The two highest ranking Democrats in the Senate offered some sobering comments to supporters about the very limited options available to Senate Democrats for thwarting the confirmation of President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.
The reality, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters this week, is that if all the Republicans vote to affirm him, as seems increasingly likely, there's simply not much Democrats can do about it, The Hill reports. All those folks desperately calling for their political leaders to do something, Sen. Dick Durbin suggested, don't understand how the Senate operates.
"There is no way we can prevent the Senate from meeting," Schumer said in response to a question about procedural methods for blocking the confirmation hearing. "There's been some discussion about that, but it just wouldn't happen."
Durbin was more blunt. "Some of the things that have been in blogs and suggested do not even understand the basics of the Senate," the second-ranking Democratic Senator told reporters. "Some of the people who have come up to me at parades and said, 'Shut 'em down, do this, do that,' it reflects a limited understanding of how the Senate operates."
With Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins signaling that they're likely to support Kavanaugh, the Democrats' hopes of blocking Trump's second Supreme Court nomination are looking grim.
"Let’s put it this way: There were some who have been on the list that I would have had a very, very difficult time supporting, just based on what was already publicly known about them. We’re not dealing with that," Murkowski said this week to Democrats' dismay.
Collins wasn't much more comforting to the desperate Dems: "It will be very difficult for anyone to argue that [Kavanaugh's] not qualified for the job. He clearly is qualified for the job. But there are other issues involving judicial temperament and his political or rather his judicial philosophy that also will play into my decision."
As The Hill's Jordain Carney puts it, the Democrats are in a "terrible bind" in attempting to block Kavanaugh, being pulled between two diverging factions in the party. "On one side, red-state Democrats who are worried that opposing Kavanaugh could imperil their reelection chances in November, and with it the party’s hope of winning the majority in the Senate," writes Carney. "On the other, a progressive base that is demanding Democrats engage in a full-on attack, since they see President Trump’s pick as a serious threat to liberal values."
Based on the comments of Schumer and Durbin, it looks like Senate Democrats are leaning towards protecting their precarious red-state colleagues, who so far have shown "little interest in slowing down Kavanaugh’s nomination."