Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) followed up on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s (R-Ky.) claims of Democrats committing obstruction, labeling the complaints as a “very bad April Fools’ joke” on Tuesday.
McConnell wrote an op-ed that Politico published Monday claiming that Democrats are committing “historic obstruction” by delaying votes for Trump administration judicial nominees.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) April 1, 2019
Schumer responded with his own Politico op-ed in which the Democratic leader rebuked McConnell, saying that Republicans are using the court system to enact “extreme ideas.”
Schumer argued that as Republican policy has been pushed further right by “ultra-conservative activists,” it has made their party’s views “too unpopular” to be supported by legislation.
He argued that Republicans use judicial appointments to circumvent congressional votes in order to accomplish goals such as “ending women’s reproductive freedom, taking away health-care coverage, rolling back civil rights, abolishing safeguards for clean air and clean water or other extreme ideas.”
The Democratic leader also blasted McConnell for his efforts to “move judges [through confirmations] like they are on a conveyor belt,” pointing out that the Republican leader has systemically blocked voting for judges who aren’t conservative.
“Republicans took this maneuver to a new, Machiavellian low,” the Democratic senator proclaimed, explaining how McConnell denied even considering former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court despite bipartisan support.
“It was widely condemned as a naked power grab that nullified a president’s constitutional authority. It was a terrible moment for our democracy and our Constitution,” Schumer said. “And yet Senator McConnell says it was one of his proudest achievements.”
Watch the video below:
They took unprecedented steps to block Pres. Obama’s nominees.
Now they need to change the rules to force through Pres. Trump's judges? pic.twitter.com/XBWi0BChOb
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 1, 2019
Schumer also suggested McConnell used Trump’s presidency as an opportunity to get rid of requirements that senators be consulted about circuit court judicial nominees in their home states before the nominees’ approval.
“I’m actually surprised Senator McConnell would raise the subject of executive nominees given the appalling history of incompetence, corruption and venality among President Trump’s so-called ‘best people,'” the Democratic senator argued.
Schumer went on to condemn McConnell for the Republican leader’s efforts.
“Notwithstanding Senator McConnell’s apparent April Fools’ joke, staffing the government is serious business,” the Democratic senator said. “They both deserve better than Senator McConnell’s constant efforts to turn the Senate into a conveyor belt for conservative ideologues.”