Schumer Urges Filibuster to Block Gorsuch Confirmation

I’m actually pleased, in a yay-team partisan way, that the filibuster is removed under these circumstances. Here, the Republicans can correctly say they are responding to the 2013 maneuver, and replacing a conservative with a conservative that all agree is qualified.

If the next Trump nominee is Roy Moore, or Priscilla Owen, then by that time the lack of a filibuster will be old news. Democrats won’t have any way to derail the nomination except beseiging the Capitol building, half-joking murder, or simply insisting that Merrick Garland is already on the Court, because the Senate didn’t give him a hearing and therefore consented by failing to object. (The Chronos Theory).

I won’t, actually, be doing any partisan yay-team if it’s Roy Moore. But you get the idea.

If you ignore the fact that the 2013 maneuver was effective forced by the GOP blocking virtually all of Obama’s nominees, sure. It’s like claiming that you were forced to shoot someone in self-defense - because they beat you up after you held them at gunpoint.

Yeah, how many judicial nominations were the Republicans holding up in 2013? And how many now?

And of course, thirty years ago, the Dems, and several Rupublicans, were mean to Bork. So bothsides.

Except getting three Republicans to vote against it. Same as now, for all practical purposes.

Basically, you’re saying that they wouldn’t be able to find three Republicans to vote against a genuinely crackpot SCOTUS nominee like Moore or Owen. Can’t say I disagree, but doesn’t it make you embarrassed to be a Republican?

Notice how my position with respect to the filibuster has never changed in the 18 years I have been posting here?

Notice how you say Republicans “held up” nominations, but Democrats were merely “mean” to Bork?

Notice how I don’t really care what your opinion is, because I’m convinced it arises from a desire to advance Democrats’ interests and you will fluidly adopt or discard principles in service to that goal?

If not, then you are invited to start.

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What was it that Chucky has been saying lately? “The answer isn’t to change the rules, it’s to change the nominee”. Why didn’t Obama try that in 2013?

I think it’s kind of a mixed bag. Many people have been consistent, others not so much. I say this because I actually did do this and here is what I found:



Pretty consistent.



That’s not as consistent.

Some were clear on the different approaches by party:

Some were more prescient:

And others less prescient:

And I think these folks were all speaking favorably about eliminating the filibuster, and I can’t see any having changed their view since:

When I looked, this was actually a common sentiment. Here are folks agreeing with you:

And here’s what I said:

My position is unchanged.

I’d be concerned about losing the filibuster if I thought there was any chance the Republicans wouldn’t get rid of it for the next vacancy if there was an actual filibuster threat… but I don’t. I think there’s no chance McConnell wouldn’t be happy to get rid of it then too, and I think there’s no chance the rest of his party wouldn’t go along with it.

Next up – getting rid of the legislative filibuster. Go team!

He did.

Let’s assume that Trump will get to nominate two Supreme Court justices - one to replace Scalia, and one to replace a liberal. Your job as a Democrat is to attempt to stop one or both picks. Here are your options:

  1. Filibuster Gorsuch, and lose the filibuster along with perhaps some political capital. Then watch as Trump is free to nominate the most radical right-winger he can find to replce the liberal, knowing that his pick can be easily confirmed.

  2. Make a big show of how magnanimous you are being with Gorsuch, because a conservative is being replaced by a conservative of equally high qualification, and you are the reasonable party. Gain tons of political capital, which you can then use when a liberal retires and needs replacing. You can point to your ‘conservative for a conservative’ agreeableness in the previous nomination, claim that it is a precedent, and demand that The Senate appoint a moderate who is centrist or slightly left. And if you don’t get it, you can then filibuster, and claim that your earlier agreement on Gorsuch shows that you are being reasonable and the Republicans aren’t, and that your use of the filibuster is an extreme measure to counter an extreme pick, and not just an automatic obstruction of every conservative.

Also, you have to peel off 3 Republicans to sustain the filibuster. Your hope of doing that then when the nature of the court wouldn’t change is much better than now, where a liberal justice would change the fundamental partisan balance of the court.

Either way, the Republicans can ram through both appointments. Your job is to use what leverage you have to make the best of that situation. To do that you need to hold the filibuster in reserve. Blowing your only weapon on a candidate who is eminently qualified and who maintains the current balance on the court will destroy the political capital and threat of a filibuster you will need to make the best out of the next pick.

