April 5, 2017
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1. According to the Associated Press, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is confident he has the votes to end a Democratic filibuster.
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is claiming he has the votes necessary to thwart a planned Democratic filibuster of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, as a showdown draws near that could change the Senate, and the court, for generations.
“‘They seem determined to head into the abyss,’ the Kentucky Republican said of Democrats as debate began Tuesday over Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination. ‘They need to reconsider.’”
2. Mark Meckler writes in The Hill that Republicans are completely justified in doing what they must to confirm Gorsuch.
“It’s important to remember, the rule change that put the nuclear option on the center of the table came from the Democrats at a time when they were in control, and they didn’t like the minority Senate Republicans having any ability to muck up the works with the filibuster of nominees. So they changed the rules.
They were warned by many at the time that the Republicans would some day be in charge, and would have the same power, and possibly even more. They were warned about the precedent they were setting. But the Democrats charged ahead with reckless abandon, and it appears that the Republicans remembered, and are about to return the favor. The grassroots couldn’t be more pleased. . . .
“It is time for the Republicans in Congress to act like the majority, and do what must be done to confirm an eminently qualified man, Judge Neil Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court. If the Democrats want to self-immolate by filibustering and thus forcing the nuclear option, so be it. The grassroots are ready to watch and enjoy. I can smell the butter and popcorn already.”
3. The Need to Know Network exposes that when Democrats had a majority in 2012, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) advocated eliminating the filibuster for all Senate votes.
“Warren wrote: ‘When I’m sworn in just a couple of months from now, I want to fight for jobs for people who want to work. I want millionaires and billionaires and Big Oil companies to pay their fair share. And I want to hold Wall Street accountable.
“‘But here’s the honest truth: we’ll never do any of that if we can’t get up-or-down votes in the Senate.’
“Warren complained that Senate Republicans had used the filibuster ‘to block judicial nominations, jobs bills, political transparency, [and end] Big Oil subsidies.’
“To remedy this situation, Warren proposed that when the new Congress began its session in January 2013, ‘the senators will have a unique opportunity to change the filibuster rule with a majority vote, rather than the normal two-thirds vote.’”
4. Grant Starrett traces the brief history of the judicial filibuster, showing how Democrats have embraced it as a means of obstruction.
“Liberal Democrats are threatening a filibuster, a procedural maneuver that could prevent a vote and endanger Judge Gorsuch’s nomination.
“But filibusters against judges are a recent phenomenon.
“The first and only successful Supreme Court nomination filibuster occurred in 1968 against Memphian Abe Fortas’ nomination to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The effort was a bipartisan response to Fortas’ ethical woes, which included taking speaking fees as a judge.
“In the following decades, simple majorities were good enough to reject even qualified conservatives such as Robert Bork or approve our best sitting Justice Clarence Thomas. At the time, Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., dismissed talk of filibustering Thomas as ‘nonsense.’. . .
“[In] 2013, Harry Reid, D-Nev., went ahead and . . . changed the Senate rules, by a majority vote, to allow for a simple majority of 51 votes to confirm judicial nominees below the Supreme Court.
“Some call this the ‘nuclear option.’ Others recognize that this is well-within the defined powers of the Senate in our country’s governing document and prefer the ‘Constitutional option.’ But perhaps the most fitting description is one offered by University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds: the ‘Reid option.’”
5. At the Washington Examiner, April Ponnuru picks apart the five worst arguments against confirming Judge Gorsuch.
“Last night on Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stated, “There are no good arguments to vote against Gorsuch, none whatsoever.” Every time a Democrat opens his mouth to explain why he’s trying to block Gorsuch, he proves McConnell’s point. Here are five of the worst arguments against the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. . .
“Liberal partisans have settled on a populist attack that Judge Gorsuch is not for the little guy. They cherry-pick a small number of his rulings in an effort to establish a pattern, arguing that he consistently sides with corporations instead of real people. But the idea that Judge Gorsuch is biased against the little guy is unfounded.
“When Senator Feinstein attempted this line of attack during his confirmation hearings, Judge Gorsuch completely dismantled her argument, reciting a litany of cases in which he ruled against corporations and moneyed interests in favor of individuals (see more examples here). But he didn’t stop there: he reminded her that his obligation is to be fair and impartial, and not to prejudge any case that comes before him. Judge Gorsuch knows that a commitment to the rule of law is the most valuable protection the little guy has ever known, as is evidenced by every society in which it does not exist.”