Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are already predicting Senate Republicans will back away from their initial vows to block President Obama’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
“Just as in 2013 when there was a huge public outcry and Sen. [Mitch] McConnell (R-KY) had to back off,” Schumer said in reference to the 2013 government shutdown, “the same will happen now. Sen. McConnell will have to back off.”
Schumer made his comments Wednesday on a conference call with reporters organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal activist group.
Shortly after Scalia’s death on Saturday, Republican leaders signaled they would not move on a nominee in an election year. According to Schumer, not only will Republicans cave but they are already beginning to waiver. He cited recent statements from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) as evidence.
“We’re already seeing the Republican coalition, which seemed unified the day Sen. McConnell announced his desire to prevent hearings and a vote on any nominee the president would offer, we’re seeing that coalition begin to crack: Sen. Grassley, Sen. Tillis, Sen. Johnson. And I believe that we will be able to have hearings and get a vote,” Schumer said.
“It’s going to be deja vu all over again for our friends on the other side of the aisle,” Schumer added, again recalling the 2013 shutdown.
Blumenthal, who also participated in Wednesday’s conference call, further decried the “obstructionism” but predicted that ultimately the GOP would back down.
The simple fact is this obstructionism is unsustainable and not surprisingly our Republican colleagues are reflecting and reconsidering and eventually they must relent as the outcry and outrage of public opinion swells and surges. Not surprisingly some of them are already feeling the heat and reflecting it in their feeling — as Sen. Grassley and Sen. Tillis and Sen. Johnson — have already indicated, the current position is unsustainable.
The Connecticut lawmaker added, “My feeling is the Republicans must and will relent. They should do so before doing damage to the court and the country.”
Schumer, Blumenthal, and the activists who participated in the call stressed that the grassroots will be the key to force Republicans to a vote.
“I’m urging people to speak out and speak out strongly,” Schumer said.