With a Supreme Court opening, the political jockeying has come fast and furious. Republicans have held out the possibility of a filibuster, although holding all 41 votes in line to block a Barack Obama appointee might be tough. Democrats have painted Senate Republicans as extreme partisans for even mentioning it. Barack Obama insists that he’s looking for a mainstream candidate to fill the opening. If so, then Byron York points out that the strategy meeting Obama called at the White House might be considered an all-star lineup of extreme partisans:
When Senate leaders went to the White House Wednesday morning to discuss the Supreme Court opening, the meeting was attended by President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and ranking member Patrick Leahy and Jeff Sessions, and Senate majority and minority leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell.
There has been some talk of a possible Republican filibuster of Obama’s choice, although Obama hasn’t yet actually made the choice. Be that as it may, Republicans well remember that there was an attempted filibuster of the last Republican Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito, and 25 Democrats supported it. And among those 25 who voted to filibuster Alito were all the Democrats present at Wednesday’s meeting — Obama, Biden, Reid, and Leahy.
In fact, there were a couple of people in the room who had never filibustered a Supreme Court nominee. Who might that have been? Surprise:
“It didn’t go without being noticed that only two of the elected officials in the room had never filibustered a Supreme Court nominee,” says one Republican Senate aide. Those two, of course, were McConnell and Sessions. So at the moment, the only lawmakers who are being criticized for even being open to the possibility of a filibuster are the ones who have never, in fact, taken part in one.
At least not yet. It’s fair to point out that McConnell and Sessions would hardly have filibustered a nominee from a Republican President. But then again, they both served while Bill Clinton was President and never filibustered one then, either. It demonstrates that the Supreme Court nomination filibuster is a very recent — and very Democratic — sport, with the Democrats on hand for the political strategizing being the all-stars of the league. Perhaps the next time Obama wants to assure people that he’s looking for a rational, moderate choice, he should bench the extremists from the lineup.
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