Mitch McConnells never-ending quest to make Merrick Garland sick to his stomach – The Washington Post

Mitch McConnells never-ending quest to make Merrick Garland sick to his stomach - The Washington Post
Mitch McConnell Blasted Over Merrick Garland On Twitter For Complaining About Democrats Delaying Trump Nominees
This consensus for climate action takes the form of the Waxman-Markey bill, the core element of which is “cap and trade.” Cap and trade is a politically-moderate proposal, which would set a gradually-diminishing cap on greenhouse gas emissions for large energy users and establish a market to trade these newly-valuable emissions rights. Republican Senator John McCain had proposed cap and trade in his presidential campaign one year earlier, and 60 percent of Americans favor implementation. It has every reason to pass.

1. Bovard argues that McConnell could use existing Senate rules to defeat Democratic obstruction. Specifically, he could allow the full 30 hours of post-cloture debate time and then, if no senator is seeking to use the time, could immediately call the vote and thus rapidly diminish the actual hours of post-cloture debate.

There are over 1000 executive-branch positions that require Senate confirmation. (The New York Times says 1,054; Wikipedia counts 1,212.) If 30 hours of post-cloture debate occurred on all of them, that would be more than 30,000 hours of Senate floor time. There are 8,760 hours in a year. So if all the post-cloture debate time were used, the Senate might be able to complete the confirmation of a presidents initial slate of nominees some time in the middle of the presidents last year in office. And I havent even added in the judicial nominees.

Bovards claim that McConnell could immediately call the vote if no one is seeking to use the time ignores the routine practice in which a senator, upon completing his or her remarks, suggests the absence of a quorum. That practice prevents the presiding officer (not McConnell) from calling the vote.

McConnell’s strategy to focus on appeals court picks was clear in the first two years of Trump’s presidency and has been a point of pride for the Kentucky Republican. He took only 26 days on average to get a final confirmation vote on the floor once the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced those nominees, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Bovard complains that senators are lazy. If so, why should McConnell find her alternative attractive? Her complaint that McConnells proposal allows them to be even lazier is an argument for the proposal, not against it. (Bovard also bizarrely complains that McConnell hasnt been forcing Democrats to use all of their allotted post-cloture time.)

2.Bovard argues that the adoption of McConnells proposal would give the Senate greater incentive to go hard in the paint for judges, forsaking the rest of Trumps nominees.

“Sen. McConnell’s approach has always been to manipulate Senate rules when it helps him and then change Senate rules when the tables turn,” the New York Democrat said in a statement. “This is just another step in his effort to limit the rights of the minority and cede authority to the administration.”

I cant make heads or tails of this argument. McConnells proposal applies to district-court judges and most executive-branch nominees. So if you care about getting more of President Trumps political appointees in place, you should be supporting it.

3. Bovard argues that the adoption of McConnells proposal ultimately puts the 60-vote requirement for legislation at risk.

Since January 2017, for the first time in memory, a minority has exploited procedure to systematically obstruct a president from staffing up his administration. This new, across-the-board obstruction is unfair to the president and, more importantly, to the American people. Left unchecked, it is guaranteed to create an unsustainable precedent that would see every future presidency of either party obstructed in the same mindless way.

Although she places it last, this, I suspect, is Bovards real reason. Its the same argument that some current and former Senate Republican staffers (perhaps including Bovard, certainly including some of her close associates) made back in November 2014 for restoring the judicial filibuster after Republicans won control of the Senate. I argued back then that that proposal was bonkers, and everything since then has vindicated my judgment. If youre happy with President Trumps judicial appointments—most of the best of whom have been confirmed with fewer than 60 votes—you should be delighted that that effort to restore the filibuster failed.

Mitch McConnells April Fools Joke

As I wrote back then, the long-settled tradition of the Senate has been to treat debate over nominations and legislation very differently, and its strange that some ardent proponents of the legislative filibuster insist on linking them. The legislative filibuster owes its continued existence not to any formal obstacle that would prevent a Senate majority from abolishing it but rather to a widespread, if increasingly fragile, consensus that it is valuable. Bovards contention that adoption of McConnells proposal would have any meaningful bearing on that consensus strikes me as highly speculative at best. And, contrary to what she argues, the payoff from adopting that proposal, both for judicial nominees and executive-branch nominees, would be high.


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