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The Gorsuch Shoe Will Drop This Week

Sounds like we’ll find out whether McConnell has to go to the nuclear option to get Gorsuch confirmed by Thursday. I think from a strategic perspective, Schumer would be making an awful mistake to force a nuclear strike over Gorsuch. It makes a lot more sense for the Dems to save that fire when the time comes to fight for one of their seats. Rumor has it that Kennedy might retire this summer, which would be more consequential than replacing Scalia with Gorsuch. This really doesn’t change anything on the Court.

Chuck Schumer is a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them. He’s probably one of the most coy politicians I can think of. If he’s not intent on blowing up his munitions stockpile to appease the angry base, he’ll arrange things so that enough red state Democrats and a few non-vulnerable blue ones vote for cloture to let Gorsuch eke by.

UPDATE: Jim Geraghty also notes Dems might want to hold off until later:

But imagine that Trump picks someone else. We can skip past the nominations of Judge Judy, Pirro, Dredd and Reinhold, but let’s assume Andrew Napolitano is right when he boasts that Trump is considering nominating him for the Supreme Court. Or Trump nominates his sister, or he nominates any figure who leaves conservative legal minds unnerved from a thin record or other flaws.

In other words, imagine Trump nominating his own version of Harriet Miers.

In that scenario, not only would Democrats be likely to have the votes to filibuster the nominee, but they might have some Republicans willing to join as well. Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans will nuke the filibuster without a second thought when it’s being used to block a sterling judge like Gorsuch.

That’s another good reason. Don’t believe it couldn’t get far worse.

36 Responses to “The Gorsuch Shoe Will Drop This Week”

  1. Zundfolge says:

    Schumer wants to kill the filibuster, but he wants Republican fingerprints on the murder weapon.

    At this point Trump could nominate Merrick Garland and he’d still filibuster.

    • Sebastian says:

      2018 does not look good for the Dems in the Senate. I’m not sure why Schumer would want to kill the filibuster now.

      • Stephen says:

        I tend to believe the oft repeated opinion, here and elsewhere, that Schumer has to survive and to do that he has to please his Trump derangement base. But beyond that …

        I think there is a general belief in Democratic circles that all the demographics go in their direction. That if they can maintain class and racial tensions they can always get certain rapidly growing races to vote for them almost exclusively. While I have to admit they appear to be succeeding at that, in the long term … pendulums swing for everybody. And if they keep failing with a capital F and the Repubs hit the right populist nerve the Dems may stay out of power for awhile everywhere but the left and East coast. People of all colors need good jobs and a growing economy.

        But I’m making no bets either way …

  2. pigpen51 says:

    I said this some time ago. Why waste the filibuster on a candidate that everyone knows is going to be approved. Gorsuch is just that good. If they do force a fight over this, you can bet that the next Justice that Trump nominates will be much farther to the right than Gorsuch. Not that I would mind that, if it means some sanity to the court.

  3. I’d be ready for a RBG retirement (and that would be massive) before 2020 and possibly a Thomas (no change) exit. He has hinted, in interviews at his desire to retire and travel.

  4. Patrick says:

    Don’t over analyze.

    Dems also have an “Establishment Wing”, and the rebel left is using the Tea Party as a model to attack it. I think of them as the “Latte Party”.

    So the Lattes are demanding the scalp of any establishment Dem who lets Gorsuch pass. But unlike the Tea Party that they mimic, these guys understand parliamentary procedure. They are scoring “motions to proceed”, whereas the Tea Party never paid much attention to the little details.

    In short, the Latte leaders are smart. Schumer knows this, and he’s doing his best to not feed their movement.

    The Dem Establishment is older and more vulnerable than the GOP establishment that a mostly unsophisticated Tea Party took down. Schumer is right to be afraid. The Lattes will clean DNC clock with an efficiency the Tea Party could only wish for.

    If you were smart you’d be rooting for Schumer. The next-gen Democrat will be younger, smarter and more capable of beating GOP candidates. Anything to slow their pace is fine by me.

  5. Whetherman says:

    I’ll make the same comment to everyone collectively that I made to Sebastian the other day. Everyone seems to project a future (2018, 2020) based on the assumption that “the system” will still be a close approximation to what we knew before November 8, 2016. It isn’t.

