Senate Dem: We’ll restore filibuster for Supreme Court nominations when we run things

posted at 10:01 am on April 11, 2017 by Ed Morrissey

Suuuuuuure you will. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) pledged to MSNBC’s Katy Tur that his party would restore the status quo ante Gorsuch to the upper chamber when they win back control, reversing Mitch McConnell’s exercise of the so-called “nuclear option” last week. Markey called the filibuster potential “essential to ensuring our country has confidence in those people who are nominated, rather than just someone who passes a litmus test.”

Oddly enough, Markey doesn’t mention rolling back the rest of the Reid Option changes — and he leaves out a few more salient points, too (via The Hill):

First of all, Makey doesn’t mention exactly how or when Senate Democrats will be in position to pull off this reversal. The 2016 election was their best chance in six years to regain control of the Senate, and Democrats blew it by blowing off rural and moderate voters in favor of the progressive extremists that just pushed them into the showdown over Gorsuch. In 2018, Democrats will defend 25 Senate seats, at least nine of which will be from states Donald Trump won. Republicans only have to defend eight, and only one is seriously at risk: Dean Heller’s Nevada seat. Democrats will count themselves fortunate if they can hold Republicans to 59 seats in the next Congress.

Let’s just say it will be a while before anyone has to remind Markey of this pledge. But even when the time comes, don’t bet on Democrats to do the right thing, because they’ve been the party that has pushed this filibuster war from the beginning. Don’t take my word for it — take the word of former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. In a podcast for RealClearPolitics, Daschle admits to Carl Cannon that “Democrats have far dirtier hands when it comes to erosion of the institutional pillars of the Senate.”

Kerry Picket reported on the exchange for the Daily Caller:

Unfortunately, Democrats have far dirtier hands when it comes to the erosion of the institutional pillars of the Senate than Republicans going all the way back to–you know, they used to do filibusters in the House and the Senate. And the Senate — the House took them away in the 1830s, and the Senate began taking them away under Woodrow Wilson in 1917–then getting rid of the talking filibuster in the 70s–and then the whole budget process was a Democratic product, and that was in my view a procedural disaster.

Then we lowered the threshold from 67 to 60. That was a Democratic effort. And then in 2013, we took it away completely for nominations and that was Democratic. So, Democrats who may lament this institutional deterioration, I think there’s a lot of history here that can’t be explained away.

In other words, don’t take Markey’s pledge at face value, or for that matter any value. Markey went along with Harry Reid in 2013 when Reid used a simple majority to eliminate the filibuster on all other presidential nominations except the Supreme Court, and as Reid stated at the time, he didn’t really care about that exception anyway. The only reason Democrats now object to McConnell’s maneuver is because it forced them to live by their own diktats. Don’t believe for a moment that Democrats will suddenly discover their inner institutionalist when doing so would provide any advantage for their opponents.


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