On Monday, Senate Democrats forced a delay of the nomination to the Supreme Court of Judge Neil Gorsuch. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, announced that, as expected, Democrats have requested a postponement, as allowed under the archaic rules of the Senate. Thus, in effect, the Democrats have decided the best way to serve the American people for the next seven days is to do nothing.
Though committee hearings have ended, and there is no more inquiry or work to do except vote, the Democrats have stalled the inevitable nomination of Judge Gorsuch. The only question that remains is whether they can muster enough support to mount a filibuster of the nomination – something never done against a Supreme Court nominee.
When President Obama nominated two liberal justices to the court, Republicans did not filibuster. Nor did Republicans ever – in American history – change the filibuster rule for lower court appointments.
But under Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Democrats blew up 200 years of precedent, meaning all judges other than on the Supreme Court, need only 51 votes to be confirmed, as opposed to 60. Since it is clear that the Democrats will not vote for any candidate Trump might nominate, the Republicans have no choice but to do to the Supreme Court what Democrats, under Reid, already did to the other courts. They will employ the “nuclear option,” meaning a rule change that will allow for Supreme Court justices to win nomination by a simple majority vote of the Senate.
But none of this will happen this week. Why? Because the Democrats have taken the position that the best way they can serve the American people is to put their work on hold and do nothing. After all, they need the break. With a week off over Easter (Who doesn’t get a week off for Easter?) and an entire month off this summer, what’s one more week of doing nothing going to hurt?
The worst part of it is that when Chuck Schumer and his Democratic colleagues made this decision to do nothing for a week, most of the media didn’t care. And most of America will not notice.