By Ryan Foley
Editor’s note. This appeared at Newsbusters. The conversation Mr. Foley is referring to took place the day before President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
During Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd interviewed Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois. A majority of the conversation focused on the Supreme Court vacancy and how Democrats would attempt to prevent President Trump from putting his pick on the bench. For the past two years, the Democrats have done their best to make sure that Republicans do not forget that they failed to hold hearings for Barack Obama’s 2016 choice, Merrick Garland.
Todd teed up Durbin by playing a clip of the Senator from September 2016 arguing that the Senate should confirm Garland: “In a few weeks, the Supreme Court will start its new term with eight justices. We need nine. Major legal questions are hanging in limbo because the Court is deadlocked on 4-4 votes.” Todd asked Durbin, “There’s been some talk among some of your colleagues for Democrats to push for a delay until after the election. Obviously, you didn’t like that in 2016. Where are you on this?”
Durbin made it perfectly clear where he stands on the Democrats’ “talk” of pushing for a delay, saying “Well, I asked Senator McConnell when Kennedy made his announcement whether he was going to be consistent. He said during the course of the vacancy at the end of the Obama Presidency, let’s wait and let the people decide in an election.”
Todd then pressed Durbin on the hypocrisy of the Senate Democrats, who now argue that a vote on President Trump’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy caused by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy should wait until after the midterm elections after complaining when Senate Republicans decided not to hold hearings for President Obama’s Supreme court nominee in 2016: “I understand that, but where are you on this now? Do you want it delayed? I understand you want to point out hypocrisy on McConnell’s side but there’s hypocrisy on your side on this too, right?”
Senator Durbin obviously did not appreciate that line of questioning, snapping back: “Well, come on, Chuck. Get real. Senator McConnell invented this new rule, and wouldn’t even consider a meeting with Merrick Garland……And now he’s saying we’ve got to hurry through here and get this done before the election. Totally inconsistent. He’s either wrong the first time or wrong the second time. The net result is he’s trying to play to his political advantage.”
Todd also asked Durbin if he regretted then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to abolish the filibuster for lower court nominees in 2013, bringing up how that led to the “slippery slope” that led Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. Durbin justified Reid’s actions, citing the “impossible situation” he faced where Republicans kept filibustering President Obama’s nominees for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.
Towards the end of the discussion, Todd brought up the fact that voting against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee “could cost you red state senators.” Durbin seemed to imply that stopping President Trump’s nominee was a higher priority than securing the re-election prospects of red state Democratic Senators.
According to Durbin, “They understand it’s an historic decision. It’s about more than the next election. It’s about what country the United States of America is going to chart as its course in the future on this Supreme Court. I think each and every one of them take that seriously…It goes beyond the next election.”
Durbin’s appearance on Meet the Press proves that the Senate Democrats have no desire to give President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee a fair hearing. For once, a member of the legacy media, who sympathizes with the Democrats’ every agenda item, actually called them on it.