Patterico's Pontifications

1/31/2017

Democrats May Be Backing off Threat to Filibuster Any Trump Supreme Court Nominee

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

Yesterday, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon made the oafish announcement that he planned to filibuster President Trump’s Supreme Court pick, no matter who it was. Speculation ran rampant on the right that this was part of a larger plan by the Democrat Senate leadership. If so, they may be reconsidering:

Senate Democrats are weighing whether to avoid an all-out war to block President Donald Trump’s upcoming Supreme Court pick, instead considering delaying that battle for a future nomination that could shift the ideological balance of the court, sources say.

Democrats privately discussed their tactics during a closed-door retreat in West Virginia last week. And a number of Democrats are trying to persuade liberal firebrands to essentially let Republicans confirm Trump’s pick after a vigorous confirmation process — since Trump is likely to name a conservative to replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

The reason for the tactic: Republicans are considering gutting the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees if Democrats stay largely united and block Trump’s first pick. By employing the so-called “nuclear option,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could move to reduce the threshold for clearing a filibuster from 60 votes to 51 votes.

That would mean Democrats could lose leverage in the next Supreme Court fight if Trump were to replace a more liberal justice, since the GOP now has 52 seats in the Senate.

Of course, this may just be a move to undo the rhetorical damage from Merkley’s ham-handed declaration. This way, now they can pretend that their filibuster was really because this particular nominee (read: anyone Trump names) was just so, so extreme!

It really is the wrong time for Democrats to go ballistic. Justice Scalia was one of the most conservative justices in decades. No matter who Trump names, it will maintain the balance of power that has existed for years — one that has brought plenty of victories for the left. Sure, the left would like to make some gains, but you have to win a Presidency and some Senate races to do that, don’t you?

Given Mitch McConnell’s recent unwise declaration that the nuclear option is off the table, the Democrats’ decision whether to filibuster the nominee announced today will be very consequential.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back, the only place where I will be commenting on this post.]

66 Responses to “Democrats May Be Backing off Threat to Filibuster Any Trump Supreme Court Nominee”

  1. mcconnell needs to have his weak pervy ass replaced as leader then his sleazy wife can be fired and this how we drain the swamp

    i see this very clearly

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  2. Heh! He’s gonna do the Democrat spin. “We did not repeal the filibuster rule. We simply voted that only 51 cloture votes were needed to bring Justics X’s nomination to the floor for a vote.”

    nk (dbc370)

  3. Democrats can enjoy their turn at being the party of Wiley Coyote for a while. If they’re smarter than the Party of Stupid they will stop doing what they’ve been doing after they see it doesn’t work.

    Dem Congressional leadership is getting inundated with activists demanding they block every single Trump nominee to anything.

    Yeah, that’ll work out.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  4. His second wife, who married him in 1993, is Elaine Chao, the former Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush. On November 29, 2016, it was announced that President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate Chao for Secretary of Transportation when he takes office.[91]

    Maybe Trump can delay Chao’s confirmation to leverage McConnells cooperation with the Supreme court nominee?

    Doh!

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/senate-confirms-chao-as-trumps-transportation-secretary/article/2613479

    papertiger (c8116c)

  5. i love how you think

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  6. DHS Sec Kelly just destroyed the MSM meme about him being out of the loop and there being “chaos” at various ports of entry. Very good (for Trump) performance. The guy is smart.

    Shipwreckedcrew (69e835)

  7. Its an indictment of Chao as a go-along-get-along and also the reality that in order for cheddar to flow to their projects, they best not speak against her.

    Kelly is proving his mettle. Time to sacrifice one of the Steves though – maybe the one James Baker wouldnt mind getting rid of. Flynn is getting shut down more and more.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  8. Merkley, snorfle, yes it appears ragsdale was coordinating the slow down

    narciso (d1f714)

  9. Shipwrecked said:
    “DHS Sec Kelly just destroyed the MSM meme about him being out of the loop and there being “chaos” at various ports of entry. Very good (for Trump) performance. The guy is smart.”

    Link or source?

    Harkin (afc7a6)

  10. The original purpose of the filibuster rule was to encourage debate. Now it is used to prevent debate. It is sign of the times that even thinking about restoring the filibuster to its original purpose is considered “nuclear”. I’m all for allowing the Ds to speak on the issue provided they stay on topic, no reading the phone book or Dr. Seuss’s tales, subject to being ruled out of order.

    By the way, the Houthis attacked a Saudi Frigate off Yemen on Monday with a small suicide boat. Two Saudi sailors were killed and three injured. They also launched a “ballistic” missile, meaning a rocket that went up in the air and came down under the pull of gravity, somewhere else, presumably out of sight, against a military base on the island of Zugar in the Red Sea. This is a continuation of activities that began in earnest last fall.

