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The First 100 Days – Episode 11


In our eleventh episode, Bureau Chief Carl Cannon speaks with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle about the role of the filibuster in the Senate. And RealClearPolicy editor Tony Mills talks with the Hoover Institute's Adam White about the legal impact Neil Gorsuch will have on the Supreme Court.

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Schumer: In Post-Nuclear Senate, “There Is No Incentive To Even Speak To The Minority”


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responds to his Republican counterpart's decision to invoke the nuclear option to block a Democratic filibuster of Neil Gorsuch. SEN SCHUMER: But make no mistake about it – for all the back and forth, when history weighs what happened…the responsibility for changing the rules will fall on the Republican's and Leader McConnell's shoulders. They have had other choices; they have chosen this one. No one forced them to act; they acted with free will. We offered them alternatives; they refused. They hardly entertained any other possibilities. It seemed that the Republican Leader was, from Day One, intent on changing the rules if he didn't get his way. And frankly, this is how so many of our Republican friends have approached the judiciary for a long time. For two decades, they have done whatever it has taken to move the bench to an ideological, far- right position. Independent experts have stated that we have a more conservative Supreme Court than we've had in a very long time. Nothing – not even the rules, not even the comity of the Senate – seems to stop them. When the dust settles, make no mistake about it, it will have been the Republicans who changed the rules. But we take no solace that history will put it on their shoulders…because the consequences for the Senate and for the future of the Supreme Court will be far- reaching. The nuclear option means the end of a long history of consensus on Supreme Court nominations. It weakens the standing of the Senate as a whole as a check on the president's ability to shape the judiciary. In a post-nuclear world, if the Senate and the presidency are in the hands of the same party, there is no incentive to even speak to the Senate minority. That's a recipe for more conflict and bad blood between the parties, not less. The cooling saucer of the Senate will get considerably hotter. The 60-vote threshold on controversial matters is a hallmark of the Senate. The Majority Leader has said so himself. It fosters compromise, it fosters bipartisanship, it makes the Senate more deliberative – "60-votes" ought to be the epigraph of the Senate. Losing that standard on the Supreme Court, a hugely controversial matter, erodes the very nature of this body. Mr. President, the 60-vote bar in the Senate is the guardrail of our democracy. When our body politic is veering too far to the right or to the left, the answer is not to dismantle the guard rails and go over the cliff, but to turn the wheel back toward the middle. The answer is not to undo the guardrails — the rules — it's to steer back to the middle and get a more mainstream candidate. With respect to the Supreme Court, the 60-vote threshold operates as a guardrail against judicial extremism. When 60 votes – typically a bipartisan supermajority – are required for confirmation, nominees tend to be in the judicial mainstream. The only nominee on the Court to be confirmed with less than 60 votes was Justice Thomas, who is widely recognized to be the most ideological extreme Supreme Court justice. It will mean the end of any pressure on any future President to nominate someone in the mainstream. When it comes to the courts, the guardrails are being dismantled. There will be more 5-4 decisions, as our Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee has pointed out. There will be less faith in the Supreme Court because it will be seen as a political body, an extension of our most divisive debates. And as a result, American's faith in the integrity of the Court and the trust in the rule of law in America will suffer. In conclusion, I am disheartened that we are here. In the sweep of history, the Senate has been the place where great, seemingly intractable disagreements in American politics finally give way to compromise, precisely because we have a set of rules that requires it. The story of the Senate is one of fierce debate but eventual cooperation. We tend to pull back when things get too heated, because we all care about this institution and its role in our national political life. In this case, cumulative resentments from years of partisan trench warfare were too great. Instead of the Senate forcing us to change, Senators have decided to change the Senate. And I worry a great deal about what that means for the future. Twenty years ago, I think even the most partisan would say that the 60-vote threshold was basically inviolable. Today, it will be gone for all nominations, but at least not for legislation. Now, my friend the Majority Leader has said he has no interest in removing the barrier for legislation. I agree with him wholeheartedly and I take him at his word. I hope that we can get together to do more in future months to ensure that the 60-vote threshold for legislation remains. But just as it seemed unthinkable only a few decades ago that we'd change the rules for nominees, today's vote is a cautionary tale about how unbridled partisan escalation can ultimately overwhelm our basic inclination to work together and frustrate our efforts to pull back; blocking us from steering the ship of the Senate away from the rocks. There's a reason it was dubbed the nuclear option. It is the most extreme measure, with the most extreme consequences. And while I'm sure we will continue to debate what got us here, I know that in 20, 30, or 40 years, we will sadly point to today as a turning point in the history of the Senate and the Supreme Court. This is a day when we irrevocably move away from the principles our Founders intended for these institutions: principles of bipartisanship, moderation, and consensus. Let us go no further on this path.

