Ever since President Obama took office, Republicans have waged an unprecedented campaign of obstruction against the president’s judges. As a result, nearly one in nine federal judgeships are vacant and federal judges are now retiring faster than new judges are being confirmed. Yet Senate Republicans Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor yesterday to make the astounding claim that he has always been a champion against filibusters of judicial nominees:
Some have also suggested that one’s view of the filibuster depends on where one sits. And it’s true that when I was in the majority I opposed filibustering judicial nominees. But I opposed doing so when I was in the minority too, and I opposed doing so regardless of who was in the White House. In short, I was against expanding the use of the filibuster into an area in which it traditionally had not been used—period.
McConnell is simply not telling the truth about his record on judicial filibusters. While McConnell certainly joined his caucus in claiming that such filibusters were unacceptable when President Bush was nominating judges, McConnell literally filibustered the very first nominee named by President Obama. McConnell was one of 29 Republicans who joined a failed filibuster attempt against Judge David Hamilton, the first person nominated to a federal judgeship after Republicans lost the White House.
And judicial nominees are hardly the only victims of McConnell’s single-minded campaign to prevent the Senate from functioning. Indeed, the minute McConnell became Minority Leader, the number of filibusters spiked massively:
So while McConnell’s claim to consistency on judicial filibusters is obviously false, he has been consistent on one thing: doing everything in his power to make sure only conservatives are allowed to govern.