The Democrats are wholly responsible for the loss of filibuster
This week, in all likelihood, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will put the judicial filibuster to death. But when he does, it will not be accurate to say he is triggering the "nuclear option," because Democrats already nuked everything that could be nuked in 2013. McConnell and Republicans are really just clearing away the rubble.There is much more explaining how Schumer and the Democrats poisoned the well in the Senate. They have no one to blame but themselves for their current situation. As some GOP senators have said, "if they will filibuster Gorsuch, they will filibuster anyone."
It also would not be appropriate to blame "both sides" and suggest that the Senate sank to its current nadir because the two parties took turns to drive it down. Nearly every outrage in the judicial wars of the past two decades has been perpetrated by Democrats, and mostly Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and his predecessor Harry Reid.
News media, infatuated with "both sides" journalism, is often either unable or unwilling to accept that there is a great partisan imbalance in many aspects of politics. So it's worth recounting that Democrats did 90 percent of the work in breaking down the bipartisanship that used to accompany judicial nominees. More specifically, Schumer brought us to this point.
We could begin with Ted Kennedy's floor speech attacking Robert Bork, or the Democrats' character assassination of Judge Clarence Thomas. But more relevant to today's fight was the invention of the partisan judicial filibuster in the Schumer era.
After the 2002 elections, when Republicans took back the Senate, first-term Sen. Schumer led the charge on this innovation of filibustering lower court nominees. He started with Miguel Estrada's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where Schumer could find a logical-sounding but dishonest reason to prevent a vote. The senator argued that he would allow an up-or-down vote on Estrada when Estrada turned over the confidential memos he had produced as solicitor general.