This article is authored by Mitch Nemeth
This past weekend, President Donald J. Trump officially nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg’s passing opens up one of the four spots held by justices nominated by Democrats. As expected, the possibility of a 6-3 conservative majority on the court has progressives in battle mode.
Senate Democrats are particularly worried about progressive legal policy victories since the Warren Court, such as Roe v. Wade.
If the Brett Kavanaugh hearings were any indicator, Senate Democrats will resort to any tactics to protect their “democratic” legal regime protecting extra-constitutional rights. A September 27th POLITICO article lays out some of their strategy using Senate rules and processes:
- The “two-hour rule”: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer intends to use the “two-hour rule,” which can limit committee hearings after the Senate has been in session for more than two hours. Schumer first initiated this rule by cancelling an important hearing with one of the nation’s top counterintelligence officials, William Evanina; Senator Rubio referred to this move as a “temper tantrum.”
- Slowing down legislative business: Because Congress is almost always dysfunctional, Senate leaders frequently rely on “unanimous consent” to pass bills. Last week, Democrats refused to oblige by “unanimous consent” norms, which forced Senate Leader McConnell to keep senators in Washington to vote on a government funding bill.
- Object to recess: Democratic senators could object to recessing. “When the Senate concludes its business for the day, it requires the consent of all 100 senators.”
- Deny a quorum: The Senate requires a quorum to conduct business and any senator can request a “quorum call.” Senate Democrats could request a quorum call and if any Republican senators are missing then “Democrats could boycott the quorum call.”
- Points of order and motions to adjourn: Senators can raise a “point of order,” in which they ask the presiding officer procedural questions. “If the senator disagrees with the presiding officer’s ruling, he or she can appeal it and trigger a roll-call vote, requiring senators to spend time voting on the objection. Democrats could theoretically do several of these in a row, which could stall proceedings for hours, even days.”
- Get the House on board: House Democrats could take up unrelated matters to force the Senate to divvy up their time. For example, on George Stephanopoulos’s ABC show, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi “did not dismiss the idea that House Democrats might impeach Donald Trump again in order to force the Senate to hold a trial in removing him from office in order to delay a battle over the president’s” nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.
- Delay a final committee vote: Any senator can try to delay the final committee vote by a week. The final committee vote would formally advance the nomination to the Senate floor.
- But how far are Democrats willing to go?: “If Schumer develops a cohesive strategy and has the support of the entire Senate Democratic Caucus, it could quickly become one of the most disruptive series of delay tactics in recent memory,” writes POLITICO. One of the few honest Senate Democrats, Joe Manchin, said, “hell, we don’t do anything around here anyways, we’ve got plenty of time to do meetings…They can reschedule.”
The above examples are only congressional tactics to halt the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Democrats could look for alternative smears to derail her confirmation, such as Senator Dianne Feinstein’s famous attack on Barrett’s faith: “The dogma lives loudly within you.”
Of course, the warped process could not be possible without years of Democratic attacks on the institution. After all, it was Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who initiated the “nuclear option” and made it possible to confirm judges with “only 51 votes, rather than 60.”
Finally, the Senate Democratic war on Judge Brett Kavanaugh radicalized conservative Republicans and even some moderate Republicans, which may have led to the Senate Republicans gaining seats even amidst a so-called “Blue Wave.”