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Who’s Really Responsible for Democrats’ Powerlessness To Stop Trump Supreme Court Nominee?

Democrats and liberal commentators like The Boston Globe‘s Scot Lehigh are claiming U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is acting hypocritically in planning to hold confirmation hearings this fall for a new Trump U.S. Supreme Court nominee before the 2018 midterm election even though he refused to hold hearings for an Obama nominee before the 2016 presidential election.

But Evan Lips points out that the real problem for Democrats is they no longer can use the filibuster to prevent a vote by the full Senate. The old cloture rule required three-fifths of the senators (60) to vote to to cut off debate; the new rule requires a bare majority (51). That’s because McConnell-led Republicans (who have held the majority since January 2015) torched the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees in April 2017.

But Lips notes that the person who first dented the filibuster was former U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who in November 2013, when he was Senate President, decided to get rid of it for lower-federal-court nominees because Republicans were holding up then-President Barack Obama’s nominations.

“McConnell and Republicans in the Senate are now returning Reid’s favor,” Lips writes. “But you won’t find that information anywhere in Lehigh’s column.”

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