GOP Speaks Loud and Nuclear on SCOTUS Picks
What goes around comes around. Senate Republicans warned Harry Reid of that very thing when he pushed the plunger down on the dynamite blowing up the judicial nomination process in 2013. Three years ago, the outgoing Senate leader blew up the 225-year-old process and cleared the way for a simple majority to rubber stamp the President’s outrageous nominees. 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 had the potential to explode in the Democrats’ face.
At the time, Senate Republicans like Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) warned the president’s party not to go through with it. By opening this door, Reid was almost guaranteeing that under a GOP president and Senate, the Democrats would suddenly be on the wrong side of the same rules they manipulated. “Democrats set the standard,” Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) reminded everyone this week. “They really screwed up the rules. Frankly, they did it for pure political purposes. Republicans are not limited now.” Incoming Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) may be on the verge of learning that lesson the hard way. With at least one Supreme Court vacancy to fill, the GOP is warning Democrats to avoid the temptation to obstruct. “We’re going to confirm the president’s nominee one way or the other. And there’s an easy way, and there’s a hard way,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said this week. “They just need to accept that reality.”
Fellow Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) echoed that message pointing out that the Democrats would never succeed in filibustering Donald Trump’s nominees. Not to mention that blocking the president-elect’s court picks — especially when so many Americans listed SCOTUS as one of their primary concerns — would put the Democrats on the wrong side of voters again. As Leonard Leo, the Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society (which help Trump craft his Supreme Court list) pointed out, “Mr. Trump has a plane and double-digit victories where Senate Democrats are up for re-election, obstructing his nominees will be a political loser.” And while incoming Minority Leader Schumer has another six years before facing voters again, 25 of his colleagues won’t be so lucky. Playing nice on Trump’s nominees isn’t just the best decision for the country — but for a struggling Democratic Party.
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