Yesterday on Fox News’ “The Five,” resident liberal Juan Williams said that the GOP were “selling their souls” to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court.
“I think Republicans sold their souls on Trump,” Williams said. “The justification [to support Trump] was that ‘we can have a Supreme Court appointment.’ The guy who deserves all the credit for that is Mitch McConnell, of course, the Senate majority leader, who denied a hearing for about a year to Merrick Garland, a Democrat. So much for civility and rules of order.”
But Democrats have no one to blame but themselves. After all, they were the ones who ended the filibuster.
Some liberal pundits are arguing that Trump’s next SCOTUS nomination shouldn’t occur in an election year – just as Senate Republicans argued in 2016 regarding Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland. But the key difference is that Senate Republicans were making that argument in a Presidential election year. Obama’s second SCOTUS pick was confirmed in August of a midterm election year (2010).
Of course, Democrats truly have no one but themselves to blame for this mess they’re in. Back in November 2013, retired Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid implemented the nuclear option, which lowered the threshold of votes to break a filibuster from 60 to 51. In effect, it strips the minority party’s ability to block the confirmation of nominees.
And why did they do it? According to the left-wing publication Think Progress, it needed to happen, because filibusters surged when Mitch McConnell became Senate Minority Leader. In fact, “nearly 3 in 10 of all cloture motions filed in the history of the Senate were filed during McConnell’s tenure as Minority Leader.” In particular, the battle that triggered the nuclear option involved three nominees to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as Republicans wanted to keep left-wing judges out of the court.
So to squash the “problem” of having a separation of powers in government, Democrats went nuclear.
And countless Democrats cheered the decision at the time:
Thanks to all of you who encouraged me to consider filibuster reform. It had to be done.
— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) November 21, 2013
"This gridlock has not served the cause of justice … It's undermined it." —President Obama, supporting filibuster reform in the Senate
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 22, 2013
— Pradheep J. Shanker, M.D., M.S. (@Neoavatara) June 27, 2018
Now, that very same nuclear option will make it impossible for Democrats to stall whatever SCOTUS pick Trump wants for even a second.
At the time Reid’s Senate implemented the nuclear option, Mitch McConell had a prophetic comment to Senate Democrats: you will regret this. And at least one headline over at The Hill (from 2017) indicates there’s been some: “Schumer Regrets Dems Triggering Nuclear Option.”
And one private citizen at the time advised that Republicans should take advantage of the rules Democrats created, when they inevitably take back power.
Since the Democrats decided to kill the filibuster, they now own it.Republicans should keep the new rule when they're in the majority.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2013