MADISON, Wis. – With the Senate embroiled in a bitter battle over President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, the Republican Attorneys General Association is publicly thanking one of its own for standing by its man.
RAGA is making a digital ad buy in Wisconsin saluting Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel for his support of would-be Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. The ad is running on Facebook as part of an ad campaign across 10 states thanking attorneys general for their support, according to the association.
“Confirming Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is the single most important issue in America right now. RAGA and its members are committed to the rule of law,” said RAGA Executive Director Scott Will. “It is critical to support judges who will interpret the law as written and not legislate from the bench. Attorney General Brad Schimel has done a great job speaking out in support of Neil Gorsuch, and we are thanking him for his leadership.”
The Senate on Tuesday formally opened debate on Gorsuch’s nomination, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., insisting a confirmation vote will be wrapped up by the time senators skip town Friday for the two-week Easter break.
Senate Democrats pledged obstruction as Republicans threatened to kill the traditional 60-vote requirement for confirmation. The move to a simple majority is compliments of Senate Democrats who altered the rules in 2013. The change, however, did not include votes on Supreme Court nominees.
McConnell warned his colleagues during a speech on the Senate floor that Democrats were “hurtling toward the abyss” and “trying to take the Senate with them.”
“It appears as if cloture will not be invoked, but we’ll find out on Thursday,” McConnell later told the Washington Post. “But either way, we’ll be moving toward confirming Judge Gorsuch.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., one of the most strident of Gorsuch’s Senate critics, vowed Tuesday night to “hold the floor and refuse to yield for as long as he is able to continue speaking.”
It was an interesting “Mr. Smith Goes to Hollywood” move for a liberal lawmaker who four years ago led the charge to change the Senate rules on executive confirmation votes. Democrats, of course, have called out Republicans for insisting on an up-or-down vote for Gorsuch after they refused to bring President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, up for a vote last year.
The political stew over Gorsuch, a widely respected, conservative appeals court judge, has been simmering since Trump announced his pick to fill the vacancy created in February 2016 by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Wisconsin’s top pols have been stirring the pot. In February, Republican Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, engaged in a twitter war over Trump’s nominee. Walker was at it again Tuesday. The state GOP has hammered Baldwin hard, calling the freshman senator a hypocrite and a flip-flopper for quickly deciding she would oppose the nominee after asserting she would “fully review” Gorsuch’s record before taking a position.
Schimel has been in the thick of the fight, urging the Senate to end the current 4-4 split in the high court.
“The American people deserve a court that can reach decisions,” Schimel said in a statement. “The United States Senate and Senator Baldwin should grant an up or down vote on Judge Gorsuch quickly. They owe that to the American people.”
M.D. Kittle is bureau chief for Wisconsin Watchdog and First Amendment reporter for Watchdog.org. Contact him at [email protected]