    Every day the possibility of a constitutional crisis of unknown proportions is growing. We have no way of projecting what would fall out of it.

    • Ian Argent says:

      This is one of the reasons political debates are no longer fun for me. We’re getting awfully close to someone ending up quoting themselves in their memoirs as saying “alea iacta est.”

      • aerodawg says:

        I’ve been reading about the latter stages of the Roman Republic as of late and it truly is scary how many parallels you can draw. The biggest distinction is that (as of yet) our politicians don’t have private armies following them around on campaign….

        • Ian Argent says:

          If you don’t mind my jumping ot a different period in Roman history, they don’t need private armies when the chariot fans are about.

          (I’d rather not listen to chants of “Nika” at the Hippodrome.)

      • Bram says:

        The complete politicization of the media worries. (exposed in spades today) It makes me think the Left might try something totally insane and trust the media to spin a coup as the perfectly responsible thing to do. Then we start shooting each other.

        • Ian Argent says:

          Who throws the coup, though? We’re a long way from a military coup (even a Seven Days In May scenario), and the National Security Forces are fragmented, and mostly report to presidential appointees.

        • Whetherman says:

          “Then we start shooting each other. . .”

          Some time ago someone wrote that we forget that democracy (please don’t get into the democracy/republic thing) to be defined completely is, “majority rule with minority acquiescence.” I.e., the electoral minority agrees to just take it. A democracy is cancelled the first time the minority fails to acquiesce.

          That’s usually when the shooting begins, or at a minimum, it becomes the “constitutional crisis” I referred to above. The outcome of the crisis will be non-violent only if one of the factions acquiesces.

          Regarding “left” or “right” media, in my opinion it’s a toss-up. You could be right. But the patriotic media on the right has also been promulgating “take our country back” sentiments for decades now, at the same time others were promulgating bogus, populist constitutional doctrines; all the better to feed a constitutional crisis, someday. (Who is right or wrong about their “bogus” status is immaterial to the question of whether doctrine-believers are convinced of their own correctness.)

          Then throw in those states that have either introduced or enacted “nullification” legislation, directing that federal officials can be arrested and imprisoned (read, resisted violently) for attempting to enforce federal legislation the state doesn’t agree with. Whether such things will ever be acted upon, their mere existence illustrates the potential (and someone’s desire) for confrontation.

          The potential for the shooting to start has been there for a long time, and the situation is not improving. It worsens as we knurdle our keyboards.

          • Brad says:

            “Then throw in those states that have either introduced or enacted “nullification” legislation, directing that federal officials can be arrested and imprisoned (read, resisted violently) for attempting to enforce federal legislation the state doesn’t agree with.”

            “arrested and imprisoned”? Give me a single specific example of such a law.

            Sure some States have passed (or are about to) pass Nullification Laws, and the Sanctuary Cities are the most widespread and enduring example of Nullification, but name one example that directs arrest of Federal Officials for enforcement of Federal Law?

            • Alpheus says:

              I can’t find information about the specific gun law at the moment, but Idaho, Utah and Kansas have laws that nullify the Federal NFA act for any guns made and kept within the borders of their State.

              While I can’t find the specific information (my Google Fu this morning is terrible), I did find a story about two guys from Kansas sentenced for violating Federal law. They were given no prison time, due largely to the Kansas statute, and the two men are planning on appealing the decision.

              The law itself says that anyone who enforces the Federal law would be arrested; I would have more confidence in such laws (and it would certainly make the court cases involved more interesting) if the Kansas law enforcement would actually arrest the federal agents enforcing such laws.

              Personally, I think if you’re going to pass a law, your government had better follow through. Otherwise it’s just smoke and mirrors.

    • mike says:

      Seriously, guy? You still going on about this?

      So far the only evidence of any Russian interference is “Russia has a media company, and they said unflattering things about Hillary.” There is no actual evidence of anything beyond that which doesn’t exist solely in the imaginations of you and everyone else who really, truly wanted Hillary to win.

      It’s going to be a long eight years for you, comrade.

