Monday, February 15, 2016

Senate tradition

Remember back in 2013, when Senate Democrats used the "nuclear option" and eliminated the filibuster for all judicial nominees except for Supreme Court nominees? At the time people said that eliminating the filibuster for the Supreme Court was unnecessary because, of course, no one would ever filibuster a Supreme Court nomination. Confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice is so oozing with majesty and importance that the Senators will have no choice but to put aside their crass political calculations of the moment and respect the traditions of that hallowed body.

One year ago, I wrote a post arguing that exception was stupid. Here's the example I used:
Imagine, for example, if Justice Scalia suddenly died and Obama appointed some well known liberal to replace him. Do you really believe that Mitch McConnell would not use the filibuster to stop the nomination out of respect for some alleged tradition? I don't think there's any question that in any high-stakes SCOTUS nominee--where the justice to be replaced is different from the ideology of the president, guaranteeing that the nominee would change the current ideological slant of the court--the minority party would be willing to filibuster.
And now here we are in the far distant hypothetical future. Not only is everyone assuming that McConnell would filibuster an Obama-appointed Scalia replacement if it ever came to a vote, we now all know that any nomination won't even get far enough to filibuster because McConnell has ruled out even scheduling a vote.