April 06, 2017
Hours before staging his second "tele-town hall" with Pennsylvania constituents, Sen. Pat Toomey took to Twitter to blast his Democratic colleagues over their coordinated effort to reject President Donald Trump's nomination to fill the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The partisan battle over Senate rules governing debate and an eventual vote on Judge Neil Gorsuch came to a head on Thursday, with Republicans resorting to a long-threatened "nuclear option" that overrides a precedent enabling Democrats to stage a filibuster on the floor. Democrats and liberal-leaning independents had argued they were merely upholding a standard requiring 60 votes, or a cloture from Republicans, to move to a final vote on Gorsuch.
A party-line vote on Thursday stripped away the precedent preserving the filibuster for High Court nominees, setting up a second vote to formally end debate on the Gorsuch nomination. His confirmation on Friday evening will require a simple majority of the Senate.
Much of the Democrats' strategy served as clear retaliation for Republicans' refusal to hold hearings on former President Barack Obama nominee Merrick Garland in the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia's death last February.
Republican senators, including Oren Hatch, of Utah, and Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, have claimed the Garland scenario doesn't compare to Gorsuch, in part because of the timing of last year's presidential election.
A series of tweets Toomey rattled off on Thursday indicate he shares those sentiments. Arguing it was Democrats who broke precedent, Toomey called out former presidential nominee Bernie Sanders and others for extending debate on Gorsuch in the first place.
1/ Here’s my take on the Dem Minority breaking 200+ years of precedent.— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) April 6, 2017
@SenToomey Toomey treats Pa voters like he treats Garland. Neither gets a hearing.— D. Plasket (@DWP1726) April 6, 2017
2/ No equivalence to Garland nom. In 2016 election cycle, Rs abided by Schumer Rule: let voters decide. https://t.co/R1W49Y9vvG— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) April 6, 2017
3/ Judge Gorsuch has the intellect, experience, & broad support across party lines. He will apply the rule of law fairly and equally.— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) April 6, 2017
4 /In a historically unprecedented move, many of my Democratic colleagues have decided to filibuster Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation.— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) April 6, 2017
6/ @NYTimes reports “There has never been a successful partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee.” Dems wrong to start now.— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) April 6, 2017
7/ @PittsburghPG is right: “Democrats… should accept reality… they’d end up losing a battle to kill his nomination.”— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) April 6, 2017
9/ Even Justice Clarence Thomas, who was confirmed 52-48, a razor thin margin, was not filibustered on the Senate floor.— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) April 6, 2017
10/ If Democrats won't allow Judge Gorusch a vote, they won’t allow anyone a vote. #ConfirmGorsuch— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) April 6, 2017
Suffice it to say that many of Toomey's constituents weren't accepting of the senator's logic.
@SenToomey He doesn't particularly care for the 99%. But then, neither does toomey— Stephanie Palmer (@palmer1619) April 6, 2017
Others responded in reference to Thursday's "tele-town hall," implying it's a half-measure and that Toomey still won't show his face to constituents who have repeatedly requested a scheduled town hall appearance.
@SenToomey Give us a townhall, Toomey. Western PA wants to talk to you.— Andrew Tressler (@ajtressler) April 6, 2017
Toomey's second "tele-town hall" was held via stream at 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The senator took questions from constituents via phone, Facebook and live feed.