The Senate Judiciary Committee’s senior Republican, Chuck Grassley, said this morning that all senators have the right to cast a roll-call confirmation vote on judicial nominees, including ones that he helped to filibuster.
At today’s committee meeting, Grassley talked about four judicial nominees who were all confirmed this week with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, each with only a smattering of no votes. He noted that even though all four had been approved by the committee by unopposed voice vote, there were a few senators not on the committee who voted no on the floor. Grassley said he was bringing this up to show that:
A voice vote in committee does not necessarily mean that the nominee has unanimous support, and every member [of the Senate] deserves the right to a recorded vote. [emphasis added]
Here’s what he left out: Those recorded votes happened only because Democrats defeated filibusters of the four nominees by Grassley and the overwhelming majority of his fellow Republicans. In fact, the Republicans haven’t agreed to a single up-or-down confirmation vote since November.
If Grassley now thinks that “every member deserves the right to a recorded vote” on judicial nominees, perhaps the GOP will stop blocking votes on qualified nominees. With the committee having advanced another six nominees today, there are now 34 judicial nominees who have been approved by the Judiciary Committee and are eligible for a yes-or-no confirmation vote. Unless Republicans stop their universal filibuster of all judicial nominees, the chamber’s rules could require the Senate to waste more than 200 hours in needless “post-cloture debate” before they can all be confirmed. That’s weeks and weeks of wasted time.
Forget about what “every member” has a right to. The American people have a right to a Senate that does its job.