Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Shameless Schumer

Never mind (as I noted last week) that the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, has already explained that there is not, and never has been, a 60-vote “standard” for Supreme Court nominees. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer continues to propagate the silly notion that such a standard exists.

For seven of the eight current Supreme Court justices, the senators unanimously consented to affording them a straight up-or-down vote. The lone exception was Samuel Alito, whose nomination then-Senator John Kerry tried to filibuster from the ski slopes of Davos, Switzerland. So while there is one recent precedent for an irresponsible Democratic filibuster effort against a superbly qualified nominee of a Republican president, there is no broader practice that supports Schumer’s talk of a 60-vote “standard.”

To be sure, Schumer remains free to try to rally his fellow Democrats to filibuster the Gorsuch nomination. As I’ve explained, all things considered, I’d be happy to see him try. But Schumer’s effort to pretend that this wouldn’t be an extraordinary step shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone.

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