April 03, 2017
There’s never been a successful filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee in history -- but that won’t stop the Democrats from trying! The hard-headed minority is insisting that it’ll pull off what no party in America ever has: blocking Neil Gorsuch from an up-or-down vote. Nevermind that Democrats blasted the GOP for threatening the same thing under President Obama. As far as Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is concerned, some political views were only meant to last as long as the party’s power does.
The Democrats’ outrage over the filibuster seems to be one of them. As recently as 2013, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) shamed the GOP for considering the very thing she’s advocating today! “We need to call out these filibusters for what they are -- naked attempts to nullify the results of the last presidential election… If Republicans continue to filibuster these highly qualified nominees for no reason other than to nullify the president’s constitutional authority, then senators not only have the right to change the filibuster rules, senators have a duty to change the filibuster rules.” If you looked up the definition of hypocrisy in the dictionary, this would be it.
And here’s the kicker. These same senators -- Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Dick Durbin, Patty Murray, Patrick Leahy, Ron Wyden, Jack Reed, Tom Carper, Bill Nelson, Debbie Stabenow, Maria Cantwell, and Bob Menendez -- all supported Neil Gorsuch’s 2006 nomination. Did the president’s Supreme Court pick suddenly become unqualified? Not according to the American Bar Association, who gave the 49-year-old its highest recommendation. As far as the GOP is concerned, it’s only a matter of how -- not whether -- Gorsuch will be confirmed. Earlier this afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee cleared the final hurdle before the real showdown begins, voting Gorsuch to the floor along party lines.
At least some Democrats seem to understand that keeping Gorsuch from his seat could force them to lose theirs! Blocking the president’s pick -- especially when so many Americans listed SCOTUS as a top concern in the November elections -- would put Democrats on the wrong side of voters, again. And in the states that Trump carried, that may as well be political suicide. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) seemed to grasp that, announcing their intent to vote for Gorsuch. “He has a record as a balanced, meticulous, and well-respected jurist,” Heitkamp said late last week. Unfortunately, colleagues like Feinstein don’t agree. “When President-elect Trump is willing to support reasonable politics and nominees, I’ll hear him out. But this committee has a vital role to protect the Constitution…” It that was not such a deceptive statement it would be comical. Since when have radicals like Feinstein ever cared about protecting the Constitution? Their only interest has been in finding activist judges to carry out agendas they could never pass legislatively.
Meanwhile, if there is drama on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) insists it will be short-lived. “What I can tell you is that Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week,” he told reporters. Senate Republicans like Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) warned the Democrats four years ago not to go through with their plans to blow up the judicial confirmation process. But Senator Harry Reid didn’t listen and pushed the plunger down on the dynamite, shattering the 225-year-old tradition. Instead of requiring 60 votes to end debate on a nomination, liberals lowered the threshold to 51. They call it the “nuclear option” -- and rightly so, since it’s about to mushroom into something Chuck Schumer never thought possible.
What goes around comes around. And now, under a Republican president and Senate, the Left is on the wrong side of the same rules they manipulated. To pitch a fit at this point, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) argued, is like “an arsonist complaining about a fire.” FRC has been a vocal proponent of Gorsuch’s -- not because he agrees with us on the importance of life and religious liberty, but because he recognizes the Constitution does. “Judge Gorsuch’s testimony, and the testimony of witnesses who actually know him, creates a dilemma for anybody desperately searching for a reason to vote oppose his nomination,” Grassley wrote in a new column. “Because if you’re voting on qualifications and not politics, it’s an easy yes.” Americans, Democrat and Republican, want justices who follow the letter of the law. It’s a shame their liberal senators don’t.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.