolen seats and stolen elections, but Republicans should not humor them. The constitutional processes are working, there is no crisis, and we all know Democrats’ complaints would not exist if the process happened to be working in their favor. We can also be assured that were it the tail end of Mitt Romney’s tenure in office, a Democratic Senate would have treated his Supreme Court nominee exactly as the Republicans treated Merrick Garland. How can we be sure? Because that is exactly how Joe Biden treated the federal court nominees of President George H. W. Bush in 1992.