Hypocrisy abounds in Washington, especially on this subject; Republicans are now demanding an up-or-down vote to fill a Supreme Court vacancy they refused to fill for the better part of a year (citing historical precedent and rhetoric from relevant Democrats), while Democrats' sloganeering about the vital nature of having a full complement of nine justices seated is quickly morphing into a base-pleasing "resist!" posture. Democrats' hypocrisy is uniquely cynical, in my view, due to their consistent pattern of unilaterally escalating the partisan fight over judicial nominees. As President Trump prepares to unveil his nominee for the High Court this evening -- and with Democrats saber-rattling about a filibuster -- conservative groups are having a flashback field day. Here is America Rising's highlight reel of Democratic rhetoric over the past year, featuring one lawmaker after another insisting that the Senate 'do its job' and hold a yes-or-no vote on a Supreme Court nominee. While Chuck Schumer's feigned earnestness is entertaining to watch ("we would much rather have a ninth justice than gain any political advantage" is a choice soundbyte), the more relevant comments star vulnerable 2018 members of his caucus who represent red states. "Roll the tape:"
McCaskill (MO - Trump +19): "The constitution says the Senate shall advise and consent, and that means having an up-or-down vote."
Donnelly (IN - Trump +19): "My constitutional obligation is...to vote on [a nominee]. I plan to do my job."
Tester (MT - Trump +21): "The American people are as frustrated as I am. They are fed up...and they want Congress to do its job."
Will McCaskill, Donnelly, Tester et al follow through on their impassioned principles and do their job, or will they link arms with the loudest voices in their hard-left party to shirk the duty they were begging to fulfill just a few months ago? Conservatives are once again circulating the list of Senate Democrats who represent Trump-won states and who are up for re-election next year, pressing them to take sides -- knowing full well that neither option is especially attractive. Eschew the chorus of "no" and they'll infuriate their party's ravenous core supporters; join the lefty obstruction scheme, and they'll get pounded among the general electorate back home. This could be especially true of the five Democrats occupying seats in states Trump carried by 19 points or more, including the three Senators quoted above, plus West Virginia's Joe Manchin (Trump +42) and North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp (Trump +36). Meanwhile, the Washington Post's Marc Thiessen urges the president to 'go nuclear' with his pick tonight:
In 2013, Democrats broke a nearly four-decade-long precedent and changed Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster for executive branch nominations and appointments to the federal circuit or district courts — allowing them to be confirmed by simple majority. Eliminating the filibuster for political appointments that die with a president’s term was one thing. But Democrats eliminated the filibuster for lifetime appointments to the federal bench as well...while Republicans have consistently allowed qualified liberal justices with whom they disagreed philosophically to move forward (Sotomayor was confirmed 68-31, and Kagan was confirmed by a vote of 63-37) Democrats do not. This meant that Democrats could appoint justices who openly affirmed liberal positions (declaring, as Ginsburg did in her confirmation hearing, that the right to abortion was “central to a woman’s life, to her dignity”) while conservative nominees had to speak cryptically in terms of judicial philosophy to avoid a Democratic filibuster.
Well, that is no longer necessary. Trump can, if he so chooses, put a nominee on the Supreme Court who has openly and correctly declared that Roe v. Wade is the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law” — and Democrats are powerless to stop him. If and when that happens, Democrats will have no one to blame but themselves — because they set the precedent that Republicans will follow. Back in 2013, when then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) invoked the nuclear option for lifetime judicial appointments, The Post reported that after the vote “Reid and his leadership team held a victory party with liberal activists afterward in a room just off the Senate floor.” Let’s hope they enjoyed it. Because the party’s over.
The question of the hour is, "who's it going to be?" (Except to Democrats who are reflexively pledging to oppose whomever is announced). White House spokesman Sean Spicer may have let a clue slip during yesterday's briefing:
But even if that was an inadvertent tell, it doesn't necessarily reveal much because we already know that the three supposed finalists are all male -- with potential female picks reportedly being held back for a future opening.