      • Whetherman says:

        Who said anything about Russian interference in the election — though of course that could be a likely instigator of a constitutional crisis? Trump is a dickwad who is totally absent any knowledge or concern about what is constitutional (e.g., his offhand proposal for a religion-based immigration policy, later acted upon by an EO) so is totally capable of creating a constitutional crisis entirely on his own, at any time.

        But your own denial of the numerous dalliances between Trump, his choices for his administration, and Russia, further illustrate the potential. Even if downright treason were proven beyond a reasonable doubt, you’d stand by your man, as would thousands of others. Perhaps different branches of the government would align with different factions. And perhaps then we would have to fight, because I cannot countenance treason on behalf of a hostile, predatory foreign power.

        • mike says:

          I might agree with some of what you said if there were just the slightest shred of evidence for any of it. And yet, nothing but wishful thinking and carefully crafted innuendo intended to keep the true believers believing. Don’t worry, Jill Stein will do another recount, Hollywood celebrities will convince electors to retroactively change their votes (away from Trump this time :), and Russia will actually “hack the election” or whatever and there will be actual proof this time. Then she’ll have truly earned the presidency. I mean, again..

          You, in particular, should read this piece at the notoriously right-wing, Putin-loving Rolling Stone:
          http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-putin-derangement-syndrome-arrives-w474771

          Yep, gonna be a long eight years for you. Or, since he’s literally Hitler and all that, maybe more.

          I’d be thrilled if the only thing Trump gives us is 8 years (or 12 or whatever) of people freaking out because their anointed one wasn’t anointed. Heck, this single URL is like Christmas every day:
          https://twitter.com/rosie

          Wait. Rosie, is that you?

          • pigpen51 says:

            Right winge Rolling Stone? Step away from the drugs, and get real. Probably too late for you, ad you have your mind made up. The Rolling Stone is about left as you​can get. Good grief.

            • Brad says:

              Uh, you don’t get sarcasm?

              • pigpen51 says:

                Brad, You are right, my mistake. I didn’t read the post carefully enough. My apologies to Mike. And thank you for correcting me, I much prefer to be shown when I am wrong, rather than to be allowed to remain ignorant.

          • Whetherman says:

            “the notoriously right-wing, Putin-loving Rolling Stone”

            You do know that Taibbi was permitted by Putin to operate in Russia as an “investigative journalist,” right? “Investigating” things that might get him in hot water, here in the United States?

            • Whetherman says:

              My bad. Taibbi wasn’t entirely “permitted by Putin.” He was operating in Russia before Putin came to power, but continued to operate there after he came to power.

              You might want to check out the Wikipedia overview of Taibbi. Here are some excerpts:

              He spent a year abroad studying at Saint Petersburg Polytechnical University in Russia. . .

              Taibbi joined Mark Ames in 1997 to co-edit the English-language Moscow-based, bi-weekly free newspaper, The eXile. . .

              Taibbi published his first book, The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia. He later stated that he was addicted to heroin while he did this early writing. . .

              When it comes to examples to prove your points, you sure can pick’em! Did you notice a pattern to Taibbi’s other recent articles, in the sidebar?

      • Alpheus says:

        Frankly, I think Whetherman is right on this: we could very well see a Constitutional crises in the next four to eight years.

        It isn’t just Trump, either. It’s Congress. It’s clueless Republicans and Democrats at all levels. I’m sure the courts have a certain level of rot as well that can cause problems. It’s the polarization of America — the Urban Centers vs Everyone Else.

        I confess that I’m not a fan of Trump, but I’m definitely glad he won over Hillary. And while I wonder somewhat if Trump’s immigration policy is misguided (I’m leaning that it’s not — particularly since it’s somewhat a continuation of Obama’s policy), I find it disturbing that judges in the judicial system strike it down because of what Trump said in the campaign, and not what the law says Trump can and cannot do.

        It’s to the point where I think we should lay out conditions for California to peacefully secede from the Union, to relieve a lot of the pressure that America is facing. It’s from both sides…

        And the scary thing is, as much as I don’t want to take up arms in a civil war, I’m finding the antics of the political side I disagree with is almost wanting me to pick up arms….

