Thursday, February 2, 2017

Gorsuch Nomination Battle May Go Nuclear

Actually, I hope does.

Harry Reid opened the door to chucking the filibuster. Trump's likely to have another nomination this year or next, due to retirements on the Court. Throwing out the filibuster could move the Senate to a straight majoritarian chamber, better reflecting the will of the electorate. Now's the time to do it. The GOP could lock in a conservative majority on the Court for years, if not decades.

At the Los Angeles Times, from day before yesterday, "Democrats are ready to fight Trump's Supreme Court pick as the GOP-led Senate weighs 'nuclear option' on filibuster":

After Republicans blocked a string of President Obama’s judicial and executive nominees, frustrated Senate Democrats in 2013 used their majority to change long-standing filibuster rules and allow confirmations with a simple majority.

Now Republicans are considering the same “nuclear option” to confirm President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court if Democrats mount a filibuster, as they appear poised to do.

So while Democrats sound alarms over Trump’s high court nomination and threaten to block it, their ability to actually stop him will be limited, thanks in part to their past willingness to change the filibuster rule when they held power.

Trump plans to announce Tuesday evening his choice for the seat made vacant last year by the death of conservative icon Justice Antonin Scalia.

Senate filibusters of Supreme Court nominees are rare, largely because the decision had been seen as too important to be bogged down in partisanship.

When President Johnson tried to elevate Justice Abe Fortas to the position of chief justice, senators filibustered in part over an ethics scandal that eventually forced Fortas to resign. In 2006, Democrats, including then-Sen. Barack Obama, tried to filibuster Samuel A. Alito Jr., but the effort fizzled and Alito was confirmed.

Trump has encouraged Republican senators to scrap the filibuster and quickly confirm his choice. “We have obstructionists,” Trump told Fox’s Sean Hannity last week. Asked whether he wants GOP leaders to change the rules for the high court, he said, “I do.”

Without a filibuster, Republicans have enough votes to confirm Trump’s pick, assuming the party is unified. Republicans hold a 52-48 majority.

But if a filibuster is allowed, they’d need Democrats to help reach the 60-vote threshold needed to defeat the tactic.

And Democrats are in no mood to cooperate with Trump. Many remain incensed that Republicans refused to consider President Obama’s choice of Judge Merrick Garland after Scalia’s death, leaving the court with only eight justices for nearly a year.

“This was a stolen seat; it’s not Trump’s to fill,” said one Senate Democratic aide granted anonymity to discuss the situation...

It's not "stolen." Democrats are just poor losers. See, "The 'Stolen' Supreme Court Seat."

Plus, still more at the link.