By Ian Mason
The Senate voted just before noon Friday to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Nation’s highest bench.
The vote, originally set for Friday evening, was moved up to the morning after Democrats agreed to waive part of the final debate period. Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s pick to replace conservative anchor of the Court, Justice Antonin Scalia, was confirmed by a vote of 54-45, with Democrats Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) joining a unanimous Republican Caucus.
Judge Gorsuch’s nomination process was among the most contentious in American history. After assembling the pledges of 41 Senate Democrats to iniate the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sought to prevent a vote of the full Senate. This set up a showdown over Senate cloture rules that resulted Thursday in Republicans invoking the “constitutional option” and abolishing the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.
The partisan animosity of the nomination continued into the vote. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), representing Gorsuch’s home state, voted against his fellow Coloradan. He had previously sought to chart a middle path, voting at least to allow a vote of the full Senate before the constitutional option was used.
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) took to the floor immediately after confirmation to thank his staff for their work throughout the momentous proceedings.
The Senate moved on to invoke cloture on President Trump’s pick for Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein.
Gorsuch is now expected to be formally sworn in on Monday and will join his eight fellow justices in an investiture ceremony to be held later this month.
By Laura Litvan
Senate Republicans ignited the “nuclear option” to allow confirmation of President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee and bar Democrats from blocking future picks, a dramatic rule change that could deepen partisan divisions and put more ideologically extreme justices on the court.
The 52-48 vote called for by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday will let the Senate confirm Neil Gorsuch on Friday to take a court seat that Republicans refused to let President Barack Obama fill during his last year in office.
The rule change means Gorsuch and all future Supreme Court nominees can be confirmed with a simple majority vote and will no longer face a 60-vote hurdle in the chamber now controlled by Republicans 52-48.
McConnell said Democrats’ move to filibuster Gorsuch is part of a “much larger story” in which the left is trying to politicize the courts and confirmations.
“It’s a fight they have waged for decades with a singular aim, securing raw power no matter the cost to the country or the institution,” McConnell of Kentucky said on the Senate floor. “It underlies why this threatened filibuster cannot be allowed to succeed.”
Democrats said the power grab was made by the Republicans when they denied a hearing to Obama’s nominee last year. In addition, Gorsuch didn’t show himself to be a mainstream judge during his confirmation hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
“Far from being the kind of mainstream candidate for the Supreme Court that could earn 60 votes, he may very well turn out to be one of the most conservative justices on the bench,” said Schumer of New York.
“The nuclear option means the end of a long history of consensus” on high court nominees, he said. The 60-vote requirement acts as a “guardrail” against judicial extremism, Schumer said.
Gorsuch, 49, has a decade of federal appeals court experience and unanimous support among Senate Republicans who say his qualifications will make him a strong addition to the court for decades to come.
Democratic critics say putting him on the court will produce more decisions favoring corporations over working-class Americans. Many remain embittered about the GOP’s refusal last year to consider Obama’s choice of Judge Merrick Garland for the vacancy created by the February 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Republicans insisted they were forced to make the change because Democrats were ignoring a tradition against using a filibuster to block high court nominees. McConnell and other Republicans noted that both justices confirmed under Obama, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, had bipartisan support and went straight to a final vote.
Forty-four Democrats voted Thursday to block Gorsuch’s nomination by denying the 60 votes needed to move it forward. Four Democrats voted with the GOP to advance the nomination — Michael Bennet of Colorado, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.
Republicans responded with the “nuclear option” that allows Senate rules to be revised with a simple majority vote, rather than the 67 typically required. McConnell did this by asserting to the presiding officer that only a majority should be needed to confirm Supreme Court nominees.
Republicans then voted to overturn the 60-vote requirement for Supreme Court nominees.
Republican Senator John McCain had tried to forge a bipartisan deal to avert the rule change but gave up early this week after Democrats said they had enough votes to block Gorsuch.
In 2013, a Democratic-led Senate under Majority Leader Harry Reid voted to end filibusters of executive-branch and lower-court nominees following Republican obstruction of Obama’s choices. That eased approval of Trump’s cabinet this year, with key posts including the secretaries of Treasury, Education, Health and Human Services and the attorney general winning confirmation with 53 or fewer votes.
Some lawmakers have said they fear Republicans will later change the rules to eliminate minority-party filibusters of legislation — a longstanding rule intended to force Republicans and Democrats to compromise — although McConnell said this week he won’t do that.
