Schumer is a bright guy — high school valedictorian, Harvard undergraduate, Harvard Law School — but he’s confused about the meaning of the word “irony.” There’s nothing ironic about what Senate Republicans have done with the Supreme Court vacancy caused by the sudden death of conservative icon Antonin Scalia. Cynical, maybe. Hardball politics, certainly. Maybe a very bad long-term precedent that will only worsen Washington gridlock and polarization in the country. But not ironic.
Perhaps the word Schumer was searching for was “hypocrisy.” The “height of hypocrisy” would be better applied to his side though. Last October, when he was Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine spoke confidently about how a Democratic-controlled Senate in 2017 would do away with the chamber’s 60-vote majority rule if that’s what it took to get a ninth Supreme Court justice. Oops. Kaine is not vice president, and the Senate did not go Democratic. The so-called “nuclear option” that Kaine spoke about is now what Mitch McConnell is planning to use to shut down the Schumer filibuster and get Gorsuch confirmed.
In the meantime, Schumer and other Democrats have been openly disparaging Gorsuch’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “He helped us by being poor with his hearings,” snarked Schumer. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, claimed to be “troubled” that Gorsuch wouldn’t discuss legal issues that might come before the court, and Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii told Gorsuch that his confirmation hearings weren’t “illuminating.”