Remember when Hillary Clinton was going to win and gain a majority in the Senate but not have enough of a majority to invoke cloture (60 votes) to move forward with judicial nominees? It wasn’t that long ago. In fact, the vice-presidential nominee, Tim Kaine, brought it up.
From Roll Call:
Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is joining those predicting that his fellow Senate Democrats will force through changes to the chamber’s rules to ensure confirmation of a potential Supreme Court pick next year.
Should the Virginia Democrat and ticket mate Hillary Clinton win next month, he could make pivotal procedural decisions in such a “nuclear option” standoff after Jan. 20, since the vice president also serves as president of the Senate and has the option to preside.
The “nuclear option” describes efforts to change the Senate’s rules to decide on an issue with a simple majority of senators and bypass the customary procedure requiring a two-thirds vote to overcome filibuster threats.
So when the media goes into a feigned outrage when President Trump and Senate Majority Leader O’Connell suggest they will do the same, Tim Kaine’s words are all they should repeat back to the press:
“We will change the Senate rules to uphold the law, that the court will be nine members,” Kaine said, pointing out that he will be serving in the Senate at least into January.
“I was in the Senate when the Republicans’ stonewalling around appointments caused Senate Democratic majority to switch the vote threshold on appointments from 60 to 51. And we did it on everything but a Supreme Court justice,” Kaine said. “If these guys think they’re going to stonewall the filling of that vacancy or other vacancies, then a Democratic Senate majority will say, ‘We’re not going to let you thwart the law.’”
They were so convinced they were going to win, they bragged about using this strategy.
I was speaking with colleagues about the agenda Trump would have to start out. I mentioned SCOTUS. As much as Trump talked about, the consensus is the court is not something that concerns him. Not that he would go and nominate a liberal justice but that he would go with a recommendation conservatives would accept as an olive branch.
Go for it.
And when Democrats begin clutching their pearls, Republicans should shrug and move on. They have the majority in the Senate. Time to use it.