Say what you want about Mitch McConnell — and it’s all probably true. However, the Senate Minority Leader is no stranger to back-door deals which usually work out in his favor. Additionally, he’s proven himself to be a key asset in Trump’s plan to nominate more conservative judges to the bench than ever before. Also, lest we forget, he was responsible for blocking Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell can reportedly stop Democrat President Joe Biden from being able to replace Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer should Breyer indeed decide to retire as expected.
With judicial nominees, only 51 votes are needed to confirm a nominee, commonly referred to as the “nuclear option.” In a 50-50 tied Senate, Democrats will likely need all their Senators to vote for the nominee and then would need Vice President Kamala Harris to be the tie-breaking vote.
“But the nuclear option can go into motion only if the Judiciary Committee reports the nomination to the floor, a procedural move that says whether a majority on the committee recommends the full Senate consider the pick,” TIME Magazine reported.
“Well, in a little-noticed backroom deal that took more than a month to hammer out, McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed to a power-sharing plan in February that splits committee membership, staffs and budgets in half.”
“If all 11 Republican members of the Judiciary Committee oppose Biden’s pick and all 11 Democrats back her, the nomination goes inert. The nomination doesn’t die, but it does get parked until a lawmaker—historically, the Leader of the party—brings it to the floor for four hours of debate,” the report added.
“A majority of the Senate—51 votes, typically—can then put debate about the issue on the calendar for the next day. But that’s the last easy part. When the potential pick comes to the floor again, it’s not as a nomination. At that point, it’s a motion to discharge, a cloture motion that requires 60 votes. In other words, 10 Republicans would have to resurrect the nomination of someone already blocked in the Judiciary Committee.”
Multiple news organizations reported that sources close to Breyer had said that he was going to retire — and that Joe Biden was expected to make an official announcement about the matter this week.
Breyer was reportedly not happy that the news broke on Wednesday, according to multiple sources.
Multiple sources tell revealed Justice Breyer was not planning to announce his retirement today. They describe him as ‘upset’ with how this has played out. We still await any official notice from his office and/or the White House.
Potential retirement conversations between Justices and the WH happen at a very high level. For a news leak like this to happen is highly unusual. https://t.co/kkuCxJJ7tV
— Ron Bonjean (@RonBonjean) January 26, 2022
Meanwhile, the White House has reaffirmed Biden’s promise to use affirmative action, not merit, to decide Breyer’s replacement.
Author: Asa McCue