Speaking Sunday on NBC, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally displayed some spunk by stating bluntly and unequivocally that Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch would be confirmed Friday, one way or another.
“Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week. How that happens really depends on our Democratic friends,” he told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, the implication being that the judge’s confirmation could be accomplished either the hard way or the easy way.
The easy way involved enough Democrats agreeing to buck Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by voting to end his expected (and quite unwise) filibuster against the judge’s confirmation. The hard way meant embracing the so-called “nuclear option.”
According to USA Today, the “nuclear option” is “a Senate rule that strips the minority party of the power to use a filibuster to block confirmation of a presidential nominee; instead of 60 votes, supporters need only 51 to confirm the nominee.”
The kicker was that though the notion of a “nuclear option” had existed for quite some time, it was former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, who first applied it in 2013 to prevent Republicans from blocking then-President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees.
“I don’t think he should have broken the rules to change the rules of the Senate, but that’s the precedent,” McConnell added. “That’s the precedent now that they set on what we call the executive calendar. And the Supreme Court is part of the executive calendar.”
In other words, since the Democrats let the genie out of the bottle, it was only fair that Republicans were also allowed to take advantage of its services.
Not surprisingly, Schumer was mortified.
“(I)nstead of changing the rules, which is up to Mitch McConnell and the Republican majority, why doesn’t President Trump, Democrats, and Republicans in the Senate, sit down, and try to come up with a mainstream nominee?” he whined later that morning on “Meet the Press.”
He may have had a point if it weren’t already known that a 44 percent plurality of Americans believed that Gorsuch should be confirmed to the high court, as noted in a Pew Research Center poll from two months ago.
Sorry to burst Schumer’s bubble, but a judicial nominee can’t get much more “mainstream” than that.
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H/T U.K. Daily Mail