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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is leading a filibuster against Judge Neil Gorsuch, called a press conference Wednesday to further his and his fellow Democrat senators’ commitment to blocking President Donald Trump’s SOTUS nominee.
However, during a 2013 press conference, Schumer took on a different perspective and heartily spoke against the very conduct he and his fellow Democat lawmakers are engaged in, saying Democrats prefer “up-or-down” votes over obstruction, “no matter who’s in power.”
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At the time, he stated,”We much prefer the risk of up-or-down votes in majority rule, than the risk of continued total obstruction. That is the bottom line, no matter who’s in power.”
Also on Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz said, “The notion of filibustering federal judges” was largely invented by Schumer.
Wednesday’s press conference, which was led by Schumer and Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), drew attention to the alleged use of “dark money” being spent by special interest group Judicial Crisis Network and to ask for the disclosure of the donors who are funding the $10 million campaign supporting Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Schumer argued against Republican talk of invoking the “nuclear option,” saying that all recent high court nominees have reached a 60-vote threshold. He suggested the same for Gorsuch.
“Republicans should not make it their choice to go nuclear,’ Schumer said. “And if the nuclear option is invoked, it’s because our Republicans in the Senate chose to do so.”
Schumer suggested, instead, replacing Gorsuch with a different nominee—a tactic that would further stall President Trump from filling the seat left by Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing. Schumer suggested the reason Gorsuch “is having trouble earning 60 votes” is because he “represents the hard-right special interests wing of American politics.” He also said,”We believe in a 60-vote threshold. That’s why we filed a cloture motion.”
Schumer continued, “Judge Gorsuch, we believe, does not belong on the bench. We also believe there are Republicans who are reluctant to change the rules,” he said of certain lawmakers to whom he referred as “free actors.” He added, “We hope they don’t.”
The Hill reported earlier this month that “Gorsuch declined to take the bait” when Whitehouse asked him if as a “matter of courtesy to the process,” he would ask his anonymous backers to reveal themselves to the public. “You could ask right now as a matter of courtesy, as a matter of respect for the process, that anybody funding this should declare themselves right now so we can evaluate who is behind this effort,” Whitehouse reportedly said.
Gorsuch replied, “It would be a politics question and I’m not, with all respect senator, going to get involved in politics.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Blumenthal seemed to make an argument as to why Republicans would want to confirm Gorsuch. “Gorsch has showed himself to be skillful, artful, articulate, and a deeply conservative judge with that bend, who can sway his colleagues.”
Schumer again emphasized, “If they’re so quick to change the rules this time, they’ll change the rules again next time.”
In the past, Schumer has expressed his regret over Senate Democrats’ decision to trigger the nuclear option in 2013, in order to decrease the number of senators needed to confirm Cabinet picks from 60 to 51 votes.
“I wish it hadn’t happened,” Schumer said in an interview with CNN, about the move that was triggered by former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
The move is dubbed the “nuclear option” because by altering the filibuster rules it stands to blow up bipartisan Senate relations.
“I argued against it at the time,” Schumer said. “I said both for Supreme Court and in Cabinet it should be 60, because on such important positions there should be some degree of bipartisanship. I won on Supreme Court, lost on Cabinet. But, that’s what we have to live with now.”