    And in Seattle, the thugs have promised to shut down the Federal Building every Tuesday until Trump is gone. These thugs will all be operating under the approval of the local power base. It will be interesting to see how long these disruptions are tolerated. Of course, the rioting will only really affect those who use public transportation to get to and from work, and they are not one of the special interest groups upon which Democrat power is based. If Trump remains in office, will it become necessary for the thugs to occupy the building? Anything is possible in Seattle. During Bush 43, a “non-partisan” County Councilman led the occupation of a lesser Federal building that saw workers and visitors trapped in elevators while the occupation lasted. And these buildings and their occupants are all very soft targets … guaranteed “gun free”. Have at it boys.

    BobStewartatHome (c24491)

  11. Let’s rewind. Then-Senator Barack Obama voted against both Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, and even voted to filibuster Justice Alito.

    A mere few years later, two of his nominees sailed through with minimal disruption, because Republicans believed in giving them a fair hearing and then moving on with life.

    The only issue came in 2016, when Justice Scalia died. It would have been the first time that a member of one political party nominated the replacement of an appointee of the opposite party since George H.W. Bush was in office, and it would have been the first election-year appointment since the 1930s.

    The appointment of Supreme Court justices is a two-part process: nomination by the President and confirmation by the Senate. The basic GOP argument, aside from the above, was that the voters wanted a deadlock by putting Republicans in charge of Congress. (Recall that in 2012, the chance of the GOP taking back Congress in 2014 was a mere 2%. Not only did they take it back, they completely swept.)

    So the argument was thus: “The voters deliberately created this deadlock. Let them resolve it in November. We’ll go along with whatever their choice is.”

    Not only did they say that, but legions of PACs, non-profits, and religious leaders followed suit. SBA List, the pro-life alternative to Emily’s List, blanked the Midwest begging people to vote for Trump to save the Supreme Court. National Right to Life came out in support of a man who used to support partial-birth abortion because of Antonin Scalia’s seat.

    Trump wins by a narrow margin in states that hear that message.

    While the Democrats can find a different justification for blocking nominees, there’s no way in hell that it’s “because you guys did it too [sticks out tongue].”

    bridget (1c91a9)

  12. A mere few years later, two of his nominees sailed through with minimal disruption, because Republicans believed in giving them a fair hearing and then moving on with life.

    You forgot the part about the Democrats holding 60 senate seats during one confirmation, and 59 during the other.

    Dave (bbfae3)

  13. When a Democrats acts like a Democrat, he’s “oafish;” when a Republican acts like a Democrat, he’s “unwise.” Okay, but that seems backward to me.

    Maybe some in the Democratic Party are finally figuring out that reflexive Republican-hating is a loser – I seem to recall a story about a boy crying wolf. Perhaps others will follow.

    I do, however, think this sort of reflexive hating is a winner for Trump. I’m hoping they’ll keep it up.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  14. 59 and Lindsey.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  15. Maybe some in the Democratic Party are finally figuring out that reflexive Republican-hating is a loser – I seem to recall a story about a boy crying wolf. Perhaps others will follow.

    I agree it is foolish to turn every issue into the battle of Armageddon, especially when there is absolutely no way you can win.

    On the other hand, it is kind of amusing that Trump’s cheerleaders, who were outraged that the “cucks” in the “GOPe” tried to pick their fights intelligently over the last eight years, are now equally outraged that the Democrats are using the same no quarter, scorched-earth tactics that they demanded Boehner, McConnell and Ryan adopt.

    Dave (bbfae3)

  16. I know that it was their claim, that they “tried to pick their fights intelligently.” I’m just having trouble coming up with any specific fights – any at all.

    I think there must be a middle ground between “zip” and “everything, including the kitchen sink.” Both strategies make their proponents look bad.

    Foolishness is a bipartisan calling.

    Nice comment at #1, happy.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  17. A mere few years later, two of his nominees sailed through with minimal disruption, because Republicans believed in giving them a fair hearing and then moving on with life.

    You forgot the part about the Democrats holding 60 senate seats during one confirmation, and 59 during the other.

    No, I did not forget. You are forgetting that there are more ways than votes to derail a nominee, such as Borking them. No Senator slimed either woman (to any appreciable extent).

    I would be willing to bet that it will be in clear contradistinction to the howling of rage that will emit from the Left at approximately 8:01 pm Eastern this evening, if Trump appoints an intellectual heir to Antonin Scalia.

