Senator Michael Bennet took to the Senate floor on Wednesday afternoon to slam plans that would change the nomination process for some judges and executive branch nominees. You can watch the Colorado senator’s speech here.
Bennet, a Democrat, took the floor to talk about his outrage at Republican plans to overhaul the nomination process for judges. He said that the Senate had already confirmed a number of “unqualified” or “racist” judges to lifetime appointments in the circuit court and argued that if anything, the nomination process is already too easy to get through. Bennet also took a moment to slam the Trump administration’s plans to build a wall along the border with Mexico, warning that “partisan temper” and “foolishness” are starting to “take down government” and eat away at the rule of law.
Senate majority leaders have threatened to use the “nuclear option” if Democrats don’t agree to the change in rules, which would make the nomination process quicker and smoother for many lower-level judges. Bennet argued passionately against the nuclear option, making a case for what he called the “rule of law.” He said the Republican point of view was just “gibberish” and called it a “tragic farce,” arguing that the Trump administration, and the Senate leaders, cared more about achieving their own goals than doing the right thing.
The Senate resolution would have sharply limited the time Senators have to debate lower-level judicial nominees, dropping the time down from 30 hours, where it stands now, to just two hours. Republicans say the shorter debate time would speed up the nomination process; they say it would also stop Democrats from obstructing the nomination process. The resolution failed 51-48, largely along party lines. Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he’s prepared to use the so-called “nuclear option” to push the resolution through. The nuclear option would allow the resolution to pass by a simple majority, instead of needing to reach 60 votes to pass.