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A mass amnesia has fallen upon Republican senators. They seem to have forgotten about that time they refused to give President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court an up-or-down vote – or even a hearing – last year. Now they are claiming that Democrats are the norm-breakers for threatening to filibuster President Trump’s own Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Republicans are in a full-scale pressure campaign to convince 41 Democrats not to vote against invoking “cloture” on the debate over Gorsuch, which would prevent him from moving to a floor vote, where he would need only a simple majority to be confirmed.  GOP leaders have suggested, if that occurred, they would move to “nuke” the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees. They’re correct in that typically a cloture vote is not called for a Supreme Court nominees, having occurred only four times in the modern era, according to the Washington Post. Most nominees were able to go directly from committee to an up-or-down simple majority vote on the Senate floor. Democrats’ current rhetoric about a 60-vote standard is a twisting of how things have usually happened. But Republicans are wrong that Democrats are somehow entering new territory that wasn’t previously broken by the GOP’s blockade of Merrick Garland, the judge put forward by President Obama to replace the late Justice Scalia, whose seat will now likely be filled by Gorsuch. On the dubious argument that a Supreme Court vacancy that opens in a presidential campaign year should be filled by whomever wins the election, Republican senators, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), refused to even move forward with confirmation hearings. Many Republicans wouldn’t even agree to meet with Garland, the usual first step in the formal and highly scripted process. It was an outright power grab — and one that worked. Without irony or self-awareness, GOP senators are now bashing Democrats for preparing to launch “the first partisan filibuster” of a Supreme Court nominee and most aren’t even acknowledging that their blockade achieved the same goal through different means. They have plenty of ammo when it comes to touting Gorsuch’s qualifications and temperament, and yet they haven’t resisted making a process argument that claims a “moral high ground” when it comes to confirming nominees of another party. Gorsuch filibuster would be 1st ever.Not even divisive Thomas nomination filibustered.Truth is D’s will filibuster anyone @POTUS nominates — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 28, 2017 McConnell, in the first week of the new Congress, said with a straight face that “the American people simply will not tolerate” Democratic efforts to block Gorsuch. And he hasn’t backed down from arguing that Democrats are doing something materially different than what Republicans did under Obama. Just so everyone knows…there has NEVER been a successful partisan filibuster of a #SCOTUS nominee in the history of the US #Senate — Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) March 29, 2017 This argument focuses on procedural hair-splitting. The efforts of a bipartisan group of senators has sunk at least one nominee, Judge Abe Fortas, and a few other times, nominees had to first pass a 60-vote cloture vote before being confirmed by the majority. Democrats previously attempted a partisan filibuster of Justice Samuel Alito, but fell well short. But no nominee, so far, has faced the level of obstruction that Republicans waged against Garland. McConnell is not the only Republican acting like Democrats are unprecedented breakers of Senate confirmation norms. At Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) browbeat Democrats for their tough questioning of the judge, while pointing out that Republicans confirmed the Obama nominees who were not named Garland. “On Kagan and on Sotomayor, Republicans respected the president’s authority to appoint a Supreme Court justice, and Republicans did the right thing by moving forward and allowing the confirmation,” he said. “So I think that we have a moral high ground here that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle should take note of.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), likewise, said that Gorsuch had a “super legitimacy” because he was chosen by the candidate who won the 2016 presidential election, overlooking that the President that nominated Garland won two elections of his own and obstructing his final Supreme Court pick allowed for the nomination of Gorsuch in the first place. With a floor vote on Gorsuch set for next week, the full Republican conference is engaged in a public campaign to discourage a Democratic filibuster. Senator after senator has taken to the chamber floor to decry the prospect of a “partisan filibuster,” with only a few even attempting to explain how their blockade of Garland was, on a consequence level, any different. “It really is unprecedented what the Democratic leader, Senator Schumer, has suggested: that for the first time in the history of the United States Senate, a partisan

Source: GOP Dares Call Gorsuch Filibuster Unprecedented—While Ignoring Their Blockade Of Garland

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