    Moreover, while a lot of Republicans did vote against each nominee (and one Democrat crossed party lines to vote down Kagan), there were no real attempts to filibuster. If the Democrats want a situation like Kagan’s or Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing, wherein the nominee goes to a 50% plus 1 (Pence being the tiebreaker) vote, and about 10%-20% of the opposition party votes in favour, I’m all for that.

    bridget (1c91a9)

  18. this is the most inspiring thing i’ve ever seen

    you’ll rise up out of your seat

    you will cheer

    you will transcend

    and you’ll wanna share it with someone you love

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  19. The reality is as that Merkely can’t “filibuster” the nomination unless he has 40 Dems join him, no matter what plan he announces. He might intend to try to talk the Senate out, but that never works. His colleagues might support him for a while, but for Trump state Dems worried about 2018, they accomplish all they need to accomplish by not supporting the filibuster and then voting “No” on the nomination.

    Heck, a few might need to vote “Yes” to help themselves back home.

    Schumer has already given up the game by stating he will “oppose the nominee” with all his might. He hasn’t said he’ll filibuster the nomination. Opposing the nominee can be as little as simply giving a rousing speech on the floor denouncing the nomination and voting “No.” It doesn’t necessarily mean trying to kill it with a filibuster.

    Schumer already regrets — and he counseled against it at the time — Reid having blown up the 60 vote rule for cabinet appointees. He fears that McConnell’s caucus will force him to do it for SCOTUS nominees if the Dems try to filibuster. He also knows that if Trump holds on and is elected for a second term, given the ages of 3 oldest members of the Court, there’s a decent chance that Trump will name 3 or 4 Justices over 8 years. The last thing he wants is to be the Senate Minority leader who was powerless to stop that.

    So, he’ll work to prevent a filibuster behind the scenes since, as the Post points out, replacing Scalia with a conservative doesn’t alter the political dynamic of the Court. Much better to save his bullet for the next nominee.

    shipwreckedcrew (e90d7c)

  20. McConnell’s country is the Senate. The needs of the people come second.

    Kevin M (e4a538)

  21. Maybe Trump can delay Chao’s confirmation

    You misspelled “withdraw”

    Kevin M (e4a538)

  22. ==Schumer has already given up the game by stating he will “oppose the nominee” with all his might.==

    There had better be tears or no one will take him seriously.

    elissa (2211a2)

  23. Is Gorsuch going to be the nominee?!

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  24. Is there a Crying Schumer meme out there like Crying Michael Jordan?

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  25. @180 Gabriel Hanna

    Has “The Enemy of My Constitution Is My Freind” been trademarked yet?

    Pinandpuller (16b0b5)

  26. Trump has invited the two “finalists” for SCOTUS to the announcement tonight.

    Very Apprentice-y.

    *face palm*

    Patricia (5fc097)

  27. Joe Biden began crying when Barack surprised him with the participation trophy a few weeks ago.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  28. Apparently, the leaks are already out that it’s Gorsuch.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  29. Maybe President Trump has a nice consolation prize to award to the runner up in the SC sweepstakes. Otherwise I cannot imagine him bringing them both to Washington. That would be pretty cruel.

    elissa (2211a2)

  30. Has he named a Solicitor General yet? That was Kagan’s jumping off point to the high court.

    elissa (2211a2)

  31. No report of a nomination that I can find, ellissa. There’s an acting SG, of course.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  32. he’ll pick the best one that’s for sure

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  33. elissa, an argument can be made that Kagan “jumped off” long ago! (LOL)

    But, yes, we should look to see who becomes Solicitor General. Maybe it will be the consolation prize, tonight.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  34. I agree, elissa, I hope he has told them who is the scotus nominee and who is coming to DC just to keep everyone in suspense.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  35. R.I.P. John Wetton, bassist/vocalist for Asia and King Crimson

    Icy (21755d)

  36. In the meantime, a FB friend has announced she just joined the ACLU. Many of her friends cheer and say they want to join too.

    So, resistance because…fundraising!!

    Patricia (5fc097)

  37. every dollar what goes to the aclu

    can’t go to stinkypig

    can’t go to food stamp

    can’t go to planned parenthood

    can’t go to forever-grieving white trash p.o.s. joe biden

    can’t go to elizabeth hotflash warren

    can’t be spent at amazon turdlord jeffy bezos’s website

    or on uber rides

    or starbucks coffees

    or even on your new chicago plastic bag tax what goes into effect tomorrow

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  38. Actually happyfeet, that’s precisely where every dollar that goes to the ACLU goes. Plus a million other leftist causes.

    The left should love Trump. Every time he takes a crap an ACLU lawyer sues the government and they get rich while sucking up taxpayer money. And the beauty is it really doesn’t matter if they win or loose all the lawyers get paid. And they say Capone was a “racketeer” he ain’t got nuttin’ on doze guyz.