Even Republicans who back the new rule warn that easing hurdles for Supreme Court nominees will cause the court and Congress to become more partisan. McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina say presidents could choose nominees with more extreme views because they wouldn’t need bipartisan support for confirmation.
“Now that we are entering into an era where a simple majority decides all judicial nominations, we will see more and more nominees from the extremes of both the left and the right,” McCain said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “I do not see how that will ensure a fair and impartial judiciary. In fact, I think the opposite will be true and Americans will no longer be confident of equal protection under the law.”
by DAVID BOSSIE
During the primary season of 2012, Senator
was expecting millions in establishment cash to propel Texas’ Lt. Governor David Dewhurst to the United States Senate. Dewhurst, in McConnell’s mind, would be another political asset for him, in his decades-long dream to become Senate Majority Leader. Dewhurst looked and acted the part. McConnell envisioned Dewhurst would become part of the establishment in the U.S. Senate and most importantly, someone who would never stand up to McConnell or confront the failed status quo.
But on July 31, 2012, conservative grassroots voters in Texas had a different idea. Those Texans were truly ahead of the curve; they already knew what millions now know so well – that Washington is broken and that Americans are being lied to by career politicians like Mitch McConnell. Those courageous voters listened to
Cruz’s message of speaking truth to power and sent him to the United States Senate. This was certainly a historic election for anti-establishment forces. However, no one could have foreseen just how critically important it would turn out to be.
Fast-forward to the summer of 2015. Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz has made good on his core promise to be the voice that would hold the Washington cartel accountable. Cruz has become the one elected official in Washington who will reliably call out the establishment every time it breaks a promise or kicks our nation’s biggest problems down the road for another day. And Mitch McConnell is tired of it. In fact, McConnell is so tired of Cruz’s courage and honesty, he appears determined to use every parliamentary tactic available to deny Ted Cruz time on the Senate floor to debate the important issues facing our country.
McConnell’s personal vendetta against Cruz has taken center stage once again this week, and it’s clear that McConnell has abandoned standing up for conservative Republican values or fighting Obama’s leftwing agenda in order to destroy Ted Cruz. The Republican Leader in the Senate should make President Obama defend those atrocious Planned Parenthood videos and force him to veto the defunding of Planned Parenthood. But Mitch McConnell thinks it’s a better idea to attack Ted Cruz. The Republican Congress should not pass any legislation that busts the budget caps. But Mitch McConnell will come up with a reason to bust the caps and attack Ted Cruz for standing on principle. The Republican Congress should make President Obama veto the repeal of Obamacare, border security, and countless other conservative policies the American people expect this Congress to deal with. Instead, Mitch McConnell and his leadership team appear poised to enact every letter of President Obama’s agenda just to spite Ted Cruz. Mitch McConnell is melting down.
McConnell has grown completely out of touch with the American people during his three decades in Washington. Even in the face of conservative grassroots activists driving House Speaker
from power for losing touch with voters, McConnell’s cynical instincts tell him to dig in and reject the very ideals that made him majority leader.
Ted Cruz is running for President with a very clear message. He wants to be the President who will finally take on the Washington cartel that Mitch McConnell presides over. Cruz is well-positioned to go the distance in his bid for the Republican nomination. But, if Senator Cruz doesn’t find himself at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he will be returning to the Senate as the most powerful conservative in America. Either way, Mitch McConnell is on notice – the days of honoring himself and his power will soon come to an end.
BY RUSS HEPLER
Senate Majority Leader – “Twitchy Mitchy” McConnell – is not known for standing up for what he believes in. He is a consummate Washington politician who is as slippery and slimy as they come.
Even though the American people gave McConnell and his friends control of Congress via the last two elections specifically to halt the Obama agenda, McConnell has done little more than roll over constantly to Obama’s will.
And, he usually does so without even a fight.
Now, he has once again signaled his intentions to surrender to the Obama Administration; once again without fighting for what is right.
The Hill has the story:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says that defunding Planned Parenthood will have to wait for a new commander in chief in 2017.
“The president’s made it very clear he’s not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood, so that’s another issue that awaits a new president, hopefully with a different point of view about Planned Parenthood,” McConnell said Monday on the Kentucky station WYMT’s “Issues and Answers.”
Defunding Planned Parenthood has become a leading cause among some Republicans in the wake of controversial undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the price of fetal tissue for medical research. Planned Parenthood, while apologizing for the tone, denies any wrongdoing, saying officials are discussing legal compensation for expenses and pointing to an analysis that the videos are heavily edited.
McConnell said that the Senate would vote again on defunding Planned Parenthood after a failed Senate vote last month, but he said that the votes are not there.
