If Democrats choose to filibuster Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warns that will be “the end of bipartisanship on judges.” Apparently oblivious to the last four years he spent in office, Graham rambled on as if he lived a different timeline than the rest of us.
“It certainly is the end of bipartisanship on judges,” if Democrats filibuster Gorsuch, Graham told reporters, in an exchange broadcast by MSNBC. “We’ll have a partisan vote on every federal judge, at least at the circuit and Supreme Court level. Reaching across the aisle will be a thing of the past. You’ll get more ideological judges. And it makes every open Senate seat a referendum on the future of the Supreme Court. That’s what happens when you do it within one party.”
Asked if McConnell would invoke the nuclear option if faced with a a filibuster, Graham responded, “Oh yeah, we have no other choice.”
“We’re not going to have a rule, a tradition in the Senate where they get their judges and President Trump can’t get his,” he said.
“We’ve entered a new phase in the U.S. Senate now,” Graham said, referring to the prospect of McConnell employing the nuclear option. “When it comes to judges, it will be a partisan exercise. There will be no need to reach across the aisle. That will take a toll on the Senate and the judiciary.” (TPM)
In addition to blocking Merrick Garland from even receiving a fair hearing, Senate Republicans refused to fill an unprecedented number of federal openings nationwide. Although some tried to argue President Obama was allowed to fill as many openings as his predecessor, Bush, that does not take into account that Obama had significantly more vacancies to fill. Judicial emergencies have been declared in several circuits, as the number of cases has significantly exceeded the resources available.
It is difficult to imagine how the Supreme Court nominations could be any more partisan than what the Republicans have already made them. Lindsey Graham can act as self-righteous as he wants, but all of this started with Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his refusal to allow Garland a hearing during the last year of Obama’s presidency.
Now the Democrats in the Senate have the votes needed to sustain the filibuster and block Gorsuch’s nomination. Republicans would need sixty votes to overcome it, and because they cannot achieve that, their only other option is what is referred to as “the nuclear option”. This means they permanently change the rules in the Senate to lower the required threshold to a simple majority to end debate and allow for a vote.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) stated he struggled with his decision, but he “cannot vote solely to protect an institution. I’ve often said the Senate at its best and can should be the conscience of the nation, but I must first and foremost vote my conscience. I will not and cannot support advancing this nomination.”
Now we wait and see what they do. But no matter what, Republicans cannot put this on anyone but themselves.