With the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Democrats sense an opportunity. Biden could replace Breyer with a liberal-friendly Justice, and regain some lost popularity.
However, the President may face an unexpected hurdle when the nomination and confirmation process comes around. And Republicans might be seriously considering this “blocking move.”
It comes in the form of a little-known “backroom deal,” which could be cause for concern among leftist politicians.
Currently, due to the “nuclear option,” a nominee only needs 51 votes to be confirmed to the high court. So with the Senate split 50/50, Democrats will probably need all their members to vote for the nominee.
At that point, they’d get the nominee in with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.
But there’s a hidden obstacle in this procedure, as TIME Magazine noted. It says the nuclear option only occurs if the Judiciary Committee reports the nomination to the floor, which is a crucial part.
After this, the article makes it clear that Republicans could feasibly stop the nomination (via The Daily Wire):
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) can reportedly stop Democrat President Joe Biden from being able to replace Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer should Breyer indeed decide to retire as expected.
…in a little-noticed backroom deal that took more than a month to hammer out, McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed to a power-sharing plan in February that splits committee membership, staffs and budgets in half.
The situation is this:
If all 11 Republicans oppose Biden’s pick, and all 11 Democrats support the pick, the nomination “goes inert.” It’s not over, but a lawmaker must bring it to the floor for 4 hours of debate.
Then, when the candidate comes to the floor again, it’s not a nomination anymore:
At that point, it’s a motion to discharge, a cloture motion that requires 60 votes.
In other words, 10 Republicans would have to resurrect the nomination of someone already blocked in the Judiciary Committee.
For his part, McConnell says he’s going to hold off on commenting until Breyer makes an official retirement announcement.
But it stands to reason that most Democrats will back whoever Biden nominates, and most Republicans will oppose the candidate. And with this “backroom deal,” the situation gets dicey for Democrats.
Breyer is the oldest member of the Supreme Court at 83; he was appointed back in ’94 by President Bill Clinton.
There have been reports that liberal politicians and lawmakers pressured Breyer into stepping down, so Biden would get a chance to name his successor while Democrats held the Senate majority.
That’s really the goal for the Biden administration right now, and it could help the President’s flagging approval numbers, and bolster his image among leftist voters.
However, this news tells us it won’t be a simple, straightforward affair. Republicans have a pathway to stop the nomination, which would cause even more backlash for the current White House.
- Due to a “backroom deal” between Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, Republicans might be able to block Biden’s Supreme Court nominee.
- It’s likely that most, if not all, Democrats will support Biden’s pick.
- But the procedure involves a possible debate, and the nomination might not make it through.
Source: The Daily Wire