“We just don’t have the votes to get the outcome that we’d like,” he said. “Again, the president has the pen to sign it. If he doesn’t sign it, it doesn’t happen. But, yeah, we voted on that already in the Senate, we’ll vote on it again, but I would remind all of your viewers the way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it and the president has to sign it.”
Once again, McConnell is playing “fast and loose” with the truth. He destroyed the best chance the Senate had to kill funding for Planned Parenthood in July by refusing to attach defunding to the Highway Bill.
This would have been the best opportunity the Republicans had to make sure the bill passed given that the President was very unlikely to veto the “must-pass” highway bill.
He later allowed a “stand alone” vote on defunding which he knew would come up short of the 60 votes needed.
But, McConnell is not finished with his surrender at this point as The Hill explains:
However, McConnell will be under pressure from members, like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and other presidential candidates not to include any Planned Parenthood funding in the larger government spending bill this fall. If President Obama then vetoed that bill, as expected, there would be a government shutdown.
McConnell vowed last month that the government will not shut down over the issue, noting the failure of previous Republican efforts and saying, “We’ve been down this path before.”
Still, even some establishment Republicans have said they would have trouble voting for a spending bill that included Planned Parenthood funds.
Since McConnell is more afraid of the Washington press than he is the American people, he refuses to fight with all the weapons in his Constitutional arsenal.
By refusing to force Obama to shut down the government if the President vetoes the defunding aspect of a larger bill, for fear he would be blamed by Obama’s sycophantic media lap dogs, McConnell has bowed to the will of the Obama Administration once again.
At this point it’s hard to tell which Republican leader in Congress – McConnell in the Senate, or Boehner in the House – has been worse.
Both are abject failures for the American people.
President Obama and his radical leftists are laughing at both of them, and the rest of us, while they push ahead with their plans to “fundamentally transform” America into a socialist wasteland.
The real losers in McConnell’s gross cowardice are all the babies that will be murdered and their bodies chopped up and sold by Planned Parenthood in their dead baby organ trafficking operation.
BY RICK WELLS
The only man who is less believable in anything he says than Mitch McConnell is Hussein Obama, but they’re close. On Monday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who engineered the current “powerlessness to do anything” situation with regards to the Iran deal, attempted to slip himself off of the hook of culpability.
He told a gathering of his cronies at a local chamber of commerce that he’d really like to do something to stop the Iran deal, but that it appears to be up to the Democrats to kill it. What leadership! He’s just like Smedley Butler, only unencumbered by honesty, patriotism and strength of character.
McConnell said that the Obama fiasco has “a great likelihood of success” in being approved since the threshold was lowered to that of a 34 Senators needed to sustain a “presidential” veto. That little jewel of abdication of Constitutional responsibility of the Senate to ratify treaties was delivered to Obama by the same hand-wringing sellout politician, with some help from his closest comrades, Sen Bob “Corruption” Corker and John “Songbird” McCain, but there’s plenty of blame to go around.
As if to say “don’t blame me for what I did for Obama,” McConnell told the gathering “He can win by getting one-third plus one of either house,” a figure half of what it would have been, had the Constitution been followed and McConnell not chosen to simply hand nuclear weapons and billions of dollars to the terrorist nation. One has to wonder just how large the bribe had to be to persuade the treasonous McConnell to enable nuclear Armageddon.
Traitor Mitch said, “What I’m pretty confident of is sustaining the veto will be an entirely Democratic exercise,” again distancing himself as best he can from the situation he created. He noted, “Sen Schumer coming out against the deal was helpful.”
McConnell added, “I hope we can defeat it, but the procedure is obviously stacked in the ‘president’s’ favor. And we’ll see.”
We already see, Mitch. You’re a snake, a tool of the corporate machine that is going to become incredibly wealthy as the result of a conventional and nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
It will end up being one of those one or two vote squeakers, with lawmakers in both chambers able to position themselves for protection as best as they can from the American people while still approving the financial bonanza created for the corporate puppet masters. The fact that their reckless profiteering is endangering the entire world is not a consideration.
We’ve seen this play out too many times, McConnell. You’re a traitor and you’re not fooling anybody. He’d better pray the people don’t regain control of this nation. He’ll be one of the first to be held accountable.
Rick Wells is a conservative writer who recognizes that our nation, our Constitution and our traditions are under a full scale assault from multiple threats. Please “Like” him on Facebook, “Follow” him on Twitter or visit www.rickwells.us & www.truthburgers.com .
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