WASHINGTON ― Democrats really want to be the reasonable ones. When
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But they can’t forget about Merrick Garland.
That was President Barack Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court seat that opened
Falcons Online Store up in February 2016 ― the same seat Trump is now filling. Republicans prevented Obama from filling the seat all year by denying Garland a hearing, insisting that, because Obama was in his final year in office, the next president should get to fill the seat. It was a cynical strategy hatched by Senate Women’s Customized Atlanta Falcons Julio Jones Nike Team Color Red Super Bowl LI Bound Elite Jersey Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to hold the seat open for Trump, and it worked. Republicans now get to fill the seat with a GOP nominee.
Though they say they’re ready to move on, it’s clear that Democrats view their
Patriots Gears role in considering Gorsuch’s nomination, and the Senate’s processes, more cynically. They remember the unprecedented level of obstruction Republicans waged on Garland, a Supreme Court nominee who GOP senators didn’t even oppose on his merits. Perhaps more importantly, they remember how McConnell violated the norms of the Senate, an institution the
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“The ghost of Merrick Garland still floats around part of this place,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).
“I’m going to take a look at his nominee … but let’s make it clear: This is a
Buy It Now different process now because of what they did last year,” he said. “They made the decision to politicize the Supreme Court process, and ultimately they’ll have to own that.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who was the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee last year and led the push to get Garland a hearing, said he still can’t believe the way Republicans treated Obama’s nominee.
“I’m the longest-serving senator. I’ve never seen anything like that with either the Republicans or the Democrats,” Leahy said. “We all take an oath to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution says the president shall nominate, says we shall
Men’s New England Patriots Martellus Bennett Nike Team Color Navy Super Bowl LI Bound Elite Jersey advise and consent. The president followed the Constitution. The Senate violated it.”
“It’s still a painful memory,” added Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.). “But we’re committed to doing what Mitch McConnell would not do, and that is giving the nominee a hearing.”
The Huffington Post talked to several Democratic senators to gauge how deeply the past year’s Supreme Court fight may have tainted their views on how the Senate is supposed to work. Their initial responses were pragmatic and reasoned, like Durbin’s, emphasizing the need to treat all nominees fairly. A Supreme Court confirmation may be the most important vote they take in their entire Senate career, some argued, and these types of nominations require thoughtful, apolitical vetting.
But probing a little deeper, there was a simmering anger.
“Of course it does,” Durbin snapped, when asked if the Garland fight soured his perspective on how the Senate is supposed to function.
“This has never happened before in the history of the United States. Never. Durbin said never, yes he said never,” he continued. “And [McConnell] did it gleefully. McConnell announced the day after the election, ‘I won! We kept the vacancy open and now President Trump gets to fill it.’ Do we remember? Sure.”
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said Tuesday before Trump’s announcement that she wanted to wait to learn about the nominee before saying much about the confirmation process. She stepped into an elevator as a HuffPost reporter asked
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“What do you think?” she asked as the doors closed.
Some Democrats said Republicans’ treatment of Garland did lasting damage to government operations, and not just the Senate.
“We now have, in effect, an acceptance of deferring consideration of a Supreme Court nominee simply for political purposes, and that politicized and degraded the United States Supreme Court as an institution,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).