Democratic Leader Senator Chuck Schumer called Republicans out on the Senate floor Thursday for pearl clutching about the nuclear option for their SCOTUS nominee.
Republicans are threatening that they will have no choice but the nuclear option if Democrats don’t vote for President Trump’s supreme court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.
Schumer responded on the Senate floor Thursday, “And for all the hand-wringing by my friends on the other side of the aisle that they cannot imagine Democrats voting against Judge Gorsuch; I would like to remind them that only three — three — of the current senators on the Republican side voted for either of President Obama’s confirmed nominees.”
“Let me repeat that: only three of the current senators on the Republican side voted for either one of President Obama’s confirmed nominees. Most voted for neither.”
“And every single one of them lined up to conduct an ‘audacious’ partisan blockade of Merrick Garland,” the top Democrat reminded Republicans.
“Again, the Republicans are creating a false choice – Judge Gorsuch or a nuclear option – in an attempt to avoid the blame if they change the rules.”
Schumer schooled Republicans that the only reason this vote is even an issue is because Republicans blocked this seat for Obama’s pick for nearly a year, “And they are the only reason that we are here today: they held this seat open for over a year so that this president could install someone handpicked by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society…a lifetime appointment for this president, whose campaign is under investigation by the FBI for potential ties to Russia…”
Schumer had a list of actual reasons Democrats are concerned about Gorsuch, but before that is even an issue, Republicans need to pick a lane.
If things are to work properly, Republicans have to be willing to play by the same rules they set for themselves to some degree.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that Gorsuch would be confirmed next Friday and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) somehow managed to say this with a straight face, “I hope it doesn’t come to that but if the Democrats force our hand, then we’ll be prepared to do what we need to do to confirm the judge.”
So their judge will be confirmed no matter what, which is to flip off the entire idea of a process meant to vet, the constitutional job of advise and consent and the “loyal opposition”. It’s also a joke given that they refused to even vote on President Obama’s pick for almost 300 days.
Listening to Republicans whine about Democrats not confirming Justice Gorsuch yet, you’d think that they hadn’t obstructed President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee for almost 300 days until they waited out his term.
You’d think that they hadn’t lined up, each and every one of them, to block Obama’s pick, Justice Garland- a bipartisan pick respected by both sides of the aisle. You’d also think that Gorsuch’s confirmation was being delayed beyond reason.
McConnell wants a vote on Gorsuch before the April 7th two week recess.
And yet the fact is that the average confirmation time, if you take out Garland who was obstructed for no reason at all by Senate Republicans for almost a year, from the committee hearing beginning to a floor vote is 29 days. That means that McConnell and Republicans are howling about something that is not even delayed yet without their own unprecedented obstruction of Garland added into the equation.
What is happening here is what always happens with the modern day Republican Party, except this time Democrats are poised to not enable the Republican destruction of government.
The usual course of business is Republicans, like an abusive spouse, do something horrible like block Obama’s nominee for 300 days so they can get fill the seat with an ideological, hard right pick.
Democrats do not change the rules to overcome Republican SCOTUS seat obstruction, trying desperately to hang on to some kind of order.
Republicans get the White House, and now their offer is they will stop abusing Democrats if Democrats will just give them what they want. (This never works, because the abuser just keeps moving the goal posts each and every time — meaning in this case that the demands for Republicans to play are their way or punishing dysfunction.) But if Democrats won’t work with them, they will up the abuse to even further levels of destruction of government.
All of this will be the Democrats’ fault, according to Republicans.
This suggests that Republicans feel they aren’t in control of themselves, and are not accountable at all for what they did to Obama’s pick, or the fact that their President is under multiple investigations for possibly colluding with a hostile foreign power to win the White House, which even with their help he barely won.
This is how an abusive partner behaves. And it is incorrect to say “both sides do it” and blame Democrats for not conceding to the abuse. Like an abusive partner in a marriage, Democrats are not perfect. But their imperfection doesn’t excuse or justify Republicans refusing to be accountable to the people – and it is the people they are abusing here. The people are the children, in this case, being used as a weapon for force Democrats to concede time and time again.
Not only is Republican behavior morally wrong and unjust in general, but most importantly, rewarding this kind of destructive abuse of process only enables it. At some point, Democrats have to say no more and hold Republicans responsible for their own choices and behavior.
The media needs to realize that it is not incumbent upon Democrats to rescue Republicans from themselves and the standards they have set. The press must start holding Republicans accountable for their decisions and behavior.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.