The vote is on and we have a front row seat to The Resistance.
Both of Virginia’s Senators–Tim Kaine and Mark Warner–-are voting for the people. That is, they’re voting against Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. They’re also voting against cloture (we’ll get to that in a minute).
These votes are good for Virginia. While Gorsuch refuses to take a position on anything, including court cases with tons of precedent, his records are clear. He will:
- Roll back rights for students with disabilities (Betsy DeVos is going to do this too, but I digress)
- Endanger the environment, the air we breathe, and the water we drink
- Put more money in politics
- Threaten LGBT rights
- Use the law to restrict rights for women
So before diving into the details of tomorrow’s (expected) vote, let’s give a big
to our Senators from Virginia. Thank you for valuing all Virginians, and not just corporations. Thank you for supporting women, instead of telling us what to do. Thank you for protecting those with disabilities, instead of leaving them behind. Thank you for voting against Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to the highest court in our country.
Let’s get back to cloture.
Senate Rules are fun. And by fun, I mean complicated. Gorsuch doesn’t need 60 votes to be confirmed – he needs 60 votes to end debate, also known as 60 votes for cloture.
The “nuclear option” you’ve probably heard about would change the requirement for 60 votes to end debate – the filibuster – and instead require a simple majority of 51.
Ignoring the dramatic changes, this would apply to our law-making process, let’s start with the fact that no Republican or Democrat nominee needed the “nuclear option” to move to a vote. Justice Samuel Alito faced a filibuster threat during his confirmation process, but still got the 60 votes needed to end debate.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and John Roberts each ended the debate with unanimous consent.
Senators Kaine and Warner intend to vote against cloture for Judge Gorsuch, as well as against the nominee.
Don’t change the rules, change the nominee.
Assuming Gorsuch gets the 60 votes needed to end debate, what happens next? He moves to the Senate for a full vote to confirm. Here, he only needs 51 votes.
Let’s look at some recent votes. On August 6, 2009, Judge Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate with a bipartisan 68-31 vote. On September 29, 2005, Judge Roberts was confirmed with a bipartisan 78-22 vote.
Even when partisanship is high, and even when Republicans are particularly racist (see “Obama is from Kenya”), previous nominees to the highest court in the land have been respected for their judicial record and qualified for this honor.
Gorsuch’s nomination has yet to make it out of filibuster territory. Senate Republicans are changing the rules at the first sign of The Resistance instead of looking to a better nominee.
Which means that Gorsuch is, simply, a bad nominee.
A New Nominee?
Lastly, and I can’t overstate this enough, “President” Trump is UNDER FBI INVESTIGATION.
We shouldn’t change the rules to rush through the nominee of a president under FBI investigation. We should change the president, sorry I mean the nominee.
If only someone had warned us.
Our Resistance leaders in the Senate haven’t stopped at Gorsuch.
Here are some other things they’ve been up to:
- On #EqualPayDay, they reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, alongside Senator Patty Murray, which would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and guarantee that women can challenge pay discrimination and hold employers accountable.
- Senator Kaine had some excellent words for “President” Trump deflecting the responsibility of his job.
- Senator Warner hit the front pages recently with Senator Richard Burr, vowing a thorough investigation on Russian interference in our election.
- Both Senator Kaine and Warner have voiced concerned about Trump’s budget proposal, including the proposed elimination of the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup.
The fight continues, and The Resistance strengthens.