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Schumer taunts Trump on SCOTUS nomination

Schumer taunts Trump on SCOTUS nomination

Threat to prevent ANY likely Trump nominee leaves Republicans only the Nuclear Option.

We have covered many times how Democrats laid the foundation for Republicans to use the Nuclear Option for a Trump Supreme Court nominee.

That Nuclear Option would construe Senate Rules to only require 51 votes for cloture, effectively eliminating the filibuster, the 60-vote requirement to close debate.

The foundation was laid in 2013, when Democrats, who then controlled the Senate and presidency, used the Nuclear Option to eliminate the filibuster for almost all Obama nominees. Harry Reid was gloating about going nuclear. Republicans warned that Democrats would regret the day.

The exception Democrats carved out of the Nuclear Option was Supreme Court nominees. That exception was not out of principle, but because there were no vacancies to fill.

In the fall of 2016, however, on the assumption that Hillary would win and Democrats would regain control of the Senate, both Harry Reid and Tim Kaine threatened to use the Nuclear Option to fill the seat left vacant by Antonin Scalia’s death.

So Democrats have no credibility in opposing Republicans using the Nuclear Option to get a Trump nominee into the Scalia seat and to clear Trump cabinet nominees through confirmation. They went Nuclear, and threatened to do it again.

What we now hear from Democratic operatives is that it may have been wrong for Democrats to go Nuclear, but that doesn’t justify Republicans doing it too; two wrongs don’t make a write. That was the theme in a NY Times Op-Ed today, Why Republicans Shouldn’t Weaken the Filibuster:

Democrats used the new precedent [in 2013] repeatedly to confirm nearly 100 judges. The Republicans, after they regained the majority in the 2014 elections, retaliated by essentially shutting down judicial confirmations. When Mr. Trump takes office, about 100 judicial nominations await. By invoking the nuclear option, Republicans can end debate and confirm all of them with a simple majority vote.

But, on Supreme Court nominations, the minority continues to have leverage, and Democrats may try to block Mr. Trump’s nominee with a filibuster. Given how Republicans denied President Obama’s nominee for the Scalia seat, Merrick B. Garland, even a hearing, Democrats may feel justified.

Faced with such a filibuster, Republicans will be sorely tempted to extend the Democrats’ precedent to include Supreme Court nominations. They would be likely to defend the power-grab by pointing to what the opposition did in 2013.

Republicans have bitterly criticized Democrats’ use of the nuclear option. So they should not use it themselves now….

It’s important to keep the filibuster. With it, presidents must try to win the minority’s support for nominees. This has helped to keep nominations in the judicial mainstream.

Schumer was very aware of those warnings back in 2013 and repeatedly lamented after Trump’s victory that Democrats went Nuclear.

But Schumer must be calculating that Republicans don’t have the guts to go Nuclear Option, because last night on the Rachel Maddow Show he threatened to prevent any SCOTUS nominee offered up by Trump. Politico reports:

Chuck Schumer is throwing down the gauntlet on the Supreme Court.

The newly minted Senate minority leader took a hard line on Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-named pick to replace deceased Jusice Antonin Scalia, threatening to leave the empty ninth seat open indefinitely unless Trump nominates someone who could get broad support in the Senate — a scenario Schumer acknowledged is “hard for me to imagine.”

Though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s risky gambit to halt the confirmation process for Merrick Garland may have paid off, Schumer warned that Republicans will face payback for their year-long blockade of President Barack Obama’s nominee in due time.

“The consequences are gonna be down the road,” Schumer, a New York Democrat, said during an MSNBC interview Tuesday night. “We are not going to settle on a Supreme Court nominee. If they don’t appoint someone who’s really good, we’re gonna oppose him tooth and nail.”

When asked by host Rachel Maddow whether he would do his best to keep the Scalia vacancy open, Schumer responded without hesitation: “Absolutely.”

Listen carefully to what Schumer said. (full segment here) He said he can’t imagine that Democrats would accept ANY nominee likely to be put up by Trump.

So what choice does that leave Republicans?

Go Nuclear Option.

Schumer is double-daring that he can peel off a few Republicans on the filibuster procedural issue with appeals to the “two wrongs don’t make a right” argument. I’m not so sure Schumer is wrong about that.


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“two wrongs don’t make a write” should be “two wrongs don’t make a right”

Just ram it right down their throats. Repeatedly. For four years.

    fscarn in reply to Paul. | January 4, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    “Listen carefully to what Schumer said. (full segment here) He said he can’t imagine that Democrats would accept ANY nominee likely to be put up by Trump.”

    Translation – the full Nuclear Option will be a fait accompli. Not only for USSC nominees, but also for regular legislation.

    Dems have no one to blame but themselves. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Senator Schumer (Flaccid, NY) blows his whistle, shouts, “Over the top!” and half way into No Man’s Land, turns around and discovers that he’s an Army of One.

#Making Harry Reid Great Again

You calls the tune, you pays the piper.

Schmucky laid it out, and now he’s going to have to deal with it. No middle ground.

