Reported in Daily Koss by Leslie Salzillo
In one of her most incredible speeches ever,Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren rebukes, shames, and lambasts Republicans, and their party, in front of the Senate on Wednesday. It’s so good, just a few excerpts wouldn’t do. Here is most of her speech in all its glory.
There’s a vacancy on the most important court in America and the message from Senate Republicans is crystal-clear: Forget the Constitution. It doesn’t matter who President Obama nominates, because the Republicans will allow no votes on that nominee.
They will hold no hearings on that nominee. Their response to one of the most solemn and consequential tasks that our government performs, the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice, will be to pretend that the nominee and President Obama himself simply do not exist — cannot see them, cannot hear them.
Warren says, at the same time Republicans are pledging to block all Supreme Court nominees, they are also panicking because their party is on the verge of nominating one of two extremists for president. She says blocking the SCOTUS nominees and scattering to rid their party of extremist Republican candidates are quite similar issues:
If Republican senators want to stand up to extremists running for president, they can start right mail by standing up to extremists in the Senate. They can start by doing what they were elected to do right here in the Senate. They can start by doing their jobs.
The senator from Massachusetts reminds the Republicans that the Constitution states the U.S. president shall nominate judges, executive officials, and justices to the Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of the Senate. She says there is nothing in the Constitution that says, “except when that president is a Democrat,” but for seven years that is how Republicans in the Senate have acted. Warren says:
Since the first day of the Obama presidency, Republican senators have vowed to extremists who reject his legitimacy and abused the rules of the Senate in an all-out effort to cripple his administration and to paralyze the federal courts.
She says senators took an oath to uphold the Constitution and if they don’t like the president’s nominees they can vote “no,” and take it up with the American people. Warren adds she hasn’t always agreed with President Obama’s picks in the past, but that’s how it is and you do your best to vote appropriately.
But are Republican extremists voting against individuals based on the good faith judgment about a specific person? No. They are blocking votes wholesale in order to keep those jobs vacant and undermine the government itself.
-For years Republicans have executed a strategy to delay a vote on confirming government officials across the board.In 2013, only one year under President Obama’s second-term, Republican leaders flatly rejected his authority to confirm any judges, to fill any of the three open seats on the second highest courts in the country. And Democrats had to change the filibuster rules in order to move those nominees forward.
-Once Republicans took over the Senate in 2014, judicial nominations nearly ground to a halt. And it’s not just judges.
-For months after the president won re-election, Republicans held up his nominees to run the Department of Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency largely on the suspicion that those highly qualified individuals might actually help those agencies do their work.
-For years Republicans held up nominees to the National Labor Relations Board, even Republican nominees, in order to cripple the ability of that 80-year-old agency to resolve disputes between workers and their bosses.
-For years Republicans held up the president’s choice to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, refusing to confirm anyone unless the president would agree to gut the agency. Republicans regularly hold up the confirmation of dozens of ambassadors, undermining our national security and our relationships with other nations.
-Last year Republicans blocked confirmation of the attorney general, the highest law enforcement official in this country, blocked her for 166 days. That’s longer than it took the Senate to consider the prior seven attorney generals combined.
-For more than a year, the Republican chairman of the banking committee hasn’t held a single vote on any of the 16 presidential nominees sitting on his desk — not even nominees who are critical to maintaining the financial stability of this country or the ones who are responsible for choking off the flow of money to ISIS.
Warren says the Senate Republican message couldn’t be more clear: No matter how much it damages the nation, undermines the courts or cripples the government:
Senate Republicans do pretty much everything they can to avoid acknowledging the legitimacy of our democratically elected president.
Well, the game is over, Warren says, as she reminds Republicans that they are stuck with extremists who are on the verge of winning the Republican Party’s nomination. They are stuck with:
-Republican candidates are motivated by bigotry and resentment
-Republican candidates unable to govern
-Republican candidates reflecting the same extremism that has been nursed along for seven years right here in the United States Senate
In her classic style, Warren says, “Here’s the deal!” She says the extremists may not like it, but:
Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 by nine million votes. He won re-election in 2012 by five million votes.
President Obama was elected the legitimate president seven years ago and he is the legitimate president right now.
Senator Elizabeth Warren ends her speech with a phrase/hashtag that is resonating throughout social media — # Do your job.
So if it is true that some Republican senators are finally ready to stand up to the extremism that denies the legitimacy of this president and of the Constitution, I say to you:
Do your job. Vote for a Supreme Court nominee.
Do your job. Vote on district court judges and circuit court judges.
Do your job. Vote on ambassadors.
Do your job. Vote on agency leaders in counterterrorism officials.
If you want to stop extremism in your party, you can start by showing the American people you respect the President of the United States and the Constitution enough to Do-your-job right here in the United States Senate.