By Robert Willmann
The countdown clock on the Senate vote to have “cloture” on the nomination of Katanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court has reached zero. A vote on cloture is a vote to end debate on a proposed law, nomination, or other matter, because the Senate has an unlimited debate rule. The cloture vote is sometimes called the filibuster rule, in order to stop the right to continue talking on the senate floor to prevent a vote. It did require 60 votes to have cloture, but during the Barack Obama administration, when Democrat Harry Reid was majority leader, that rule was circumvented by a maneuver that allowed cloture on a judicial nomination to be done with a simple majority, except for the Supreme Court. Then, since turnabout is fair play, this technique was used by the Donald Trump adminstration to get the nominations of Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett past cloture to a final vote for the Supreme Court.
The first hint that a deal was underway occurred on Wednesday, 30 March 2022, when Senator Susan Collins (Repub. Maine) announced through the New York Times newspaper that she would vote to confirm Jackson. But Collins did not call a public press conference to announce her position. She hid behind the New York Times.
As some of the public became aware of the outrageously lenient sentences given by Jackson to child pornography defendants — and her history of promoting that position — they started calling into Senate offices, and what had been touted as an easy confirmation to the court was about to become unglued. So, on Monday, 4 April 2022, Senators Lisa Murkowski (Repub. Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Repub. Utah) announced they would support Jackson. But once again, neither senator had the integrity or guts to call a public press conference to announce their support.
The obvious reason for the announcements was to try to take the wind out of the sails of any Democratic senators who might have considered voting against Jackson. And to perhaps persuade other Republican senators to vote for her. The senate is evenly split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, and with a tie vote, vice president Kamala Harris can break a tie.
Beginning on Tuesday of this week (5 April 2022), the Congressional Record shows the cheesy conduct of senators as votes were done on a discharge petition and a request to put the nomination on the executive calendar for consideration on the senate floor.