Democrats need a plan. Fast.

There are a range of tools available to Democrats to apply constant pressure. The Senate operates on what are called “unanimous consent” agreements, or U.C.s — pacts that set the daily schedule and the terms of conduct for all business. As the name suggests, every senator has to agree to a U.C. If a single senator objects, the U.C. is blocked. Democrats can bring the business of the Senate to a halt by systematically denying U.C. agreements. This simply requires stationing one senator on the floor at all times — senators can rotate every few hours, they just need to be physically present on the floor to say, “I object,” anytime Republicans try to pass a U.C.

Denying U.C.s will gum up the works in countless ways, one of which will be to deny committees the ability to meet more than two hours after the Senate convenes. This applies to the Judiciary Committee, where any confirmation hearings would be held. Republicans will still be able to schedule them, but it will make the process arduous and abnormal.

Absent U.C.s, the Senate needs a quorum of 51 senators to be present to conduct business. Senate Democrats should force Republicans to produce quorums on their own. Republicans control 53 seats, but bringing 51 senators to the floor every time they need to conduct business is a major challenge.

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