The Corner

Politics & Policy

Chuck Schumer’s Desperate Gambit

Chuck Schumer is playing a losing hand on Gorsuch unless he somehow gets a few Senate Republicans to bail him out. So he is talking about how McConnell is going to be to blamed for blowing up the Senate if the majority leader ends the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, in the hopes that a couple of Republicans blink and seek a foolish deal.

Of course, if Democrats successfully filibuster Gorsuch, they will be the ones engaged in an unprecedented act. Ed Whelan has been pointing out that there’s never been a successful partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee (Abe Fortas was blocked by a bi-partisan coalition). The Washington Post and the New York Times both wrote the same thing the last couple of days (the Post: “No Supreme Court nominee has ever been blocked by a single-party filibuster”; the Times: “There has never been a successful partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee”).

Meanwhile, if McConnell ends the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, he will only be extending what Harry Reid did when he nuked the filibuster for other nominees in 2013. Here is Schumer unconvincingly trying to explain that away (remember, Schumer voted for the nuclear option): “We made one mistake, we shouldn’t have changed the rules for lower court judges … but we never did it for Supreme Court. This is a much bigger mistake on their behalf.”

It’s hard to believe, assuming no Republicans come to Schumer’s rescue, that he doesn’t understand what a mistake a successful filibuster against Gorsuch would be for his party. It would force McConnell to go nuclear and end any possibility of a Democratic filibuster of any future Trump Supreme Court nominees, who might not be as impressive, uncontroversial, or unifying across the GOP as Gorsuch has been. In short, this is a way for Democrats not just to lose on Gorsuch, but to ensure defeat in future Supreme Court fights, as well.

That’s why it wouldn’t be shocking if Schumer has in mind putting on a show of filibustering for the party’s base while coming up just short on the cloture vote. But given how whipped up their base is now, it’s not going to be easy to pull this off.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

It’s the Stock Market, Stupid

Before going any further, I must say that I don’t believe Protectionist Donald really will go all the way with his present attempt to strangle global trade. I believe that the end run will be quite similar to what it was with the steel and aluminum tariffs — which is to say, a photo op in the Oval Office. ... Read More

An Even Worse Vatican Deal with China

Of all the disturbing and even silly things that have been said in defense of the deal between the Vatican and China reportedly being negotiated, the most offensive is that critics of this proposed arrangement to regularize Catholic life in the PRC don’t understand that the Cold War is over and the world is in ... Read More

Ten Things that Caught My Eye Today (March 23, 2018)

I send out a free weekly e-mail newsletter that typically goes out Saturday mornings and includes WFB flashbacks, Firing Line videos, upcoming events, and some of what I’ve been up to. Sign up here. 1. Cardinal Timothy Dolan in the Wall Street Journal: Talking about New York, he noted: 2. The Guardian on the ... Read More
National Review

Palm Sunday with WFB

The wonderful National Review Institute forum in New York City last month, held on the tenth anniversary of Bill Buckley’s death -- but truly a celebration of his life and legacy -- was captured by the good folks at C-SPAN, who now tell us that two panels of the forum will be broadcast this Sunday on C-SAN 3. ... Read More