Nancy Pelosi Sticks Her Iron In The Fire


God I love it when the Democrats show up like they actually want to play the game. Chuck Schumer comes out all bad ass yesterday, darkly threatening McConnell and giving him a taste of his own medicine. And then today,  it was Nancy Pelosi’s turn to come out full Rambo with her own dark threats of secret actions. But there’s just one sticking point. Confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is purely a Senate procedure, so what sway can Pelosi possibly bring to bear?

Actually, I think I may know the answer to that one. And that’s because I’ve been turning it over in my head for the last two days now, since the news broke. And the funny thing is, that to stop McConnell’s power grab, Speaker Pelosi doesn’t have to do a damn thing. It’s all about what she doesn’t do.

Everything depends on how strong public support is that a new justice not be voted on until after the election. If there is high support to delay the vote, Pelosi is set. As we speak, there are 10 days left for the congress of the United States to either pass a new budget, or sign a budget extension for a specified period of time. If neither thing happens, at midnight on September 30th, the government shuts down.

That stops Trump and McConnell in their tracks. Because if the government shuts down, congress is prohibited from conducting any business that doesn’t directly relate to reopening the government. Trump shut down the government for 33 days a couple of years ago for his stupid vanity border wall. Pelosi would have to shut it down for 34 days to get to November 3rd. In reality, it could be reopened earlier, once McConnell no longer had the procedural time available to bring the nomination to the floor. The key is ensuring that the voters seeing the Democrats as protecting their rights and freedom of choice, and not making a naked power play.

And actually, Schumer has a break-glass-and-pull-handle tactic if he wants to use it. And it’s already battle tested and approved. I like to call it The Wisconsin Gambit.

About 5-6 years ago, Scooter Walker was governing Wisconsin the way a 3 year old governs his playpen. At the end of a legislative session, the GOP dominated Senate tried a late night, naked power grab to strip Wisconsin unions of their power. The Democrats furiously demanded a 15 minute recess.

When the GOP puled back into the chamber 15 minutes later, they were all alone. During the break, every Democratic Senator walked to his car, started up, and drove the 4.5 hours across the Illinois border, so that the Wisconsin state police couldn’t drag them kicking and screaming back up to Madison. And stopped the GOP in its tracks.

Like the US Senate, the Wisconsin Senate requires a quorum call on order to conduct business. A quorum being defined as 50% +1 of the total number in the body, and including at least one member of each party! By going to the mattresses in Illinois, the democrats denied the GOP the quorum call they needed to call a floor vote. They stayed in Illinois for more than a week, until after a bargain was negotiated. There is no reason I can think of why Schumer and the Senate Democrats couldn’t pull out exactly the same delaying tactic.

So there you have it. Considering the fact that a court confirmation is strictly a Senate function, I can’t think of any other kind of a rabbit that Pelosi could pull out of her hat, other than to refuse to bargain to keep the government open, thereby hamstringing McConnell. We’ll know soon enough if I was right. And if anybody knows of any kind of procedural US Senate rule that would prohibit Schumer taking the boys on the lam, please let me know, because I couldn’t find any.

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15 Comments on "Nancy Pelosi Sticks Her Iron In The Fire"

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Tin woman1

That’s one idea.

Cherl Harrell

I like this line of thinking. If Act Blue contributions are any indicator of public support, I would say there is a lot of it.

Annar Key


p j evans

Only if he wants to change parties before New Year’s and the start of the next Congress.

Denis Elliott
I lived in the eastern panhandle of WV for ten years before moving down to NC. I wouldn’t trust that prick Manchin not to switch sides. He’s a sleaze, and so is his daughter who if you recall was a key player in profiteering on jacking up the price of Epi-Pens. Manchin is old enough that he might decide not to run again, or maybe he loves the perks of being a Senator so much he’ll go ahead and do what he’d probably do anyway down the road which is switch sides so he can keep his seat because he… Read more »
p j evans

he could have done that any time in the last four years – why did he stay a D?.


Be assured that once that iron is warm enough, Madame President Pelosi will use it to set the GOP’s ass on fire.


Can they get the confirmation before 09/30/20?


I’m not an expert in Senate parliamentary procedures, but I think that the quorum call could be bypassed by unanimous consent of those present. If a Democrat stuck around to object, Mitch would just need to have all his caucus members present to attain a quorum. In theory, Lisa Murkowski could be the Senator objecting to the unanimous consent agreement, but I think that is probably asking her to go further than we can expect to stop a confirmation.

James Jobb

Impeachment of Bill Barr or Thump would derail the Senate because it would then have to drop any confirmation hearings to concentrate on impeachment. That’s another arrow in her slingshot!


Terrific article, Murfster.

Let’s hope the Lincoln Project and Meidas Touch can get on this too, if she does it; they’re laser tight with messaging and will get the point across, videowise, like almost nobody can.

“They’re stopping Mitch from stealing the Supreme Court, right out from under our noses, in the only way they can. Stand with them.” I can almost hear the background music!

rory darjiit

Hmm…a shutdown is my favorite play so far. Pelosi could shut it down over Covid relief. I think we could sell voters on that.

It introduces uncertainty into an election we’re winning, so that should be a consideration. I trust Speaker Pelosi to weigh those factors.


Great idea ….. Go for it Nancy !


There is also the impeachment process if the house charges trump again when it hits the Senate the whole group has to to be involved cant step away for a judicial subcommittee meeting to discuss the forth coming nominee


McConnell stated that “the American people should have a voice in deciding who should sit on the court, and the appointment should wait until after the election. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” This was unprecedented. McConnell unilaterally created a new Senate policy to govern when a sitting President may propose a candidate for the Supreme Court