The Democrats began discussing their options on Saturday. All the senators vowed a furious fight to hold the seat until a new Senate convenes next year and Joe Biden could occupy the White House. And while no concrete course of action was outlined, Democrats said they agreed: They planned a sweeping fight to stop the nomination by pressuring four Republicans to break their ranks.
“Mitch McConnell believes this fight is over. What Mitch McConnell doesn’t understand is that this fight has only just begun,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, at a vigil in Ginsburg on Saturday.
First, the Democrats want to stop the nomination, and they are considering unusual moves to bottle all deals in the Senate and delay the process for as long as possible, the Senators said. According to the rules according to which the chamber must work unanimously, democrats can object to day-to-day business and essentially bring the chamber to a standstill.
McConnell could at some point bypass this stall tactic if he has the backing of 51
And if the Democrats ultimately don’t stop the candidate, they suggest they could push legislation to expand the Supreme Court by adding extra seats to take revenge on what they see as persistent Republican tactics.
This option sparked increased interest after Ginsburg’s death – and one that the democratic leaders are not ruling out.
“We basically kept options open,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin told CNN’s newsroom host Ana Cabrera on Saturday night when asked if he would like to add more seats to the court.
McConnell vowed on Friday that anyone who nominates Trump to replace Ginsburg will vote in the Senate. He argued that the situation is now different from 2016 because Republicans control the Senate and the White House.
The subject of how Democrats should react was a dominant topic, according to Democratic sources, in a Saturday afternoon conference call from the Senate Democratic Caucus in which many Democratic senators discussed the events and where the minority leader Chuck Schumer warned that ” nothing is off the table if a Trump candidate is confirmed this election year.
Schumer said on Friday that a post on the Supreme Court “should not be filled until we have a new president”.
However, several things would have to happen for the Democrats to successfully implement their approach to expanding the Supreme Court.
First, the Senate Democrats would have to win a majority in November – and the fight for control of the chamber is currently rapid. If they win the majority, that is almost certainly an extremely tight advantage – possibly a seat or two, or even a 50:50 Senate. And if Biden wins the presidency, they would have to take a number of steps to make the Supreme Court expansion a reality.
But several Democratic senators have already voiced strong opposition to the filibuster’s killing, based on fears that could have long-term implications for the institution and the country.
Ultimately, adding seats to the Supreme Court would require legislation to be passed as soon as the filibuster is changed – which would be an extremely controversial move even within the Senate’s Democratic caucus.