The Nuclear Option: The Dems Were Against a Filibuster BEFORE They Were For a Filibuster
By Jeff Dunetz
There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity! (Big Daddy in the Tennessee William’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”)
On Friday, Washington D.C. will be filled with the aroma of the fallout from the use of the “nuclear option” being forced upon the Senate by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. On Thursday the stench is much worse. The nation’s capital is filled with the odor of mendacity. Led by the NY Senator, Democrats who objected to filibustering judges in the past lined up to filibuster the most competent judge nominated to the Supreme Court in years, forcing the GOP to invoke the “nuclear option.”
The rationale for the Democrats trying to block the inevitable placement of Judge Gorsuch on the court is that Senator Schumer, also known as Dr. No, has been doing his best to obstruct everyone President Trump has nominated. Schumer caused delays in the voting to approve cabinet members who were going to be approved anyway. And now with the filibuster he is fighting the appointment of Trump’s first Supreme Court nomination. Dr. No understands that Gorsuch will eventually be approved, that is not the issue. The issue is that the very leftist wing of the Democratic Party, still mourning the loss of Hillary Clinton, wants Schumer to fight every single item that the new president proposes.
In supporting the filibuster, many of these mendacious Democrats are not only ignoring the qualifications of Gorsuch (endorsed by the American Bar Association, Barack Obama’s solicitor general, and even Judge Merrick Garland whose selection by Obama was ignored by the Senate because of the “Biden Rule” thought Gorsuch was a good pick), but they are also ignoring their own words.
- In 2013, Senator “Stolen Valor” Blumenthal (D-CT) the fake Vietnam war hero, opined against the filibuster saying, “The major culprit is arcane, anti-democratic rules that I’ve consistently opposed before and during my service in the Senate. The American people deserve cooperation from their representatives in Washington and a commitment from the U.S Senate to allow bipartisan majorities to act in the national interest. I remain hopeful that compromise is attainable in the hours and days ahead, but I will continue to fight for the President’s nominees to receive the up-or-down vote the country needs.” But when it came to Judge Gorsuch, Blumenthal fought against the filibuster the same way that he fought against the North Vietnamese.
- In 2009, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) “downplayed the possibility of a filibuster, saying eight Republicans have personally promised him they will not revert to the tactic. ‘Historically, Supreme Court justices have never been filibustered, and I would hope they would not consider that,’ Durbin said.” Durbin joined the Gorsuch filibuster.
- In 1999, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) thought the filibuster of Judges was wrong “It is our job to confirm these judges. If we don’t like them, we can vote against them. That is the honest thing to do.” (Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congressional Record, 9/16/99, S11015). She reiterated that opinion in 2006 saying that a Judge shouldn’t be filibustered just because you disagreed with them. “Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said in 2006 that you shouldn’t filibuster a nominee for the Supreme Court simply because you disagree with them. ‘I don’t see those kinds of egregious things emerging that would justify a filibuster.’ ‘I think when it comes to filibustering a Supreme Court appointment, you really have to have something out there, whether it’s gross moral turpitude or something that comes to the surface,’ Feinstein continued. ‘Now I mean, this is a man I might disagree with. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be on the court.'” In the case of Judge Gorsuch Feinstein disagreed with herself.
- Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) (the Keith Richards of the senate–he only seems dead) In 1997 Leahy said “I hope we might reach a point where we as a Senate will accept our responsibility and vote people up or vote them down. Bring the names here. If we want to vote against them, vote against them.” (Senator Patrick Leahy, Congressional Record, 10/22/97, S10926). And the next year he said, “I have stated over and over again on this floor that I would refuse to put an anonymous hold on any judge; that I would object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported; that I felt the Senate should do its duty.” (Sen. Leahy, Congressional Record, 6/18/98, S6522) Now perhaps we should forgive Senator Leahy’s hypocrisy. After all, the way his voice sounds, the Keith Richards of the senate may not remember his previous position as he insists on a filibuster of Judge Gorsuch
- In 2013, Senator Tim Kaine, whose middle name is mendacity, blasted the use of the filibuster as Harry Reid ended the practice for all Judges except Supreme Court Justices. “Today’s rules change will end this unprecedented abuse of the filibuster and allow us to begin to break through the gridlock that has frustrated Virginians and prevented us from tackling so many important issues facing our country” Kaine, like Dr. No, puts politics before responsibly and voted against cloture on the issue of Gorsuch
- In 2013, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who earlier this week spoke on the senate floor for fifteen hours criticizing Judge Gorsuch, asked donors to help him end the filibuster “It’s time to end the political games that have hijacked the U.S. Senate. We demand rules that allow the Senate to do its job. Reform the filibuster and allow a fair up or down vote on the important issues.” Please note: there is no truth to the rumor that the real reason the senator spent all night on the senate floor opining against Gorsuch is that he pissed off his wife Mary and simply didn’t want to go home. Perhaps she didn’t want him to filibuster the Judge, and that’s why he couldn’t go home.
