You expect Democrats to be dishonest, and you kind of expect them to try to score political points off the SCOTUS vacancy caused by Antonin Scalia’s untimely death. However, this op-ed by alleged pederast Harry Reid in the Washington Post is the most amazingly and hilariously hypocritical (and stupid) thing possibly ever written. The basic gist is that the guy who pretty much invented the judicial filibuster thinks it is the worst, most unprecedented thing ever for Republicans to obstruct Obama from nominating a replacement for Scalia.
You know what it’s time for? It’s time for some fisking. Let’s confront insanity wherever we might find it.
We are entering uncharted waters in the history of the U.S. system of checks and balances, with potentially momentous consequences. Having gridlocked the Senate for years, Republicans now want to gridlock the Supreme Court with a campaign of partisan sabotage aimed at denying the president’s constitutional duty to pick nominees.
Republicans should not insult the American people’s intelligence by pretending there is historical precedent for what they are about to do. There is not.
I bet this kind of bullcrap was a lot easier for alleged pederasts like Harry Reid to pull off before the Internet was invented. In point of fact, both Republicans and Democrats joined to prevent the outgoing and extremely unpopular LBJ from nominating a successor to Earl Warren as chief justice. Moreover, as has been discussed ad nauseam, Chuck Schumer announced just as recently as 2007 that he planned to do this exact same thing to all of Bush’s nominees.
With respect to obstruction of Supreme Court nominees for partisan reasons, Democrats tried (but failed) to mount one for Justice Alito, as a filibuster mounted by Kerry (and joined by President Obama) to prevent his nomination ultimately failed. Now keep in mind, this was not a case where Democrats had even majority support to block Alito’s nomination, just a case where they wanted to use minority obstruction to stop him.
The Senate has confirmed Supreme Court nominees both in election years and in the last year of a presidency — as recently as 1988, a presidential election year when a Democratic Senate confirmed President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy in the final year of his administration. My colleague and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), was a member of the Judiciary Committee then and voted to confirm Kennedy.
Kennedy was nominated in November of 1987, to fill a vacancy that occurred on June 26, 1987, well before campaign season even started. The reason that it took so long for Kennedy to be nominated is that the Democrats took several months dragging Robert Bork through the mud. That is of course categorically different than a vacancy that occurs in February of an election year.
More recently, Sen. Grassley stated, “The reality is that the Senate has never stopped confirming judicial nominees during the last few months of a president’s term.”
A statement, it should be noted, that he made in response to Chuck Schumer announcing that he planned to do this exact thing, you dishonest hack.
That is true. For his part, my counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), on Saturday called for the American people to have a “voice” in this process. Their voice was heard loud and clear when they elected and reelected President Obama, twice handing him the constitutional power to nominate Supreme Court justices.
Yes, and they were so enamored with the job he was doing that they sent 54 Republicans to the Senate to prevent more of them from being confirmed, according to this “logic.”
That is how our system works and has worked for more than 200 years. Until now, even through all the partisan battles of recent decades, the Senate’s constitutional duty to give a fair and timely hearing and a floor vote to the president’s Supreme Court nominees has remained inviolable. This Republican Senate would be the first in history to abdicate that vital duty.
You personally led the effort to prevent numerous judicial nominees from getting a fair and timely hearing, or a hearing at all, sir. Not, you know, Democrats in general – you personally. Are you suffering from some form of organic brain dementia that causes you to be unable to remember this, or has your sense of shame just been permanently injured in a fight with your “exercise machine”?
This constitutional duty has transcended partisan battles because it is essential to the basic functioning of our co-equal branches of government. By ignoring its constitutional mandate, the Senate would sabotage the highest court in the United States and aim a procedural missile at the foundation of our system of checks and balances.
I am sorry, but Obama has been a little too busy with his pen and his phone – with your express help – for anyone to greet this declaration with anything other than gales of laughter.
The good news is that there is still time for heated rhetoric to yield to reasoned action. The Senate can get there if Republicans take a deep breath, put partisan politics aside and think this through, as Americans first and foremost. It is easy to get caught up in the partisan swirl of an election year, but I would urge my Republican colleagues to remember that the consequences of blocking any nominee, regardless of merits, would hang over their heads for the rest of their careers.
On the contrary, Democrats demonstrated in 2008 that there is literally no electoral consequence for acting like partisan hacks in the judicial nomination process – in fact, if anything, there are rewards. But then, given your record since then, I wouldn’t expect you to know anything about how to win elections, Mr. Reid.
The rash statement that Sen. McConnell issued a few hours after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death was announced framed the precedent at stake in the broadest possible terms, arguing that, starting now, any president should be denied the right to fill a vacancy in a presidential election year. Not only is that principle absurd on its face, but if we set that precedent now, there is nothing to stop future Senates from sliding further down that slippery slope. It is a small and easily envisioned step to go from “no Supreme Court confirmations in this specific election year” to “no confirmations in any election year.” Our founders who envisioned a fair, bipartisan process must be rolling in their graves.
This is basically word for word what Bill Frist could have written about you in 2005. You understand that, right?
If my Republican colleagues proceed down this reckless path, they should know that this act alone will define their time in the majority. Thinking otherwise is fantasy. If Republicans proceed, they will ensure that this Republican majority is remembered as the most nakedly partisan, obstructionist and irresponsible majority in history. All other impressions will be instantly and irretrievably swept away.
I tell you, one guy you can definitely trust not to engage in concern trolling for the health and future of the GOP is Harry Reid.
The only way this op ed (which goes on for several more paragraphs in this vein) even makes sense is to read it as intentional comedy or self-parody. Even if it’s unintentional, the only proper response to Harry Reid’s concern for the right of judges to receive a vote on the Senate floor is to laugh.