The Democrats are not taking the news of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement well at all. It’s a full-blown meltdown. I mean, if you thought the Neil Gorsuch nomination drama was bad—and it got intense at times, brace yourselves for the barbarian hordes this summer. Yes, the Democrats will up the ante—they have to due to pressure from their base and the fact that the composition of the court is truly at stake. Conservatives are primed to have a solid majority on the Supreme Court for the next generation. With Trump at the helm, you bet everyone needs to fix bayonets.
If you're on a low carb diet you're in luck, because there ain't no way to sugarcoat this. https://t.co/HzijhzFbG5— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) June 28, 2018
4 months away from an election, there should be no consideration of a Supreme Court nominee until the American people have a say. Leader McConnell set that standard when he denied Judge Garland a hearing for nearly a year, and the Senate should follow the McConnell Standard now.— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) June 27, 2018
So, what’s the opening salvo from Democrats: hold off filling the vacancy because it’s an election year. It’s a naked and utterly pathetic attempt to paint the GOP as hypocrites (via The Hill):
JUST IN: Sen. Chuck Schumer: "Our Republican colleagues in the Senate should follow the rule they set in 2016: Not to consider a Supreme Court justice in an election year." https://t.co/mcq37ZJ3NU pic.twitter.com/8XinBnAB72— ABC News (@ABC) June 27, 2018
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) said Wednesday that it would be the “height of hypocrisy” for Republicans to vote on a nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy before the November midterm elections.
Schumer said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should show consistency and respect for his own precedent by delaying Senate confirmation proceedings for Kennedy's successor until 2019, when a new Congress is seated.
“Millions of people are just months away from determining the senators who should vote to confirm or reject the president’s nominee and their voices deserve to be heard,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.
He said “anything by that would be the absolute height of hypocrisy.”
Lots of clever talk that McConnell blocked Garland during an election year, and so now... Approve or not, point was, it a *presidential* election year, and McConnell said so at the time. From Fox News 6/1/16: pic.twitter.com/ctGBD3DyDO— Byron York (@ByronYork) June 27, 2018
McConnell, walking off Senate floor, asked if it’s fair to bring up SCOTUS nominee this year given Garland precedent.— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) June 27, 2018
“There’s no presidential election this year.”
lol. Kagan was confirmed in 2010. https://t.co/g3Csd04pxB— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) June 27, 2018
SCHUMER, citing 2016, calls on Republicans "not to consider a Supreme Court Justice in an election year."— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) June 27, 2018
They know better than this but they’re counting on you not knowing.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) June 27, 2018
1) It’s the Biden rule
2) It’s not a presidential election cycle
3) Kagan was confirmed in August 2010 during a midterm year. https://t.co/3xEikgBKNR
Well, they’re wrong. Democrats are always wrong. The Biden rule, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rightfully applied to the Merrick Garland nomination in 2016, is grounded in presidential elections. If it were otherwise, then Elana Kagan shouldn’t have been considered; she was appointed in 2010. Even The Washington Post said the Democrats position on this is “bogus.”
Here's what we can say: Democrats are protesting too much.
The GOP did argue in 2016 that a Supreme Court vacancy shouldn't be filled until after voters had their say in the coming election, but their argument was about who gets to nominate the justice — not who gets to confirm him or her. It was clearly about presidential election years, not midterms.
Here's Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), immediately after Garland was nominated: “A majority of the Senate has decided to fulfill its constitutional role of advice and consent by withholding support for the nomination during a presidential election year, with millions of votes having been cast in highly charged contests.”
Here's what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said: “I believe the overwhelming view of the Republican Conference in the Senate is that this nomination should not be filled, this vacancy should not be filled by this lame duck president.”
Grassley even said recently that, in his post atop the Judiciary Committee, he would advocate that any Supreme Court vacancies in 2020 (i.e. during the next presidential election) be left vacant because of the so-called "Biden rule."
The Post said of the Democrats, “this is grasping at straws, in the truest sense.”
So, the first swing at whoever will be the next Supreme Court nominee will be was a whiff. But rest assured, the tactics, the rhetoric, and the tantrums will be more effective, more vicious, and downright biblical as we approach the fall. McConnell has already declared this vacancy will be filled by then—just in time for the 2018 elections.