Senate GOP Leader Delays Confirmation Vote So He Can Go To A Basketball Game

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) does not much like it when the Senate is getting things done. Indeed, the frequency of filibusters more than doubled after McConnell became his party’s leader in the Senate. But, as Bloomberg reports, the Minority Leader has now outdone his own ability to come up with reasons for the Senate to avoid doing its job:

The Senate was supposed to vote this afternoon on the nomination of Patty Shwartz as a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That vote has been postponed until tomorrow because Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has other plans: Kentucky’s senior senator will be in the sea of red at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta as his University of Louisville Cardinals take on the University of Michigan Wolverines for the men’s NCAA basketball championship. . . .

Why the schedule foul-up? On March 31, Louisville knocked off Duke University to qualify for the Final Four, setting up a potential conflict for McConnell between the Senate vote and the championship game. He has been a frequent face in the crowd at the team’s NCAA tournament games this year.

A senior Democratic aide said the schedule was adjusted in the expectation that if Louisville made it to the final round, McConnell would want to go to the game. McConnell spokesman Don Stewart pointed out that the schedule change was made before Louisville won its Final Four game against Wichita State University on Saturday and the finals match-up was known.


For the record, it takes 51 votes to confirm a judge, and only 60 to break the filibusters that are now ubiquitous under McConnell’s leadership — and the Senate contains 99 other senators who don’t think that attending a basketball game is more important than their day job. Even excusing McConnell’s decision to place his personal needs ahead of the country, there is no good reason why the Senate cannot simply confirm Shwartz in McConnell’s absence.