Schumer Warns Trump: Pick A Mainstream Supreme Court Nominee

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged President-elect Donald Trump to select a “mainstream” nominee to the Supreme Court, suggesting that Democrats would not back away from using the filibuster.

Speaking with Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press, Schumer signaled that the Senate Democratic caucus would filibuster Trump’s nominee should they perceive the pick to be an ideologue.

“Are you comfortable filibustering any nominee that a President Trump makes? And if that happened, do you fear the nuclear response, essentially, by the Republicans?” Todd asked, in reference to a procedural maneuver by which the GOP could abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.

“I hope that President Trump picks a mainstream candidate,” the senator responded. “A mainstream candidate is someone you may not agree with on every issue, but basically believes in precedent and basically believes in following the law.”

“If he doesn’t nominate a mainstream candidate, we’re going to go at him with everything we have … because this is so, so important,” he added, noting the GOP could not approach this issue with “clean hands” given their long delay of Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination. Schumer also said he was among those members of the Democratic leadership who supported maintaining the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.

Outgoing Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid abolished the filibuster for judicial nominees in 2013, after Senate Republicans successfully blocked the nominations of Nina Pillard, Patricia Millett, and Robert Wilkins to the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. All three were eventually confirmed. (RELATED: Harry Reid Vows To Nuke The Filibuster On SCOTUS Nominees)

“I really do believe that I have set the Senate so when I leave, we’re going to be able to get judges done with a majority,” Reid told Talking Points Memo in the weeks before the election as part of a broad-based interview about his legacy.

Now that Republicans run Congress and the White House, Mitch McConnell could complete the work Reid started.

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