- In 2013, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) supported Senator Reid’s elimination of the filibuster for most Judges. “I supported today’s rules change because it’s just common sense that the people who the President picks to work for him or serve in the judiciary deserve an up or down vote.” Maybe Murphy still thinks that Hillary won the election so he voted for the filibuster because he thought Judge Gorsuch wasn’t appointed by a president.
- In 2000 Dr. No, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who invented the routine filibuster of an opposing party’s judge nominations (when Bush #43 was president), and supported Senator Biden’s claim that supreme court judges should not be evaluated during a presidential campaign, said of filibustering judges, “It is an example of Government not fulfilling its constitutional mandate because the President nominates, and we are charged with voting on the nominees. The Constitution does not say if the Congress is controlled by a different party than the President there shall be no judges chosen.” (see video below). Long ago Sen. Schumer forgot his obligation to NY voters and America, instead the former dealmaker became someone who objected to, or publicly vilified, any proposal or person who came from the other party.
Other mendacious Democrats who publicly bloviated against the filibuster, but voted to filibuster Judge Gorsuch include Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), and Sen. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren.
The filibuster of Judge Gorsuch is even more absurd when one realizes that Judge Bork, a brilliant jurist who was unfairly slandered by Ted Kennedy as a hater of all things American, received an up or down vote. So did Clarence Thomas who was accused by the Democrats of being a sexual predator (obviously he was confirmed) because he was both African-American and conservative. But Judge Gorsuch whose only crime was that the president who appointed him beat Hillary Clinton in the election, gets filibustered.
In the end, when it comes to Supreme Court Justice votes in the future, today’s vote and the resulting nuclear option will have little effect. There was NEVER a 60 vote threshold for nominating Supreme Court justices, and Judge Gorsuch will be a supreme court justice by the weekend.
This was the first partisan filibuster of a Judge in the 228-year history of the U.S. Supreme Court, meaning that the nuclear option will prevent the next partisan filibuster which would be due 228 years from now in the year 2245.
The real result of the Democrat filibuster is the continued disintegration of the congress into a partisan political street fight, first begun on January 23, 2009 when House minority leader Eric Cantor visited the White House on the 1st weekend of Barak Obama’s presidency. When Cantor offered some suggestions for the upcoming stimulus bill, the new president told him the ideas were not welcome because,“Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.”
President Trump has tried to bring the parties together, meets with people of all sides, and seems willing to make compromises. Despite this, NY Senator Chuck Schumer retains the role of Dr. No and objects to anything President Trump proposes. Until Schumer becomes a legislator rather than a roadblock, America will suffer from a dysfunctional legislature, perhaps even leading the GOP-led senate to eliminate the only remaining filibuster for legislation. When this happens it will be the result of the near-automatic filibuster of judges appointed by a POTUS of the opposing party which was invented by Chuck Schumer in the first year of the Bush #41 administration. In November of 2003 the NY Times explained:
When Charles E. Schumer recommended using an extreme tactic the filibuster — to block some Bush administration nominees for federal judgeships, he put himself in the cross hairs of the president’s Republican and conservative allies.
Over the last two years, Mr. Schumer has used almost every maneuver available to a Senate Judiciary Committee member to block the appointment of the more controversial judges nominated by the Bush administration, drawing fire from the political right for both his method and his success.
Gridlock, thy name is Chuck Schumer.
First published at Lid Blog
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