The U.S. Senate operates on a crazy-quilt of arcane procedural rules. He who masters the rules, rules the Senate. Or so it used to be.
Under “The Enemy of The People,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his radical authoritarian Republicans, the rules are whatever they say the rules are at any given moment.
To paraphrase Goldhat in Treasure of the Sierra Madre: “Rules? We ain’t got no rules. We don’t need no rules. We don’t have to follow no stinkin’ rules!”
On Monday, Republicans struck down an effort led by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to adjourn the Senate until after the election, which would have effectively moved Barrett’s confirmation until after Election Day.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee then went to plan B to slow down the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett: they would boycott this illegitimate process and deny the committee the two members of the minority Democrats who must be present for a quorum necessary to advance any confirmation. Democrats to boycott committee vote on Barrett nomination to the Supreme Court:
Democrats plan to boycott the Senate Judiciary Committee’s scheduled vote Thursday on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, protesting consideration of President Trump’s nominee within days of the election.
“We will not grant this process any further legitimacy by participating in a committee markup of this nomination just 12 days before the culmination of an election that is already underway,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Wednesday.
The 22-member committee is slated to vote on Barrett’s nomination Thursday, and she was widely expected to win support on a party-line vote. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said Wednesday night that the panel will proceed as planned.
“The political system is broken. I get that [there is] plenty of blame to go around, but she’s one of the best people anybody could ever nominate to the court, and she deserves a vote and she’s going to get one,” Graham told reporters.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has fast-tracked the nomination, has said the full Senate will vote on Monday to confirm the conservative jurist.
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In announcing that the committee’s 10 Democrats will boycott, Schumer highlighted McConnell’s actions in 2016 when he refused to consider Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, the choice of President Barack Obama to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February.
McConnell and Senate Republicans, including Graham, insisted that the president chosen in November of that year, eight months after Obama’s nomination, should fill the seat.
Schumer has lashed out at the GOP, calling their actions hypocrisy.
“Fearing a loss at the ballot box, Republicans are showing that they do not care about the rules or what the American people want, but are concerned only with raw political power,” Schumer said.
And that is exactly what Americans saw today: the raw abuse of political power by an authoritarian Republican Party. GOP-led Senate panel advances Barrett despite Dems’ boycott:
Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans powered past a Democratic boycott Thursday to advance Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate, keeping President Donald Trump’s pick on track for confirmation before Election Day.
Democratic senators refused to show up in protest of the GOP’s rush to install Trump’s nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Never has the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court nominee so close to a presidential election.
The Republicans, who hold the majority, voted unanimously in favor of Barrett, a conservative judge. Instead of attending, the Democrats displayed posters at their desks of Americans they say have benefited from the Affordable Care Act now being challenged in court (above photo). Senators plan to convene a rare weekend session ahead of a final confirmation vote expected Monday.
“This is a groundbreaking, historic moment,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the committee chairman. “We did it.”
This corrupt senator is right in one respect, this is “a groundbreaking, historic moment” of authoritarianism on display in the U.S. Senate never before seen in American history.
Unable stop the confirmation, Democrats have been trying unsuccessfully to stall the process until after the Nov. 3 election, so the winner of the presidency could name the new nominee. “These are all such violations of American norms, values, decency and honor,” Schumer said.
With Republicans holding a 53-47 majority in the Senate, Trump’s pick for the court is almost certain to be confirmed. All Democrats are expected to oppose Barrett’s confirmation.
Boycotting Thursday’s Judiciary panel session forced Republicans on the panel to change its rules to keep the confirmation on track. [I’m sorry, “forced” Republicans to change the rules? Republicans willfully disregarded the rules and changed them to suit their ends.] Those rules say at least two members of the minority party, Democrats, would need to be present to constitute a quorum for doing business.
Mike Davis, a former top aide on the panel who now advises Senate Republicans, said the committee was well within its normal practice to hold the vote, even with Democrats skipping it. He said the longstanding practice has been to allow business to go forward if all members of the majority, Republicans, attend.
This is true only for routine committee business, never for substantive committee business of advancing a Supreme Court nominee.
Countering that view, a Democratic aide granted anonymity to discuss the proceedings said never before have the rules been brushed past for a Supreme Court confirmation.
Goose-stepping authoritarian Republicans will march to the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett without regard for the rules, norms, and comity in the U.S. Senate. It is all about the raw abuse of political power by an authoritarian Republican Party. They have broken the Senate.
Is this really the future you want, America? Vote every one of these authoritarian Republicans out of office. Vote today! Save your democracy.