Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said Democrats don’t have a “triple secret procedural trick device” to use to stop the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
With recent statements from Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and Republican Iowa Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst supporting a hearing on Trump’s nominee, it appears that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have the votes he needs despite the fact that Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins have both said they would not vote to confirm a nominee until after the election.
White discussed the upcoming fight over Ginsburg’s seat Tuesday afternoon on Fox News’ “Bill Hemmer Reports.”
“Can you stop this or can Democrats stop this now?” anchor Bill Hemmer asked.
“You know, I don’t think we have a triple secret procedural trick device in our back pockets that we didn’t use during the Gorsuch proceedings or didn’t use during the Kavanaugh proceedings, so I think it’s really a question of shedding light, making sure everybody gets a chance to understand what the consequences of this are,” Whitehouse responded.
“You seem to be resigned then based on that answer of the inevitable,” said Hemmer. “Do I hear you correctly?”
Whitehouse stressed the upcoming election and the possibility that rushing through a nominee could hurt some GOP incumbents, but reiterated that there is “no procedural trick that we’ve been holding in our back pockets all this time.”
Hemmer and Whitehouse discussed the possibility of Democrats using court packing and changing the filibuster rule, but the Rhode Island senator declined to give a firm answer.
“What I have said is that I do think that my Republican colleagues if they ram this appointment through contrary to the precedent they themselves set they have forfeited their standing to complain about future procedural efforts that Senate Democrats might make,” he said. “You can’t have a situation in which Senate rules and traditions and norms all get broken when one side is in power and then they get to blow the whistle when the other side does the same thing. But that’s not a promise of what we are going to do. That’s just a warning to Republicans that if they want the Senate to be that way keep acting the way you’re acting, but if you want it to be a little bit more normal then you’re gonna have to be a little bit more normal.” (RELATED: Pelosi Refuses To Rule Out Trump, Barr Impeachment To Disrupt Supreme Court Nomination)
On the filibuster, Whitehouse suggested “there may be specific cases where we run into such intransigence we’ve got to find some extraordinary measure,” but said it wasn’t something Democrats would seek to do immediately.