Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey Are Embarrassing and Hurtful

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2017/04/08/elizabeth-warren-and-ed-markey-are-embarrassing-and-hurtful/

As of this week our country is now a little poorer because the United States Senate has less of a filibuster than it once did.

Thank you, Senate Democrats. And special thanks to our two senators “from” Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey.

Sure, Republicans blew up the filibuster for U.S. Supreme Court nominees on Thursday in order to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the high court on Friday. But Democrats started the process four years ago and made it necessary for Republicans to finish it this week.

In 2013, Democrats removed the possibility of a filibuster from nominees for federal judgeships below the Supreme Court, because Republicans were slowing down the confirmation of various lower-court nominees of then-president Barack Obama.

Then, more recently, Democrats, including our own Warren and Markey, decided to filibuster a non-firebrand nominee to the Supreme Court. (More on why later.)

The filibuster isn’t a constitutional matter; the federal constitution never mentions it. Instead, it’s a longstanding rule of the Senate, designed to ensure that on any measure at least 60 of the 100 senators think it isn’t so horrible that it doesn’t deserve at least an up-or-down vote of the full body. In other words:  It’s one thing to oppose something; it’s another thing to oppose something so much that you don’t want to allow everyone else in the chamber to be able to vote on it.

Used correctly, the filibuster is a valuable tool to block or slow down government from making mistakes. It is an instrument of obstruction and gridlock — the sort of things mainstream media commentators always complain about but which the rest of us should be grateful for.

But it ought to be used in special cases only. Otherwise, it becomes cheap, unworkable, and liable to be reversed by the party in power, as happened late this week.

So what made Gorsuch a special case?

Nothing, and everything.

Gorsuch is an experienced federal judge and legal scholar whose ideas are well within the mainstream of judicial thought. His “Well Qualified” rating from the left-leaning American Bar Association and his unanimous voice vote confirmation as a lower-court federal judge in 2006 demonstrate how non-controversial he should have been as a Supreme Court nominee.

But that’s not good enough for Democrats like Warren and Markey, who not only opposed such a nominee but wanted to throw the book at him.


Briefly:  Republicans want referees on the Supreme Court who will interpret the law. Democrats want teammates who will make up theories to get a result that liberals like. And Democrats so want friendly political partisans on the court that they can’t stand the idea of a down-the-middle just judge.

You want evidence?

First let’s hear from Markey, who in a prepared speech on February 3 tried to link Gorsuch with corporate interests, including:  “He has sided with corporations over the reproductive rights and health of women.”

You might think this has something to do with abortion. If so, it’s laugh-out-loud. Pro-lifers will be shocked to know that Big Business supports them.

But it’s probably a sideswipe at the Hobby Lobby case — the one where judges (including Gorsuch) told Big Government it couldn’t force business owners to pay for contraceptives for employees if it violates their conscience to do so. In other words:  Gorsuch interpreted the law. The First Amendment to the federal constitution protects freedom of religion. Gorsuch applied it.

But as usual, Markey is a piker compared to Elizabeth Warren.

Warren recently called for President Donald Trump to replace Gorsuch with a new nominee because Gorsuch “does not have enough support in the Senate to be confirmed under our rules.” That means that he didn’t have 60 votes to stop a filibuster, a reference to Democrats like Markey and herself, who were among the 45 senators against ending debate.

Yet she didn’t always feel that way about the filibuster. Shortly before she first came to the Senate four years ago, Warren was horrified that Republicans were using the filibuster to hamper Obama nominees. She called for gutting it so that nominees could get an up-or-down vote. Then, as a new senator, Warren cited the federal constitution’s “advice and consent” clause, which she interpreted to mean the Senate has to vote up or down on a president’s nominee.

Why? In 2013, the president was a Democrat, and Democrats controlled the Senate. A majority vote favored Democrats.

Check out this humdinger, which comes at 2:06 in of her speech:

“We need to call out these filibusters for what they are:  naked attempts to nullify the results of the last presidential election.”


In a twist on John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren was against the filibuster before she was for it.