Grassley: You Can’t Use the Senate Rules as Both a Shield and a Sword Earlier, the other side made an unprecedented break with Senate history and tradition. They launched the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee in our nation’s history.
BigNews.Biz - Apr 07,2017 - Grassley: You Can’t Use the Senate Rules as Both a Shield and a Sword
Prepared Floor Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
On the Nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to Serve
as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
“A Shield and a Sword”
Mr. President, we’re now well on our way to confirming Judge Gorsuch as the next Justice of the Supreme Court. Now, I have a few things to say about the way we’ve gotten here.
Earlier, the other side made an unprecedented break with Senate history and tradition. They launched the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee in our nation’s history.
For our part, Republicans insisted that we follow the practice of the Senate. We don’t engage in partisan filibusters of Supreme Court nominees.
Yesterday I came to the floor to speak about the path that brought us here. As I discussed, in 2001, the current Minority Leader and some of his allies on the far left hatched a plan to “change the ground rules” with regard to lower court nominees. I noted a New York Times article describing the Democrat Senatorial Caucus retreat where the new approach to nominees was discussed.
After a brief time in the Majority, Senate Democrats were back in the Minority in 2003. It was at that time that Senate Democrats began unprecedented and systematic filibusters of President Bush’s circuit court nominees.
Then, the tables turned. President Obama was elected and Republicans held the Senate Minority.
At that time, even though many of us didn’t like the idea of using the filibuster on judicial nominees, we also recognized that we couldn’t have two sets of rules—one for Republican Presidents and one for Democrat Presidents. Our party defeated two nominees by filibuster and denied cloture to three of President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
But the other side didn’t appreciate being subjected to the rules they first established in 2003.
So at that point, in 2013, they decided to change the rules of the Senate.
Now, at the time, as we all know, Majority Leader Reid changed the rules for all cabinet nominations and lower court nominees.
To say that my colleagues and I were disappointed is a gross understatement.
The Majority CLAIMED that they left intact the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.
But, my view back in 2013, was that the distinction Majority Leader Reid drew between lower court nominees and the Supreme Court wasn’t a meaningful one.
My view in 2013 was that Majority Leader Reid had effectively eliminated the filibuster for both lower court nominees AND the Supreme Court.
And here’s the reason. There are two circumstances where this issue might conceivably arise. Either you have a Democrat in the White House and a Democrat controlled Senate. Or, where you’d have a Republican in the White House and a Republican led Senate.