Democrats in a vise over Trump's Supreme Court pick

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch, right, meets with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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Having lost the election fair and square, Democrats are still seething. They have apparently decided to retaliate by attacking everything done by the new Republican administration.

The Women's March participants let the world know of their opposition to all things Trump.

Last weekend, President Donald Trump's executive order impacting immigrants from seven Middle Eastern countries drew a fresh round of criticism, including from former President Barack Obama.

Now, Trump has nominated 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill deceased Justice Antonin Scalia's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Gorsuch is a consummately qualified and well-respected jurist. Right on cue, the next salvo in the left's attack on this administration (now, the judicial branch) has been launched.

First, the histrionics: Nancy Pelosi called Gorsuch "a hostile appointment." Sen. Elizabeth Warren called him "a threat to our American values." The Alliance for Justice characterizes him as a (wait for it) "far-right extremist."

Second, the hypocrisy: Predictably, Trump has been slammed for not nominating a so-called "moderate." Yet we all know Republican demands for President Hillary Clinton to nominate someone who was palatable to conservatives would have been met by peals of laughter.

Hypocrisy is standard fare. The attacks on the validity of Gorsuch's nomination, however, are not.

Lacking the votes to block Gorsuch's nomination (unless they filibuster, which Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is threatening), the latest petulant "news" to emanate from the left is that Gorsuch is "stealing" the seat that "should have" gone to Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland. Lefties across the country are tweeting the hashtag #StolenSeat.

This is asinine. Scholars disagree on the obligation of the Senate to hold confirmation hearings. Even if Senate Republicans had held hearings and called for an up-or-down vote on Garland's nomination, there is no guarantee that he would have received enough votes to get the seat. Worst of all, Joe Biden and Schumer both argued for delaying GOP nominees (Bush I in 1992 and Bush II in 2007, respectively). Biden specifically called for a moratorium on judicial confirmations until the next election.

It's clear Democrats are doubling down on the very strategy that lost them the White House and Congress. This is not only a losing strategy; it is also a very dangerous game.

The democratic political processes of most western nations are civilized ways of transferring power, resolving disputes, expressing views and addressing grievances. The left is deliberately and systematically undermining the legitimacy of these institutions.

They do so at their peril. People deprived of ways to peacefully express their political opinions will find ways to express them that are not peaceful. Constant attacks on the legitimacy of the American political process create incentives for people to use other less civil means to achieve their ends.

Unfortunately, much of the left attaches little importance to precedent, because they never intend to hold themselves to the same standard that they expect of the right.

In the spirit of democratic collegiality, I will warn the left: Choose your battles — and your tactics — wisely. You are playing with fire, and we are all likely to get burned.

Laura Hollis is a University of Notre Dame business and law professor. Her column is distributed by Creators Syndicate. The opinions are the writer’s.