Either way, the Republicans will ram through both appointments. There is no reasonable possibility of “leverage” any more. Only opportunities to energize and motivate one’s base voters to ensure their turnout is maximized for the next election. While they’re in the minority, this should be the absolute #1 priority for the Democrats. In this case, it means pushing as hard as possible against this nominee… and praying like hell RBG and the other “liberal” judges survive until control of the Senate switches back.

I agree with all that. I didn’t try to tally it all up, as there were a LOT of hits.

I, for one, am very happy that you and other Democrats think like that. I am much less sure than you in the intestinal fortitude of squishes like Collins and Murkowski. I am pretty sure that if the nominee was Pryor and not someone milquetoast like Gorsuch, they’d not be voting to eliminate the filibuster. Thanks to Democrats right now, they won’t get the opportunity to squish out next time.

I agree that the Republicans will ram through their appointees. However if Democrats push too hard in a fight they’re probably going to lose, Trump will look like a winner. His popularity is cratering because people are realizing that he’s incompetent. If he’s seen as winning a big fight his popularity will increase, giving him more leverage. I would think the best alternative for Democrats is to not draw attention to the losing battles. Focus on Russia. Don’t give him a big victory he can point to.

This particular move is about motivating Democratic voters, not about trying to beat Trump. There was no way to not “lose” in the Gorsuch battle – therefore, IMO, it’s best to try and focus on turnout.

Well, the truth is that I’m sorry to see the filibuster go. I thought it was a mistake for the Democrats to eviscerate it in 2013, and it’s a mistake now to deliver the coup de grace. I’m not going to shed tears, mind you, but on balance I thought it was a useful tool to have in the toolbox. There will come a day, in 2020, or 2022, at some point, when the GOP is in the minority and President Warren appoints someone ultra-liberal, when this folly will be clear.

But, meh, nothing for it. If they pull a knife, you pull a gun; if they send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue. That’s the DC way.

(With apologies to Sean Connery).

He still has to hold his entire party together. He’s obviously got the votes now, making the filibuster a pointless exercise. But should you choose to save the filibuster for later, it could easily be the case that the Republicans will be more fractured next time. If you believe that the Trump administration is going to be a disaster, it’s entirly possible that you will be able to find a few moderate Republicans lwho are willing to abstain from a cloture vote to distance themselves from a lame duck and an ultra-conservative pick - especially if it’s a liberal seat up for grabs.

Or you can consider this logic:

The chance of a filibuster succeeding now is approximately zero. Political capital gained filibustering this pick - zero or negative. Then you lose the future ability to filibuster at all, meaning Trump doesn’t have to worry at all about accommodating Democrats should Ginsberg or Kennedy retire.

On the other hand, the chance of a future filibuster working is unknown. But unknown beats zero. And the mere existence of the threat of a filibuster may cause Trump to nominate a more moderate justice in the first place to avoid the political blowback of a contentious fight.

I think this is a mistake in tactics. It’s too soon to peak and by the time 2018 rolls around interest will have subsided a bit. I think it’s more valuable for Democrats to go along with this reasonable nominee so later they can get Republican party defectors to sustain the filibuster later, even sustain a majority against a more disagreeable nominee. Of course, I’m not a Democrat so take that with huge grain of salt.

Actually, I haven’t. I just haven’t paid that much attention, sorry.

That’s because the Dems didn’t hold up Bork’s nomination.

And yes, it was thirty fucking years ago. Y’know, it’s silly to ask the Dems to just forget what happened last year, and refuse to abandon this grudge.

You are invited to start a Pit thread with evidence that I “fluidly adopt or discard principles in service to that goal.” I welcome your comments there.

538 had an analysis that a filibuster might motivate the hard core, but probably won’t motivate more moderate voters. The hard core are probably voting Democratic anyway.

I would prefer the filibuster were retained, but only as a “talking” filibuster – thus requiring actual endurance and toughness to make it happen. This way, human endurance would mean that it could only be used occasionally.

But the way it is (or was yesterday)? I’m glad it’s gone. It’s dumb, IMO, that 60 votes should be required for pretty much everything the Senate does.