MCCONNELL’S MALLEABLE PRINCIPLES…. Remember when Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) believed filibustering a president’s judicial nominee was just about the worst thing a senator could do? When McConnell was prepared to change the rules, execute the “nuclear option,” and declare judicial filibusters unconstitutional?
Well, never mind that now.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday that he would not rule out employing a filibuster to block Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee despite having vehemently opposed the use of the parliamentary procedure over judicial appointments four years ago.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, the Kentucky Republican said that, per the rules of the Senate, “all things are possible” when it came to the vote on Obama’s choice for the Court. When reminded that he threatened to resort to the “nuclear option” when Democrats were threatening to filibuster George W. Bush’s Court appointments, McConnell largely embraced his 180 degree turn in position.
“The Senate rejected my advice,” he reminded host Chris Wallace. “And the Senate is a place that frequently operates on precedent. So I think the Senate deliberately decided not to take a position one way or the other.”
It was just four years ago this week that McConnell had a very different perspective.
“Because of the unprecedented obstruction of our Democratic colleagues, the Republican conference intends to restore the principle that, regardless of party, any President’s judicial nominees, after full debate, deserve a simple up-or-down vote. I know that some of our colleagues wish that restoration of this principle were not required. But it is a measured step that my friends on the other side of the aisle have unfortunately made necessary. For the first time in 214 years, they have changed the Senate’s ‘advise and consent’ responsibilities to ‘advise and obstruct.’ […]Given those results, many of us had hoped that the politics of obstruction would have been dumped in the dustbin of history. Regretfully, that did not happen.” [Senate Floor Speech, 5/19/05]
I can only assume he won’t be the only conservative Republican who suddenly finds judicial filibusters a whole lot less outrageous than he used to.