Incoming Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says he and his fellow party members will “absolutely” do their best to block President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of a ninth justice to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia last February.
“We are not going to make it easy for them to pick a Supreme Court justice,” Schumer told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. “It’s hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we [Democrats] could support.” Schumer added, “If they don’t appoint somebody good, we’re going to oppose them tooth and nail.”
On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Schumer said if Trump did not choose a “mainstream” nominee, Democrats will oppose the individual “with everything we have.”
The Republican-controlled Senate had refused to vote on Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s pick to fill Scalia’s seat, blocking him for nine months. Schumer described Garland as “a very moderate, mainstream nominee.” The GOP said it would be up to the next president to nominate the ninth judge to the nation’s highest court.
Previously, Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham said:
President Obama and Senate Democrats will no doubt call Judge Garland a ‘mainstream Federal judge’ and promise his ‘approach to deciding cases on the law and the Constitution, not politics or an ideological agenda.'” He added, “Of course, they said those exact words when liberal Justices Sotomayor and Kagan were nominated. We are one liberal Justice away from seeing gun rights restricted and partial birth abortion being considered a constitutional right. The Republican majority exists to block these type of nominees.
Similarly, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow James Copland said, “Judge Garland is an experienced, highly regarded judge—who happens to be a liberal. In other words, he looks a lot like Samuel Alito did when he was nominated by George W. Bush, except that Alito was a conservative rather than a liberal.” Copland added, “It’s hardly surprising that GOP senators, now in the majority, would approach this nomination similarly.”
Garland’s nomination expired Tuesday with the swearing in of the 115th Congress.
Breitbart News previously reported that in 2007, Schumer told an audience at the left-wing American Constitution Society (ACS) that he wanted to block any Supreme Court nominations for the last 18 months of President George W. Bush’s presidency.
However, earlier this year Schumer said Republicans should not cite his 2007 comments, saying it is “comparing apples to oranges.”
Speaking with Maddow, Schumer said, “They won’t have 60 votes to put in and out of the mainstream nominee. And then they’re going to have to make a choice; change the rules. It’s going to be very hard for them to change the rules.”
Back in 2013, Senate Democrats did change the rules by triggering the “nuclear option“ to decrease the number of senators needed to confirm Cabinet picks from 60 to 51 votes. Schumer, who had argued against the move which was brought about by former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (D-NV), said he wishes “it hadn’t happened.”
Schumer and his fellow Democratic senators have vowed to fight against eight of President-elect Trump’s Cabinet picks. Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the new Senate which means they already have the number needed to confirm Trump’s nominees without the Democrats.
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