Fourth, if Republicans reject Democrats’ requests, Democrats should force the issue by using the substantial power of the minority to grind the Senate to a halt and scuttle other Republican priorities — including funding the government when the current fiscal year ends Sept. 30 and refusing to allow confirmation of the dozens of other right-wing judges McConnell plans to confirm between now and the end of the year. Democrats have this power because the Senate operates by something called “unanimous consent,” which is exactly what it sounds like: Every single senator has to agree to do everything from calling a vote to mundane procedures as basic as convening in the morning and adjourning in the evening. If unanimous consent is not forthcoming, the Senate has to resort to painful, time-consuming votes and procedural obstacles. The effectiveness of slowing things down like this would be compounded by the fact that with McCain out of Washington, Republicans control only 50 votes on a daily basis. That means they will need Pence to be present for frequent procedural votes, presenting a scheduling nightmare. And since time and patience are finite, taking days instead of hours to confirm a single nominee or perform a routine piece of Senate business will result in fewer nominees confirmed and fewer Republican legislative priorities accomplished — until Republicans accede to Democrats’ eminently reasonable requests for scrutiny and transparency.