As of today, it's almost done. McConnell's scheme to steal the Court majority for a generation on behalf of the GOP is now virtually a fait accompli with his procedural maneuver to kill the use of filibusters for SCOTUS nominees in light of the Democrats' attempt to block the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch. The Senate rules change comes as McConnell continues to lie about his unprecedented obstruction of Barack Obama's nominee for the same seat, Judge Merrick Garland, for more than a year following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February of 2016.
Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser, author of a recent book on SCOTUS and its widening political divide, joins us today to help explain what all of this is likely to mean for the Senate, the Court and the country in both the short and long-terms. None it very good, I'm afraid.
"I'm not the least bit surprised," that there were not three Republican Senators willing to step forward today to block McConnell's rule change with a simple majority vote, Millhiser, the Editor of ThinkProgress Justice, tells me. "After you make the deal with the Devil that leads to you supporting Trump in the White House, going one step further and saying 'we're also going to change the rules of the Senate' — that's not too heavy of a lift all of a sudden."
"It's absolutely a stolen seat. This is the Merrick Garland seat," he charges, referring to the Republican's years-long blockade of Garland and failure to even hold hearings, much less an up or down vote. "The block of Democrats who voted against Gorsuch represent more than 53% of the nation. So, the only reason this guy is going to be on the Supreme Court is because a President who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes nominated him, and a group of Senators who represent a minority of the country, are going to vote to confirm him."
Millhiser also offers his thoughts on whether the filibuster for legislative actions may be next on the GOP Senate's chopping block, whether Democratic then-Majority Leader Harry Reid made a mistake by nuking the filibuster for non-SCOTUS judicial nominations back in 2013 (and we discuss what actually happened that led up to it), and what, if anything, Americans can now do to try and reverse the dangerous course the nation is clearly on.
Speaking of dangerous courses…Also today: Trump bangs the drums of war in response to the horrific chemical attack in Syria this week, despite his previous insistence that Obama and the U.S. stay out of the matter (even after an even more deadly chemical attack there in 2013) and despite the lack of international investigation, to date, as to who and what was behind the incident. And, finally, we close with a bit of good-ish news (the best we can find on a grim day) concerning a significant change in the way Americans, including Republicans, now view the Affordable Care Act in the five short months since last year's election.
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