Democratic Presidential Candidate Says Filibustering Gorsuch Was A Boneheaded Move

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado said Sunday that Democrats were wrong to filibuster Justice Neil Gorsuch’s nomination for the Supreme Court, after a liberal advocacy group gave Bennet a failing grade on judicial confirmation votes.

Bennet, a presidential candidate, opposed the ultimately unsuccessful effort to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination in 2017, saying Democrats should save that gambit for a future retirement where the ideological balance of the high court is actually at stake — Gorsuch succeeded late Justice Antonin Scalia, which did not change the balance of power on the nation’s highest judicial tribunal.

“We didn’t have the discipline to play it strategically — we were non-strategic,” Bennet said on “Meet the Press.” “And as a result, when [Justice Brett] Kavanaugh got there, Democrats could do nothing except pretend to our base that we were fighting.”

“Those who conceived of the strategy, continue to advocate it, and continue to attack other Democrats that disagree with them, I think they deserve an F,” Bennet added. (RELATED: THE 100: Trump Installs One Hundo Judges On Federal Bench)

The advocacy group Demand Justice faulted Bennet for opposing the Gorsuch filibuster and signing off on the nomination of Judge Allison Eid for the Denver-based federal appeals court. Eid is on President Donald Trump’s list of possible nominees for the Supreme Court.

WATCH: Sen. Michael Bennet speaks on NBC’s “Meet the Press”

The Gorsuch filibuster prompted Senate Republicans to trigger the so-called nuclear option and change chamber rules to end debate on a Supreme Court nomination with just 51 votes instead of 60. Had Democrats saved the filibuster for another vacancy, they could have forced Republicans to attempt a rule change during Kavanaugh’s confirmation — a forbidding and perhaps unlikely prospect.

Among the other Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate, Demand Justice gave Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren an A, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Cory Booker of New Jersey an A-, Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York a B+, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar an F.

Judicial confirmations and the role of the courts have featured prominently in the 2020 Democratic primary. At least half a dozen candidates are entertaining proposals to reform the Supreme Court by adding seats or imposing term limits of the justices.

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