Smarting from the failed nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, the Senate minority leader pledged to oppose Donald Trump’s nominee weeks before inauguration day. “If they don’t appoint somebody good,” he said on MSNBC, “we’re going to oppose them tooth and nail.” That would “absolutely” include keeping the seat held by the late Antonin Scalia empty, he said. “We are not going to make it easy for them to pick a Supreme Court justice.”
I suppose it’s too much to expect a graduate of Harvard Law School to grasp the difference between majority and minority. Mitch McConnell was able to block Garland’s appointment because the Republicans controlled the Senate. The Democrats do not. And McConnell was able to hold his caucus together because he was on solid historical ground. Lyndon Johnson’s nomination of Abe Fortas as chief justice failed in the election year 1968, and the so-called “Biden Rule” of 1992 stipulated no Supreme Court replacements during the last year of a presidency. Schumer himself, in a 2007 speech, expanded the waiting period to the final 18 months of a president’s term. Now, despite a record of calling on the Senate to confirm the president’s nominees—as long as the president is a Democrat—Schumer has adopted the strategy of no Supreme Court confirmations at all. How does he think President Trump will respond? By caving?
Join the conversation as a VIP Member