Things have not been going well for Democrats regarding the Supreme Court this week, but Wednesday was particularly bad. On the same day, the court issued a major ruling against public sector unions and swing-vote Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement.
Kennedy’s retirement obviously means that President Donald Trump will have another vacancy to fill on the court, as per the Constitution, but that basic fact was simply too much for enraged MSNBC host Chris Matthews to accept.
Instead, he sputteringly demanded Senate Democrat leaders do anything and everything possible to prevent that from occurring prior to the midterm elections … if ever.
MSNBC host Steve Kornacki asked Matthews if there was anything Senate Democrats could do procedurally in the minority to prevent a Trump nominee from being confirmed to the court, and Matthews responded by whining about how Republicans had refused to even vote for former President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland in 2016.
He also whined about how Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used the “nuclear option” to change the rules and require only 51 votes instead of 60 for confirmation — ignoring the fact that former Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid set that filibuster-killing “nuclear option” ball in motion.
Matthews insisted that Democratic leaders should rebuff efforts by Republicans to “play nice” and proceed with a confirmation vote for Trump’s nominee, and made clear that their careers and leadership roles were on the line with the party’s base if they failed to block such efforts.
“The left of the Democratic Party, the progressive base of the Party — and that’s minorities, young people, millennials, it’s also Hispanics, Latinos, African-Americans — they’re tired of losing! They’re tired of losing!” Matthews shouted angrily, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
Kornacki pressed for an actual path Democrats could follow with only 49 votes that would succeed in blocking a nominee but an irate Matthews talked over him and condescendingly replied, “You don’t understand this.”
Matthews insisted that the Democratic base would “explode” if Senate Democrat leaders didn’t use every parliamentary procedure and trick they could think of to delay or prevent a one-vote confirmation.
Kornacki was still at a loss as to the actual “tool” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer could use but Matthews snapped, “OK, OK, Steve, let’s talk about this in a couple of weeks and see who’s right, alright?” and added later, “He’ll find a way.”
“They will find that way or they will fail, and if they fail they will lose their leadership,” Matthews said. “The party will not accept failure on this front.”
Kornacki then shifted his attention to his other guest, SCOTUSblog co-founder Tom Goldstein, who countered Matthews and stated, “The real issue is this, Democrats are going to have to vote because there’s no procedural way to stop it before the midterm election and there’s just too many people who are running in elections, senators, in states that Donald Trump won.”
“There’s going to be enormous pressure on them since they can’t beat the nominee to vote for the nominee so I’ll take Chris’ bet at ten-to-one,” Goldstein continued. He also predicted the eventual nominee would be confirmed by a vote of 56-44, and said Democratic leadership would “try and lay down on the tracks” to stop the nominee but the “train is just gonna run over them.”
“What you just said sir, is not acceptable politically to the Democratic base!” Matthews spewed. “It’s not acceptable to accept this is a fait accompli, what you just said.”
It was more than a little obvious that Matthews was quite perturbed by the retirement of Justice Kennedy and the fact that Trump will nominate and see confirmed his replacement on the Supreme Court, and his fear of what a right-leaning court for the next few decades could do to the progressive agenda was palpable.
Unfortunately for Matthews and the rest of the #Resist brigade, there is next to nothing for Senate Democrats to do to stop Trump’s nominee from receiving hearings or a confirmation vote — whether their leadership roles are on the line or not — and deep down Matthews knows it, which probably only further fueled his impotent rage.
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