The Stolen Supreme Court Seat
Today Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell triggered the “nuclear option” and changed Supreme Court nominations from a 3/5ths majority, which is 60 votes, to a simple majority, 51 votes. The Republican theft of the Supreme Court is complete, with the appointment of Neil Gorsuch.
Ever since Ronald Reagan nominated the anti-civil rights Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, and failed, the civil discourse in selecting judges to sit on the highest court in the land have steadily eroded. And now the Republicans have killed it.
Republicans have obstructed federal judge appointments for decades, causing Democratic Senator Harry Reid to change the filibuster for lower court judges in 2013. And then when the shoe was on the other foot the Republicans all went ballistic when Democrats refused to appoint just 10 of George W. Bush’s most radical nominations, out of a total of 214.
Finally, after Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia unexpectedly passed away, within an hour Mitch McConnell made an unprecedented move to refuse his Constitutional duty and made it clear he would deny any nomination by then-president Barack Obama, who had 11 months left in his term.
Democrats could have made trouble, they could have broke the rules, but they didn’t. In this hyper-partisan environment, the Republican answer was to ensure going forward things will be even more partisanship and we will continue to see more traditions and norms that are not set in law fall away.