If you don’t need it, skip the review. At this point, it may be tedious and frustrating.
Antonin Scalia dies in Texas and within hours, Mitch McConnell tells the President of the United States that no Justice Obama nominates will be confirmed. Instead, he says the American people will decide who puts the next justice on the bench.
President Barack Obama sends the Senate a “compromise” candidate. White and male and a known simpatico to the police state, Merrick Garland had been endorsed by Orrin Hatch, and was pretty old for a lifetime appointee to the Supreme Court.
Nine months pass. Donald Trump wins the electoral college, but loses the national popular vote by 3 million votes. And although more people vote for Democratic Senators than Republican Senators by an even larger margin, Republicans manage to retain control of the United States Senate, 52-48.
Even after the American people decided Hillary Clinton should nominate the next Supreme Court Justice, Mitch McConnell remains obstinate and partisan. Not only is Garland never confirmed, but he’s never given a hearing in the Senate.
Trump, upon taking office, was handed a list of “acceptable” conservative judges developed by a well-funded and mature network of activist organizations. From that list, he chose Neal Gorsuch, a purist ideologue and the author of one of the most extraordinarily divisive opinions in recent years, Hobby Lobby V. Sebelius.
Democrats responded to the nomination routinely. They invited the nominee to meet with them. They participated in hearings. They thanked the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassely, for holding fair hearings that allowed for a thorough examination of the nominee.
The nominee, Neal Gorsuch, broke with tradition by canceling or refusing meetings with several female Senators.
After running the crucible, nominee Gorsuch was found wanting by the vast majority of Democrats. So many, in fact, that it became clear that Judge Gorsuch could not clear the normative bar to non-mainstream nominees. He could not achieve a filibuster-proof majority to ascend to the Supreme Court.
Mitch McConnell, once again, said farewell to norms. When Democrats mustered enough votes to prevent cloture of debate on the nominee, Mitch McConnell pulled another partisan lever and used his razor-thin majority to press the button on the “nuclear option” — eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.
A few days later (today) a very young Judge Gorsuch was sworn in to his lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court.
At every turn Mitch McConnell, backed by his entire caucus, used every partisan advantage to steal a Supreme Court seat and ensure another generation of radical conservative justices.
So what are Democrats planning to do about it?
My idea was to take wait for the wave election in 2020 and pack the court. Nothing in the Constitution says there needs to be nine justices. Put 11 on the bench and confirm a couple of folks like, oh…
Maybe Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren?
Alas, that seems to be wildly off-base.
Someone we haven’t heard much from throughout the nomination fight, climate-change champion Senator Ed Markey had this to say:
"When the Democrats return to the majority and capture the presidency, which we will, that day is going to arrive, we will restore the 60-vote margin. We will ensure that, for the Supreme Court, there is that special margin that any candidate has to reach because that is essential to ensuring that our country has a confidence in those people that are nominated, rather than just someone who just passes a litmus test."