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Cornyn: Ending Filibusters On Supreme Court Nominees Restores “Status Quo”


Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) spoke just after the Senate voted to eliminate the possibility of a Democratic filibuster blocking Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. He says this decision brings the Senate back to "status quo." Quotes via the office of Sen. John Cornyn: "We have actually restored the status quo before the Administration of President George W. Bush. It was during that Administration when some of our friends across the aisle, along with some of their liberal law professor allies, dreamed up a way of blocking President George W. Bush's judicial nominees.†"We've been debating and discussing this nominee for a long time now, and the opponents of Judge Gorsuch have tried time and time again to raise objections to this outstanding nominee, a nomination that no one in the Senate opposed ten years ago when he was confirmed to a position on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.†"They've claimed he wasn't mainstream enough. They've said this was a seat that really should have gone to Merrick Garland. They've even accused him of plagiarism. All of these arguments have no merit whatsoever.†"And that much became even clearer as folks from across the political spectrum and newspapers from across the country urged our Democratic colleagues to drop their pointless filibuster and allow an up-or-down vote. What also came to light is the type of man Judge Gorsuch is: a man of integrity, a man of strong independence. In other words, exactly the kind of person you would want to serve on the United States Supreme Court.†"President Trump has, by all accounts, selected a judge with impeccable qualifications and the highest integrity. Not one of our Democratic colleagues has been able to offer a convincing argument against him, and that's why several of our Democratic colleagues have crossed the aisle to support his nomination… I think more would join if they didn't fear retribution from the radical elements in their own political party.†"We said we would let the American people decide who would select the next Supreme Court nominee and then we would vote to confirm that nominee. The American people on November the 8th selected President Trump. President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch. And tomorrow we will confirm that nominee and deliver on that promise.â€

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Ann Coulter: Let’s Hope Trump’s Base Reminds Him He Is Supposed To Oppose War In Syria


Author and columnist Ann Coulter appears on 'The Bernie Sand Sid Show' to discuss her personal life and the president's recent statements about Syria. "We need a little me time. We need to save America before we do anything for the rest of the world," Coulter said about calls for President Trump to intervene in the Syrian civil war. "In most of these savageries around the world, we're just coming in at one moment in an ongoing bar fight. And picking the guy who'se on the bottom now. Wait a few years and the other group will be on top savaging the other group." "Let's just hope Trump's base will remind him," Coulter said. "Who would do it again?" she said about the Iraq War defeat. "Why do it again? And certainly not right after Iraq has turned into this hellhole of ISIS and madness."

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Replay: Senate Republicans Deploy Nuclear Option To Further Gorsuch Nomination


The Senate performs procedural votes as they consider President Trump's nominee to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court: Judge Neil Gorsuch of Colorado. Democrats held the floor overnight Tuesday night in a show of opposition to his nomination, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed on Sunday that Gorsuch would be confirmed by the end of the week. "This will be the first and last partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nomination," McConnell said. Read more from the Washington Post… Senate Republicans successfully voted to change the rules of the U.S. Senate on Thursday and confirm U.S. Supreme Court nominees with a simple majority vote. The long-anticipated change came after Democrats earlier blocked attempts to advance the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the high court. The change now means that all presidential nominees for executive branch positions and federal courts only need a simple majority vote to be confirmed by senators. A final confirmation vote on Gorsuch is not scheduled until Friday, when 52 Republicans and at least three Democrats — from states won by Trump in last year's election — are expected to vote for him to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the high court. But the next 24 hours could be among the most contentious in recent Senate history.

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