Senate

Getting to “50” if Justice Kennedy retires

Featured image Yesterday, I noted the intense speculation over whether Justice Kennedy will retire at the end of this year’s Supreme Court term. Today, CNN reports that “friends and associates believe Kennedy is seriously considering retirement.” If Kennedy doesn’t step down this year, I think there’s a very good chance he will do so next year. With the judicial filibuster now eliminated, it will only take 50 votes to confirm a successor. »

Behind the showdown on Mount Gorsuch

Featured image Writing slightly in advance of the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court this past Friday, I referred to the weak sisters among the GOP Senators who came through in the event. I also paid tribute to Senator McConnell’s “long game” in keeping Justice Scalia’s seat open and in overcoming the Democratic filibuster. The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes now gives us an early look behind the showdown in “How »

The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch

Featured image Today is a great day to be an American. Among other things, Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed to the Supreme Court and become Justice Gorsuch. He will take the seat formerly held by the remarkable Justice Antonin Scalia. The case against Neil Gorsuch: there wasn’t one. The Democrats’ opposition to Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation constituted little more than an assertion of political will conforming to the fantasies of »

Senate Republicans Come Through

Featured image While nearly everyone has been saying that Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation was inevitable, I was worried. The Democrats’ filibuster of Gorsuch, a thoroughly noncontroversial nominee, seemed to make little sense unless they thought that a handful of Republican senators wouldn’t go along with the Harry Reid option, leaving the nominee stranded with fewer than 60 votes. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. The Senate voted today along party lines to do away »

Klobuchar kludge meets the Gorsuch filibuster

Featured image Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar specializes in avoiding outspoken stands on important issues. She looks for opportunities to lead the way on trivialities calculated to garner broad public support, such as her crusade against the threat to life and limb posed by “The crisis of the detergent pod.” Senator Klobuchar is a reliable vote for the Democratic Party line, but she is quiet about it. She doesn’t want to upset anybody. »

Showdown on Mount Gorsuch

Featured image This past Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that Judge Gorsuch would be confirmed to the Supreme Court this week. If put to a straight up or down vote, as he will be, Judge Gorsuch would win a majority for his confirmation. If Democrats rally 41 votes to support a filibuster — Senator McConnell didn’t expressly say, but it was implicit in his vow — Republicans would be put »

Not So Cool Hand Chuck

Featured image Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on both FOX News Sunday and Meet the Press yesterday, mostly to address the prospective confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Senator McConnell spoke “with the calm confidence of a Christian holding four aces” (to borrow Walter Blair’s misquotation of Mark Twain). He vowed that Judge Gorsuch would be confirmed and that Democrats would dictate the manner of his confirmation. McConnell noted »

The madness (or not) of the Dems

Featured image This past Thursday morning the Kansas City Star obtained audio of Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill “warn[ing] Democratic donors that blocking President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee could have dire consequences.” The Star’s Brian Lowry posted the audio (below, I hope) along with his article reporting on it. Articulating the kind of rational calculation I set out in “Will the Dems die on Mount Gorsuch?,” McCaskill told her supporters: “I’m »

Filibustering out

Featured image It’s almost funny to hear Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer seek to convert the Democrats’ filibuster of a vote on Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court into a matter of high principle. Almost. Even if it’s not funny, however, he should be laughed off the stage. The filibuster is a fertile source of partisan hypocrisy. It’s time to finish it off, at least with respect to the Supreme Court. »

AP: “Schumer Warns GOP” Over Gorsuch Confirmation

Featured image The Associated Press wants us to think that momentum is growing behind an anti-Gorsuch confirmation movement. It headlines: “Dem opposition to Trump court pick grows; Schumer warns GOP.” Senate Democratic opposition to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee swelled Friday as Democrats neared the numbers needed for a filibuster, setting up a showdown with Republicans who have the votes to confirm Neil Gorsuch. Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Richard Blumenthal »

Bring Back the Filibuster!

Featured image George Will beat me to my idea for today’s Thought of the Morning with a column about the Senate filibuster based on a recent talk by Rep. Tom McClintock, who argued in Hillsdale’s Imprimis that what we should do is go back to the old way of doing filibusters. With all of the talk of ending the filibuster, at least for Supreme Court nominees, maybe we should instead talk of »

Senator Otis regrets [updated]

Featured image I posit “Senator Otis” as my generic Senate Democrat — Amy Klobuchar, for example, who specializes in vacuous amiability, or Al Franken, who specializes in condescension and snark, to pick two nonrandom names. Senator Otis and his friends are prime subjects of the campaign to portray President Trump as a leader beyond the bounds of civilization. He is not legitimate. He is not to be treated as if he is. »

Five dumbest questions to Gorsuch

Featured image Reporter/commentator Brendan Kirby has watched enough of the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing to identify the “Five dumbest questions put to Gorsuch.” Kirby’s report is current as of 10:19 a.m. yesterday, so it may not be his last word on the subject. However, each of Kirby’s winners is deserving of recognition in its own right. Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar (with one) and Al Franken (with two) account for three of »

We may be the stupid party, but are we that stupid?

Featured image Politico reports that “a group of Senate Democrats is beginning to explore trying to extract concessions from Republicans in return for allowing Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed.” What concessions? The deal Democrats would be most likely to pursue. . .would be to allow confirmation of Gorsuch in exchange for a commitment from Republicans not to kill the filibuster for a subsequent vacancy during President Donald Trump’s term. »

Four days of Gorsuch hearings. Why?

Featured image Ed Whelan reports that the Senate Judiciary will hold four days of hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch. The hearings begin on Monday. The first day will be devoted to opening statements by every member of the Committee and the opening statement of Judge Gorsuch. The nominee is scheduled to testify on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday will be devoted to panels of witnesses. This seems like an excessive »

Who won, McConnell or Warren?

Featured image Yesterday, in writing about the Senate’s rebuke and silencing of Elizabeth Warren for disparaging Jeff Sessions, I discussed the rule invoked by Mitch McConnell to accomplish this. Rule 19 provides that Senators are not allowed to “directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.” I suggested that Rule 19 is an anachronism. It »

Sen. Shaheen sends mixed signals on a Gorsuch filibuster

Featured image Yesterday, in a speech on the Senate floor, New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen disavowed any intention of filibustering the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch. She stated: I wanted to respond to my colleague from South Dakota because I think for Senator Thune to come to the floor and castigate Democrats for holding up Judge Gorsuch, who has just been nominated, and for suggesting we are going to filibuster, the fact »