WASHINGTON, D.C. — White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, declared from a podium on Wednesday that the White House could not agree more with November 2013 comments from Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), who said, “A minority in the Senate should not be able to block qualified nominees.”
Udall’s declarations were made in 2013 as he and Senate Democrats lobbied for a change to Senate rules in response to Republican efforts regarding nominees of then-President Obama. Shortly thereafter, Harry Reid, who was the majority leader at the time, broke decades of precedent when he invoked what has become known as the “nuclear” or “constitutional” option for the benefit of Obama’s nominees.
Spicer described Democrat calls to oppose President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States with a filibuster as “blatantly political obstruction of his nomination to the Supreme Court by Senate Democrats.”
He continued, “Senate Democrats have begun justifying their opposition to Judge Gorsuch by claiming a 60-vote standard for his confirmation. That standard doesn’t exist and these claims continue to be false. A party-line filibuster by the Senate minority is not a fair up or down vote.”
Spicer referenced Democrats’ own statements in 2013 and quoted Sen. Udall’s 2013 comments.
Udall’s comments, as prepared for delivery and posted on his website, read:
Some of us may disagree with Justice Scalia on judicial philosophy. But he was a qualified nominee. He received an up or down vote, and he was unanimously confirmed.
Likewise, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the former ACLU general counsel, was considered a liberal. Many on the other side may have disagreed with her views, but there was no filibuster. She was confirmed by a vote of 96-3.
A minority in the Senate should not be able to block qualified nominees.
“We could not agree more with Sen. Udall,” stated Spicer.
Unfortunately, said Spicer, Sen. Udall “has now adopted a new party line of obstruction, blocking a fair up or down vote on the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch. It’s both sad and unfortunate, and we encourage all senators from both parties to fairly evaluate the judge’s eminent qualifications and grant him an up or down vote.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Tuesday his intent to hold a vote next Friday, April 7, to confirm Gorsuch. “I’m confident he’ll be confirmed,” said McConnell.
Democrats have been stirring up a filibuster to Gorsuch despite Democrats having voted to confirm Gorsuch for a 10th Circuit Court position in a 2006 voice vote. The Denver Post reported at the time, “Gorsuch’s nomination was approved on a voice vote. Individual votes weren’t tallied because the nomination wasn’t deemed controversial.”
“It’ll be really up to them how the process to confirm Judge Gorsuch goes forward,” McConnell told reporters. If Democrats try to block the confirmation of Gorsuch, Republicans could invoke the “nuclear” or “constitutional” option to confirm the judge with a simple majority.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.