“…Schumer must be calculating that Republicans don’t have the guts to go Nuclear Option…”

Also, according to his calculations, Hillary should have won the election.

Democrats have miscalculated a lot lately. In the Popeye cartoon Bluto always miscaluted what Popeye would do. Eventually Popeye would get tired of taking crap from Bluto, and he would say, “That’s all I can takes and I can’t takes no more,” and would go the nuclear option and break out the spinach.

    Anchovy in reply to userpen. | January 4, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    The motto of the Democrat: “”I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”.

      healthguyfsu in reply to Anchovy. | January 4, 2017 at 10:47 pm

      You got that wrong. It’s “I’ll gladly tax you into oblivion so you can’t afford a hamburger and confiscate all of the hamburgers anyway. Then, I’ll give you what I think you deserve after me and my buddies have had our gluttonous fill, and I expect overwhelming gratitude.”

If the John McCains and Lindsey Grahams of the Senate seek to preserve congeniality in that august body, then they need to righteously acknowledge that Republicans have repeatedly and cordially extended to the sitting President the latitude to pick his Supreme Court Justices, assuming they were qualified. This same civilized gesture must now be required of the Senate Democrats. I haven’t heard anyone argue that any of Trump’s proposed nominees were unqualified. Ideology is not a factor. Sotomayor was not a moderate, nor was Kagan. They were questioned and then voted upon by the body of the Senate, as is proper. Failure to follow proper behavior should be met swiftly and decisively with a revocation of the right to filibuster, even if temporarily, to seat the President’s choice for Justice.

    Jackie in reply to Immolate. | January 9, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    The Republicans sided with Obama and against our own interests when they voted for the Corker bill. Boeing wanted to sell planes to Iran and the Republicans sold out their constituents siding with Obama.

This will backfire against Democrats.

People see the difference between the end of a term, compared to the start, and Democrats and their tactics will come off as extreme.

Let Democrats drive another nail into the coffin. After Clinton and Obama they are seen as the least honest brokers as they pretend to care about everyone besides themselves.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | January 4, 2017 at 4:14 pm

I don’t think the Senate will nuke the filibuster for SCOTUS. Reid/Obama only cared about the short term power they got from nuking it. McConnell reveres the Senate as an institution. I doubt he’ll nuke the filibuster for a short term power play.

That said, Schumer better be careful. Nobody can demagogue an issue like Trump can. If Trump has one or two of his nominees go down in flames he’s not going to like it. I can see him doing rallies and going directly to the public to try get their support. Who knows, it may backfire on Schumer.

thalesofmiletus | January 4, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Nuke them back to the stone age.

First let them filibuster. Then employ the nuclear option.

Could someone please knock that Sh- T eating grin off his face!!!!

    tom swift in reply to sdharms. | January 4, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Schumer’s a funny case. He’s one of the very few people whose features I simply can’t see; all I see is a target. It’s almost irresistible; a quick jab to the nose, then a really hard right cross to the bull’s eye. Sometimes, that’s the only way to handle a problem.

I wonder what Schumer is like in real life. He is obviously bright. I think most of his politics is theater. I wonder if, the nation depended on it, he would fall on his sword and do what is best for the nation, even if it destroyed his career.

Actually I wonder how many of the other 99 senators would put this nation ahead of their own ambitions. It is, when I think about it, really difficult to ask that question.

I guess the question is, are these honorable people?

    MTED in reply to Anchovy. | January 4, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    He’s definitely funnier than Amy!

    luagha in reply to Anchovy. | January 4, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    As they say, the most dangerous place in Washington DC is between Schumer and a microphone.

    Valerie in reply to Anchovy. | January 4, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    You know it’s a crisis when the US Senate starts behaving like the world’s greatest deliberative body. The rest of the time, it’s a silly place.

    Watching the Senate behave is like getting really good service in the emergency room: you might be thankful, but the circumstances are very, very frightening.

    Barry in reply to Anchovy. | January 4, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    “I guess the question is, are these honorable people?”

    You trying to make funny?

    Voice_of_Reason in reply to Anchovy. | January 5, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    No. No he is not.

Democrat Senators up for re-election in Trump states may very well vote to confirm.

    Tom Servo in reply to MTED. | January 4, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    You bring up another option Trump has that wouldn’t require the Nuclear Option of removing the filibuster – leave the seat open, refuse to seat a justice if dems block his nominee. Then campaign intensely on this issue in the 10 states with Democrat Senators up for re-election that voted for Trump (like West Virginia, North Dakota, you can look up the list)

    Republicans aren’t in real danger of losing any Senate seats in the next mid-term, so +10 in the Senate races is a distinct possibility, especially with this as an issue.

    +10 gives the Republicans 62 in the Senate, and would mean that the Dem’s would have no power to stop anything at all.

    That might be a prize worth shooting for, a prize worth leaving the Supreme Court tied for 2 more years.

A Supreme Court nomination is too high profile to filibuster indefinitely. The Democrats got away with it to Appellate Courts because it wasn’t famous enough, and then the Republicans did it back to them.

