The Corner

Law & the Courts

Chuck Schumer Learned Nothing from Harry Reid’s Greatest Mistake

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to reporters during a news conference on Democrats’ demand for an extension of eviction protections in the next coronavirus disease aid bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., July 22, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Harry Reid’s decision to use the “nuclear option” and change Senate rules to push through Barack Obama’s nominees for district and appellate-court positions has been rightly mocked as one of the more glaring political blunders of the past two decades. That decision, which he said “had to be done,” has allowed Mitch McConnell to confirm nearly 160 of President Trump’s district-court nominees and 53 circuit-court nominees in a single term. It also set a precedent that made it easier for McConnell to scrap the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees when Democrats refused to vote for cloture on Neil Gorsuch’s nomination.

That refusal, spearheaded by Reid’s successor as the Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, has proven to be an almost equally moronic move. Gorsuch was always going to be confirmed. His impeccable credentials, impressive performance in his confirmation hearings, and the Republican majority in the Senate ensured that he would be elevated from his position as a judge on the Ninth Circuit. It was silly of Schumer to force McConnell to use the nuclear option in a context in which McConnell’s case for doing so was eminently reasonable. It didn’t appear as though McConnell was eager to break norms, it just seemed like he did what he had to do to confirm a qualified nominee over the minority’s obstructionism.

If Schumer had saved the filibuster for the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, he would have at least put increased political pressure on McConnell — considering the allegations levied against Kavanaugh — and possibly prevented Republicans from confirming Kavanaugh. He may even have helped Democrats gain instead of lose Senate seats in 2018. Moreover, the coming battle over Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat might have a much more favorable backdrop for Democrats if Schumer had adopted this course.

Schumer should remember these follies as he warns that “nothing is off the table” if President Trump and Republicans in the Senate exercise their constitutional powers to nominate and confirm a new Supreme Court justice. He would be wise also to recall that they will be moving forward thanks to Reid and Schumer’s own miscalculations.

Most Popular

Election-Meddling Redux

It is not an attack on the American election. It is an influence operation aimed at the American media, using the $60 billion per annum American intelligence apparatus to pull it off. And it’s working. On Wednesday night, it was suddenly announced that U.S. security services would conduct a press ... Read More

Election-Meddling Redux

It is not an attack on the American election. It is an influence operation aimed at the American media, using the $60 billion per annum American intelligence apparatus to pull it off. And it’s working. On Wednesday night, it was suddenly announced that U.S. security services would conduct a press ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More
Culture

Equality and Envy

We are not the same. Neither men, nor women, nor races, nor ages, nor nationalities, nor in wealth, nor in training, nor in beauty. We are not equal in any way. And that is a reason to be proud and happy, because at the end of the day we are human and not the product of some factory. Let us once and for all ... Read More
Culture

Equality and Envy

We are not the same. Neither men, nor women, nor races, nor ages, nor nationalities, nor in wealth, nor in training, nor in beauty. We are not equal in any way. And that is a reason to be proud and happy, because at the end of the day we are human and not the product of some factory. Let us once and for all ... Read More
Elections

Biden Lies Again and Again

Joe Biden is a career liar and he lied some more in the debate, for instance when he dismissed the now well-supported New York Post story about Hunter Biden's business dealing as "a Russian plant." There is zero evidence for this. He offered this line: There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said ... Read More
Elections

Biden Lies Again and Again

Joe Biden is a career liar and he lied some more in the debate, for instance when he dismissed the now well-supported New York Post story about Hunter Biden's business dealing as "a Russian plant." There is zero evidence for this. He offered this line: There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said ... Read More