    Rev. Hoagie® (785e38)

  39. the aclu does some good sometimes

    they’re like gollum

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  40. 30. Cruz Supporter (102c9a) — 1/31/2017 @ 2:16 pm

    Apparently, the leaks are already out that it’s Gorsuch.

    If anybody in the major media knows, they are being very careful not to say, so as not to blow their sources, and besides which do they know their sources are right?

    The CBS Evening News mentioned both Gorsuch and Hardiman as possible nominees, although it mentioned Gorsuch first and paid more attention to him.

    Sammy Finkelman (6f9f42)

  41. Mitch McConnell has refused to comment about ending the filibuster, saying only that he will get his nominee conformed.

    Sammy Finkelman (6f9f42)

  42. Given Trump’s decision-making history, Hardiman would seem a Trump preference this run. But he could surprise. Hardiman’s personal background does has appeal and Trump’s sister likely had input w/a wink and a nod. He owes conservative ideologues nothing, really, given their ferocious opposition to his candidacy and they’ll chew on any bone he tosses their way. As damp-eyed ideologues need reminded, this wasn’t ‘Scalia’s seat’ but a position on the court merely occupied by Scalia. And President Trump is a pragmatist, not an ideologue.

    But certainly, given the ages of the seated justices now, any ‘runner up’ will likely get nominated for the gig in Trump’s term.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  43. why does drama queen mitch even care odds are this one will just get murdered by a cia prostitute like the last one

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  44. As far as the Democrat stunt of boycotting hearings, which apparently causes them to be postponed, I suggest that McConnell revise committee assignments and drop the most junior Democrat off each boycotted committee.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  45. i didn’t go to starbucks all day

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  46. feels good

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  47. “He owes conservative ideologues nothing, really,”

    True, but see Bridget’s comment above. He owes National Right to Life and Franklin Graham much more than just an invitation to give an invocation at his inauguration. He’s going to need them again as well.

    The Racine audience got the EO opening act but evangelicals are the audience for the center ring.

    Rick Ballard (0c6bf8)

  48. Remember you can watch the supreme court announcement on your computer or device over c-span and avoid all the annoying opinionated talking heads on Teevee. (UNless you enjoy that sort of punishment.)

    elissa (904156)

  49. Drudge seems to think there’s gonna be some kind of judge announcement *tonight*

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  50. @49– Yeah, but he’ll have seats ahead to fill to keep ’em happy. The creepy part of this is how it has descended into showbiz. Regardless who gets the nod, they’ll chew on the bone and be happy.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  51. if he picks the one guy it’ll be the first not-ugly person on the court since Sandra Dee

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  52. Santorum says he’s been gettig calls that it’s Gorsich.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  53. oh great another uglybutt harvardtrash dude

    that’s just swell

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  54. I do wish Trump would button his suit coat once in a while– his mouth as well.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  55. it says a “plugin” is needed to display this content

    these people are nasty

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  56. Judge Gorsich and the wife looks as thrilled to be standing next to Trump as Ann and Mitt Romney did.

    Be sure to wash your hands, Judge.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  57. YESSSSSSSSS!!!!!

    Grand Slam

    shipwreckedcrew (e90d7c)

  58. What a creepy event this is.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  59. 43 — I think McConnell and Schumer have handshake deal where McConnell allows the Dems to scream and yell all they want for just about as long as they want — for the benefit of their base — but at the end of the day there won’t be a filibuster.

    McConnell doesn’t believe in changing the rules like Reid did, and doesn’t want to do it.

    Schumer doesn’t want to force the issue on this nomination because it doesn’t change the balance on the court. If Schumer forced the issue — and McConnell may have told him this already — McConnell might lose his caucus and put his leadership in doubt.

    McConnell and Reid never got along, but I think McConnell and Schumer are much friendlier.

    Schumer knows it would be a disaster for him if he lost McConnell, since they are both “Old Boys make a deal in the cloakroom” kind of Senators.

    shipwreckedcrew (e90d7c)

  60. oh well there you go it’s toothy mcharvardtrash horseteef

    he must be the best one or Mr. Trump wouldn’t have picked him

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  61. Isn’t it wonderful that Obama or Clinton aren’t on that stage! It still boggles the mind that Trump is our president, though. May God grant him the wisdom to do the right thing at all times.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  62. New Gorsuch post open.

    Dana (023079)

  63. 24 Elissa

    Thx!!

    Harkin (90be6e)

  64. What a creepy event this is.

    At least Uncle Joe doesn’t have his hands up her skirt.

    Kevin M (25bbee)


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