But on the Supreme Court, it makes news. It made news that the Repubs held off on Garland and it’ll be big news if they try to hold off on a non-controversial nominee (no matter how they try to make him controversial). And with the next Senatorial elections being very dangerous for the Dems, this is not a game they can play.

You can’t sustain an indefinite filibuster against a Supreme Court nominee, politically. Less than a year, the Republicans got away with.

All that’s left is the Triple Dog Dare.

Something being overlooked: Trump has *already* put forward a list of people he will select his Supreme Court nomination from. There is nothing stopping the interviewer from getting specific.

“So, Sen. Schumer, if Fred Smith, who is a noted judge, is nominated to the Supreme Court, would you filibuster him? How about Mary Doe? Jane Fredrickson?” And go down the list.

The more he tries to squirm out of it, the harder the interviewer can pinch. “Trump’s nominees have been public for several months now, and you haven’t looked into *any* of them yet? Isn’t that a little irresponsible?”

The point isn’t whether the potential candidate is good or not, it’s to block Trump at every point so that he’s tied up with democrat intransigence and not pushing his own agenda.

It’s like the Democrats never heard of M.A.D. as it applies to going nuclear.

This isn’t a very red-meaty take, but I honestly think Schumer is just talking trash right now to please his cheesed off base. Republicans aren’t going to let Democrats keep that seat open for two more years, everyone knows that.

But let’s just stipulate for a moment that they don’t go nuclear – there’s still the political angle. Schumer has 10 seats to defend in 2018 in states Trump won. 5 of those he won by a crap ton (18-42 points). Those Democrats desperately need some bipartisan cred to survive. Schumer is many things, but a fool is not one of them. He’s not going to throw away half a dozen Senate seats on a fight Democrats are going to lose. He’ll do what he can to make it painful, but Trump’s nominee will get through on about a 57-43 type vote (with a few Democrats pulling that voting for cloture and against the nominee stunt the GOP loved).

The dems will only have what DT gives them.
We shall see who blinks.

Schumer’s the Palestinian of the Senate. If it looks like he won’t get his way, he blusters and threatens to do exactly what he was going to do anyway. There seem to be no new tricks left. I image that Trump’s a good enough card player to realize when his opponent not only holds a poor hand, but actually isn’t holding any cards at all.

Democrats used the new precedent [in 2013] repeatedly to confirm nearly 100 judges … When Mr. Trump takes office, about 100 judicial nominations await.

No problem. The Dems rammed a hundred through … so after the Repubs ram their hundred through, then maybe the Senate can “compromise” and pretend that they’re all in the same country club again. Even that weak sister McConnell should recognize that fair is fair.

Treat them like Pavlov’s dogs. The Dems have to be hurt bad after they pull a sleazy stunt; otherwise, they’ll go sleazy whenever they can get away with it. And crocodile tears from Schumer about Harry the Nuke don’t count as being “hurt bad”.

Chuck is only doing what was done to Obama.


    Barry in reply to m1. | January 4, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Back here with more lies.
    You get paid by the letter, word, or sentence?
    More for outright lies?

    Voice_of_Reason in reply to m1. | January 5, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Schumer is a pol who ALWAYS puts partisanship and self before country.

    Just like Dirty Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi did.

    The obstructionists under Obama were the dems in the senate, especially Dirty Harry who would use procedurals to keep bills passed in the House from coming before the Senate for a vote.

    And Obama was the most virulently partisan president in decades – for example, he did not accept Republican input on ACA and therefore it passed on partisan lines without a single GOP vote.


    userpen in reply to m1. | January 4, 2017 at 9:00 pm


    In the 8 years that Obama has been president, Democrats have lost 900 state legislature seats, 12 governors, 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats and now have lost the presidency to President Donald Trump. Isn’t that wonderful! YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.

    So you go tell your Democrat friends to go sow some more of that seed.

Be careful what you ask for Chuckie. With the hit list of 8 Trump cabinet nominees and now a Supreme Court nominee, Chuckie may be biting off way more than he can chew.

“I’m not so sure Schumer is wrong about that.”

I am. Nuke ’em. Don’t wait a single minute. Tradition is meaningless, chucky would break it in a skinny minute. Every dem up there would.

Fight to win or go home.

Nuke the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. The offer a constitutional amendment incorporating the filibuster into the constitution. If and when such an amendment is adopted, McConnell can have the filibuster back. In the meantime, confirm on party line votes (just like the Democrats would do as soon as they got a chance). A world where both parties are subject to the filibuster is great. But the Republicans are chumps if they believe that permitting the dems to filibuster Trump’s nominees will permit them to filibuster a future dem nominee when the positions are inevitably reversed. The dems will extend the nuclear option to Supreme Court justices in a New York minute when they get the chance. McConnell deserves a lot of credit for tanking the Garland nomination–don’t blow it now.

I’ve said it several times.

My suspicion is that Trump will first nominate Diane Sykes. So let’s see Schumer try to filibuster a woman.

Second, the Senate can readily go into recess, at which time Trump can appoint her immediately , and then let the confirmation hearings take place. They can’t stop it.