Normally, when a president nominates a man or woman for a seat on America’s highest court, the nominee hits Capitol Hill for a slew of “courtesy visits.” The visits are mostly photo ops for both sides: The nominee is seen meeting with members of the opposing party (always smiling), while the lawmaker (also usually smiling) is seen to be doing his or her job — keeping an open mind, weighing the facts, listening to the nominee, asking questions, then making a considered decision on the president’s nomination (it’s what we taxpayers pay them to do).
But not this time. No, not with President Trump. Courtesy is right out the window.
“Senate Democrats are largely giving Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh the brushoff, refusing the customary ‘courtesy visits’ until Republicans agree to turn over voluminous documents from the Supreme Court nominee’s past,” The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
In the two weeks since President Trump nominated him to succeed the retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Judge Kavanaugh has met with 23 Republicans, and not a single Democrat. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said in an interview Monday that he would not meet with Judge Kavanaugh until the top Republican and the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee reach agreement on what documents should be produced.
The snubbing is (of course) being led by the very bitter Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer. “I have told my caucus that I’m waiting, and I think most of them are following me,” the New York Democrat said.
Republicans and the White House have called out Senate Democrats for the stalling tactic. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said Democrats are “chasing after irrelevant records.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders recently told reporters that the Democrats’ stalling was “unprecedented.”
“Senator Schumer should stop these political games and meet with Judge Kavanaugh,” Sanders said.
Senate Democrats are hoping to push back Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote until after the mid-term elections in November, but that won’t happen. Senate Republican leaders have made clear they will proceed, with or without the “courtesy” visits.
Republicans also note they they met with former president Barack Obama’s two nominees, as per long held tradition.
This delaying tactic comes as no surprise. Nine hours before Trump announced his pick, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) put out a statement announcing he would oppose the nomination, saying he “was not elected to genuflect to the hard Right, who are funded by corporate America.”
Yes, the Democrats won’t even hear the man out. Doesn’t mean they have to vote for him, just listen. Sit down, listen, talk, ask questions — do your jobs!
But they refuse. And all those taxpayers who pay their salaries oughta’ be at least a little miffed at that.