On Wednesday, at the behest of Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate GOP unilaterally changed the rules of debate, cutting the hours of debate from 30 to 2 for many executive and judicial nominees.
The change, which comes after Republicans themselves spent years using the original rules to deny President Barack Obama judicial confirmations, is meant to help President Donald Trump confirm a steady stream of partisan judges, possibly even filling every single vacancy on the federal courts ahead of the next presidential election.
Numerous Senate Democrats howled with outrage, laying bare the hypocrisy of the move and warning that it will have dire consequences both for Senate tradition and for the integrity of the federal courts:
This is a sad day for the Senate @SenateMajLdr McConnell brags about confirming more judges than anyone in a long… https://t.co/74tu3nLYxo— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer)1554319229.0
Changing the Senate rules is inside baseball. But McConnell's legacy will be ending the Senate as we know it. 3 maj… https://t.co/gTeTWwYGhW— Chris Murphy (@Chris Murphy)1554319290.0
Just left the Floor. Mitch McConnell will go down in history as the majority leader who did the most to destroy t… https://t.co/a5flmAM2LG— Sheldon Whitehouse (@Sheldon Whitehouse)1554325090.0
Mitch McConnell just made it easier for Congress to rubber stamp Trump’s extremist and unqualified nominees. https://t.co/jDGHmCeNZ6— Ron Wyden (@Ron Wyden)1554322913.0
McConnell has shredded the Senate in his obsession to push ideologues into lifetime appointments. When history asks… https://t.co/JgwyPbmcIa— Senator Jeff Merkley (@Senator Jeff Merkley)1554321397.0