Ruth Marcus reaches deep into her nostalgia file, and the lead she’s giving you died sometime during the Eisenhower administration:
To Democratic senators wavering on whether to filibuster: Don’t do it. Vote against his nomination, but let it come to a vote. Even if the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations is on life support, you would be better off, substantively and politically, keeping it for now.
What, exactly, are the substantive and political benefits of keeping the filibuster?
That approach is shortsighted. If the filibuster possibility remains in place, when the next vacancy comes, Trump and Senate leaders would still have to worry about potential defections from their slim majority in choosing a nominee. So the continued presence of the filibuster could have a tempering effect. And in crass political terms, the cost of exercising the nuclear option would be higher the next time around, when the court’s delicate balance would likely be more imperiled and public attention heightened.
So, the “benefit” is that Republicans senators who en masse have 1)blockaded the Supreme Court with a Democrat in the White House, 2)are going to eliminate the filubuster for Supreme Court justices and 3)will unanimously vote to confirm a 49-year-old clone of Sam Alito are more likely to defect…when the median vote of the Court is at stake and the stakes are much higher? Marcus think that McConnell would allow a filibuster with the chance to entrench a Republican majority? Who could possibly believe this?
But she does:
So Democrats, who appear to have the votes to block Gorsuch, please rethink. And Republicans, who appear to have the votes to go nuclear, please wait. Take a pause after the first cloture vote and try to work out a deal with Democrats. Then allow an up-or-down vote now, in exchange for a promise not to abolish the filibuster next time.
Hahaha, right, Dems should roll over in exchange for a promise from Mitch McConnell not to abolish the filibuster next time. Just like how the Gang of 14 agreed to preserve the filibuster to use only in “extraordinary circumstances,” which Mitch McConnell in the spirit of gentlemanly comity interpreted to mean “any time Republicans have enough votes to stop a Democratic nominee from being confirmed.” I mean, how would this promise be enforceable? Who could be aware of Mitch McConnell’s body of work an think he would rank “adhering to long-dead norms of civility” over “making John Roberts the median vote on the Supreme Court”? How can Marcus delude herself?
Indeed, on some level Marcus must know this, because her column literally doesn’t mention McConnell once. That’s how you maintain your Beltway sinecure, my friends.
…et tu, Vox? “With a nominee whose views were less extreme or whose credentials were less sterling, the filibuster would have been a powerful weapon in Senate Democrats’ arsenal.” Haha, no.