Senate Democrats are working to prevent Republicans from committing 'a political heist.'
Since Donald Trump named Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, Senate Democrats have started readying an arsenal of procedural tactics to prevent Barrett's confirmation.
Senate Republicans are working to push through Barrett, who is 48, before the end of Trump's first term in office, while Senate Democrats are gearing up to fight Barrett's confirmation tooth-and-nail.
"If we don't fight this with every fiber, politically, that we have, then we will have allowed a heist, a political heist, of a historic nature that the Republicans will have perpetrated on the American people," Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) said in an interview.
Democrats appear to have taken up Markey's call to arms, and may try to stall Barrett's confirmation with a host of procedural roadblocks. A Democratic memo obtained by The Intercept outlined the procedural tools that Democrats could use to block Barrett's confirmation. Some of the tactics mirror Senate Republicans' playbook in 2016, when they successfully blocked Merrick Garland's confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Last week, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) invoked the "two-hour rule," which forced the Senate to suspend hearings after two hours. While the disruption to committee hearings didn't completely grind Senate business to a halt, it did signal the beginning of Democrats' strategy to block Barrett's confirmation in the weeks to come.
One tactic outlined in the memo involves invoking several "fast-track" measures, which would allow senators to force a roll-call vote and a period of debate on other resolutions facing a Senate vote.
"For example, any Senator could submit a concurrent resolution on the budget, and by precedent, if action has not yet been taken on a budget resolution for the coming fiscal year, then the resolution would be immediately placed on the calendar," the memo read.
Last week, Senate Democrats refused to quickly pass a government funding bill, a move that forced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to schedule a final vote on the bill as late as Wednesday. Aside from slowing down Senate business, delaying these votes also prevents Republican senators who are up for re-election from getting back on the campaign trail.
House Democrats may also get involved by passing amendments that would take priority on the Senate floor and eat into Republican's confirmation time. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) emphasized the threats posed by a conservative Supreme Court.
"If this nominee is confirmed, millions of families' health care will be ripped away in the middle of a pandemic that has infected seven million Americans and killed over 200,000 people in our country," Pelosi said in a statement.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.