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No Precedent for Partisan Filibuster of SCOTUS Nominee

March 31, 2017

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For the latest on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination:


  1.    On National Review Online, Rich Lowry argues that Senate Republicans would be justified in ending the filibuster for judicial appointments.

Lowry: Schumer’s Desperate Gambit

“[If] Democrats successfully filibuster Gorsuch, they will be the ones engaged in an unprecedented act. Ed Whelan has been pointing out that there’s never been a successful partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee (Abe Fortas was blocked by a bi-partisan coalition). The Washington Post and the New York Times both wrote the same thing the last couple of days (the Post: ‘No Supreme Court nominee has ever been blocked by a single-party filibuster’; the Times: ‘There has never been a successful partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee’).

Meanwhile, if McConnell ends the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, he will only be extending what Harry Reid did when he nuked the filibuster for other nominees in 2013. Here is Schumer unconvincingly trying to explain that away (remember, Schumer voted for the nuclear option): ‘We made one mistake, we shouldn’t have changed the rules for lower court judges … but we never did it for Supreme Court. This is a much bigger mistake on their behalf.’”


  1.   The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board explains the Democrats’ plan to destroy Senate tradition – and why Republicans must not let them.

Wall Street Journal: A Filibuster Deal with Democrats Would be a Judicial and Political Disaster

“Mr. Schumer and other Democrats . . . want to scare the GOP into believing that breaking a filibuster would somehow break the Senate as a deliberative body that requires 60 votes and bipartisan consensus to act.

“But the real radical act is a Supreme Court filibuster. Mr. Schumer wants to use the filibuster to defeat Judge Gorsuch outright, or negotiate a deal that gives the judge a confirmation pass of 60 votes in return for a guarantee that GOP Senators won’t break a filibuster on future nominees during the Trump Presidency.

“Either result would do great harm to the Senate’s advice and consent role under the Constitution, tilt the Supreme Court to the left, reward the most partisan voices in the Senate on the left and right, further inflame grassroots conservative outrage against political elites, and deal a grievous wound to the Republican Party. Other than that, a great day at the office.”



  1.   At, Guy Benson analyzes the 30-year history of Democrats undermining the judicial confirmation process.

Benson: With ‘Nuclear’ Confrontation Brewing, Democrats Offer Nothing But Distortions and Hypocrisy

“By now, you’re likely aware of the background and dynamics ahead of this brewing Senate battle — as more Democrats announce their support for Chuck Schumer’s anti-Gorsuch filibuster, premised on an imaginary ’60 vote’ standard he conjured in his head with little factual support. . . .

“Back on planet earth, virtually every remotely neutral observer agreed that Gorsuch performed exceptionally well in his hearings.  Indeed, several Senators who’d previously expressed support for an up-or-down vote on Gorsuch have since reversed course, under extreme pressure from the party’s dominant hard left flank. Meanwhile, their new ‘requiring 60 votes isn’t a filibuster’ spin has already been flatly rejected by fact-checkers.  It’s quite something to watch Democrats and liberal activists mumble about Gorsuch being ‘out of the mainstream’ when his rulings have been in the majority 99 percent of the time over his career as a judge (97 percent of which were unanimous), and given the public’s verdict that he’s well within the American mainstream[.]. . .

“The historical record is clear: From the Bork smear-fest, to the Thomas witch hunt, to unprecedented forms of obstructionism in the Bush era, to the 2013 nuclear option, the Democratic Party has consistently and unapologetically led the charge in advancing ends-justify-the-means partisanship on judicial confirmations. . . . Without fail, they proceed to escalate even further — this time, it appears, with another unprecedented act of partisan aggression.  Republicans are sick of being shoved around by their manipulative colleagues, too many of whom are plainly acting in bad faith.  If Democrats follow through on this latest threat, McConnell’s caucus must do what is necessary.  Democrats started this fight; Republicans should finish it, especially because Democrats will undoubtedly do the same down the line.



  1.   CNN Supreme Court Reporter Ariane de Vogue reports that Democratic senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) will vote to confirm Gorsuch.

Manchin and Heitkamp: We’re Voting “Yes” for Gorsuch

“‘He has a record as a balanced, meticulous, and well respected jurist who understands the rule of law,” Heitkamp said of Gorsuch in a statement. ‘He has unique and critical experience with tribal sovereignty, Indian law, and public lands issues in the west, and has received the endorsement of numerous tribes and major Native American organizations.’. . .

“Manchin stressed Gorsuch’s qualifications in the statement and noted, ‘he has come to his legal rulings objectively, through the letter of the law rather than through his own opinion.’



  1.   Judicial Crisis Network announces a $1 million ad buy ahead of next week’s Senate vote, prepares for state-specific ads.

JCN: Senate Democrats Should End Gridlock and Give Judge Gorsuch a Fair Up-or-Down Vote

The national ad [] features clips of Gorsuch during the hearings and calls for the Senate to maintain Senate tradition by giving Judge Gorsuch a fair up or down vote, while the state ads will urge Sens. McCaskill, Donnelly, Tester, and Bennet respectively, to reject the Schumer gridlock campaign and maintain Senate tradition by affording Judge Gorsuch a fair up or down vote.”