It's time for Senate Democrats to stop cooperating with McConnell on anything
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has firmly cemented his legacy as the most destructive Senate leader in history, beginning when he gained leadership of the Republican conference in 2006. Since that moment, he has been utterly unprincipled, dishonest, and totally ruthless in pursuing a single goal: reforming the federal judiciary for the extreme far-right.
The latest move came Wednesday, when he engineered another nuclear bomb on Senate norms. A slim majority of the Senate set a new precedent: debate time on district court and sub-cabinet level executive nominees will be reduced to two hours, down from thirty. That’s just the latest thing to fall under McConnell’s leadership. While in the minority, McConnell systematically refused to allow cloture for dozens and dozens of President Barack Obama’s nominees, resulting in then-Majority Leader Harry Reid’s having to go nuclear himself, and change the vote margin on cloture for them to a simple majority. It went beyond filibusters, though. McConnell encouraged his senators to refuse to cooperate with the Obama administration in naming judicial candidates. He had his team even blocking those few nominees that they themselves put forward.
This supposed great “institutionalist” has stretched the rules to their limit, and when that didn’t get the results he wanted, he destroyed them. The Senate’s constitutional responsibility for advising and consenting with the president on nominations? Out the window, if that president happens to be a Democrat, even for (especially for) the highest court in the land. Supreme Court justices—even those who have repeatedly lied to the Senate—can now be seated with a bare majority of extreme partisans.
There’s honestly little that Democrats can do in response to keep McConnell from adding another 130 district court judges to the vacancies his machinations have created during the remainder of Trump’s term. They can make life miserable for him and fellow Republicans on the few legislative efforts he’s going to be bringing to the floor. They can—and should—drag those out to the maximum time allowed, but the “conveyor belt” of judges McConnell has promised and Sen. Chuck Schumer has derided will continue.