I was dismayed to learn that the U.S. Senate may eliminate the so-called filibuster rule to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Gorsuch presents impeccable academic and professional credentials and is an extraordinary writer, an articulate spokesman and, by all accounts, a kind person. His Senate testimony, however, took to new extremes the unfortunate post-Robert Bork trend of refusing to answer substantive questions, and his writing and decisions show a deep far-right philosophy that would further imbalance and politicize the court.

When Bill Clinton was president, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, then ranking minority member of the Judiciary Committee, gave him a short list of moderately liberal judges who could win easy confirmation. That list included both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, each of whom received over 80 votes in the Senate. President Obama’s nominees were also moderates, each viewed as more conservative than the justice she replaced.

In contrast, President Trump took Gorsuch’s name from a right-wing Heritage Foundation list, with little or no bipartisan advice.

We are fortunate in Maine to have a bench known foremost as lawyers and unbranded as political partisans. The prestige of the judiciary suffers if it is seen as partisan or imbalanced. Gorsuch’s “originalist” movement was a new, radical concept when I was in law school 35 years ago. Now justices following that approach would occupy almost half of the seats on the bench. Justices who were once moderates are now known as the “liberals” because of this imbalance.

Our nation would be better served today if our president would look for a moderately conservative nominee with enough mainstream support to gain 60 votes in the Senate. The Senate should not break a well-functioning process to force the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch.

Arnold Macdonald

South Freeport