        At the very least, our national discourse is deeply fractured, and there are two sides that are *not* going to see eye-to-eye. Fearing a Constitutional crisis or two or three, or even a civil war, is not an unfounded fear.

        And the political atmosphere is such that it’s impossible to see where it’s going to come from (and it almost certainly isn’t going to involve linking Trump to Russia — that’s largely been a distraction, a nothing-burger)…

  6. dwb says:

    The real fallout will be the legislative filibuster. The Senate will eliminate the filibuster for both. GOP has no choice: The Dem base is threatening to primary red state senators, who will be unemployed whichever way that they vote. We will see a slew of uber leftists go down in flames in Nov 2018.
    PA GOP better be ready to defeat Casey in 2018!

    Meanwhile, note that Peruta (CA carry case) has been rescheduled twice. Next conference is Apr 13th, by which time Gorsuch will be seated.

    • Ian Argent says:

      The Republicans are still in possession of only a close majority, and have spent quite a bit of time in the minority. They still institutionally understand why the filibuster exists. I’m not entirely sure they’ll go nuclear early.

      • pigpen51 says:

        They will do whatever it takes to get Gorsuch seated. As they should. He is qualified, and educated, and well respected as a competent judge. If the Democrats force the Nuclear option, then they have just ensured that the SCOTUS will forever more be a partisan battle ground, which is simply a damn shame, and they will have only themselves to blame. They should remember that the Republicans will not always be in power, and forcing rule changes hurts both sides.

        • Rjbrash says:

          And McConnell said that the fillibuster would stay, late Tuesday. Is he blowing smoke up people’s butts? Will John McCain finally stroke out? And is Ben Franklin really rolling in his grave (according to McCain. Could be messy)?

          Sigh.

          • Ian Argent says:

            How strong is the Republican team spirit vs the Democratic team spirit? Maybe McConnell doesn’t have the votes to end the filibuster. Maybe the Dems don’t have the votes to sustain it.

            Maybe the Republicans are OK with slimming the court down – the size of SCOTUS isn’t set in the Constitution, after all.

            • Rjbrash says:

              Very true as to the size of the court. Team repub seems to want to just roll over and die. Interesting next few days.

            • Whetherman says:

              “the size of SCOTUS isn’t set in the Constitution, after all.”

              That’s what FDR said. :-)

              As I always say, tactics have no ideology.

              • Alpheus says:

                I think the only reason why neither side brings this up is because it was considered icky by both sides when FDR proposed it, and it’s hard to see how it wouldn’t be considered icky if the Republicans did it today. It would take a *lot* from a single Party to make everyone angry enough to go along with such a scheme. It’s hard to see what circumstances would push us to that point, though.

                However, I think Sebastian is right: now would be a good time to expand the lower court system, and pack in a few more sympathetic judges that way.

          • dwb says:

            McConnell did *not* say that the filibuster would stay. He said that it is entirely up to the Democrats how Gorsuch gets confirmed, and whether it would stay.

            Reality: It’s in Republicans interest to nuke the Senate and blame it on the Dems, so that they can get a more conservative nominee next time.

            Democrats have no choice but to filibuster. Leftist groups are going to primary every Democrat in 2018. If Dems do not oppose everything, they will be unemployed in the primary. Of course, many will quickly find out that they are unemployed either way.

  7. Alpheus says:

    This morning, I heard angst from some Republican about how the filibuster is an important institution, and we (the Republicans) aren’t going to be in power forever, yadayadayada. The truth is, Democrats already destroyed the filibuster when Harry Reid announced that he was going to do it back when he thought Hillary was going to win.

    It would be nice to uphold the filibuster, but the fact is, even if the Republicans kept the filibuster this time, the Democrats will nuke it anyway the first chance they get. We might as well nuke it ourselves, since it we know it will be done to us.

    I believe it was Representative Tom Tancrado from Colorado who made a speech to Hillsdale College explaining that the filibuster really died a couple of decades ago, when the Senate decided to allow debates on other bills to continue when a bill is being filibustered. This means that the original purpose of the filibuster — to give a minority of senators as much time to debate a bill before it comes to a vote as possible — is moot.

    At this point, I think the filibuster can only be saved by Constitutional amendment.

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