Democrats focus on Supreme Court messaging, not on stalling the Senate

Multiple Democratic sources were asked about what might be done procedurally or substantively, and all who responded offered some variant of what Schumer told members of his conference in a Saturday afternoon call.

“Our No. 1 goal must be to communicate the stakes of this Supreme Court fight to the American people,” the New York Democrat reportedly said. “Let me be clear: If Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year. Nothing is off the table.”

The elimination of the supermajority requirement to break filibusters of Supreme Court nominees has left the minority party with limited procedural options, but that’s not to say there are no options other than trying to persuade Republicans that the political consequences of pushing ahead with a Trump nominee could outweigh the benefits.

Since the chamber largely runs on unanimous consent, any Democratic senator could, for instance, gum up the works of the Senate by objecting to everything else McConnell wants to do, forcing Republicans who are up for reelection to spend additional time casting procedural votes.

Despite grumbling from McConnell and other Republicans who claim the Democrats have mounted too many obstructions to Senate business, the Democratic minority has generally gone along with unanimous consent agreements, setting up predictable schedules of votes (especially on Trump’s many judicial nominations) and other motions such as adoption of the journal of proceedings and avoiding the morning hour of debate.