On Sunday's Meet the Press, Chuck Todd grilled both Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer about Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing, the nuclear option, and filibustering. In the course of the conversation, Schumer's real motivation for wanting to stick to the 60-vote rule was revealed.
Back on February 1st, Schumer insisted he merely wanted a fair process:
"We Democrats will insist on a rigorous but fair process....It was a bar met by each of [former President] Obama’s nominations. Each received 60 votes. And most importantly, it’s the right thing to do.”On February 7, he wrote that opposing a "nuclear option" is part of doing his job for the American people:
This is not unfair or obstructionist—this is the Senate doing its job by critically evaluating a nominee who will have immense impact on the lives of Americans.By the time of his February 21st appearance on The View, he said he now had concerns about Gorsuch because he hadn't been "forthcoming" in his private meetings with senators, and that his refusal to opine on the constitutionality of President Trump's executive orders (which could come before the Supreme Court) left him with an "eerie feeling."
All along, there was a simple reason for Chuck's obstruction - it's just payback for the refusal of McConnell to allow an up or down vote on Obama's appointee, Merrick Garland, and an attempt to force President Trump to consult the Democrats and name an "acceptable" appointee.
His response came after a number of questions from Chuck Todd:
But there is no rule that says that it has to be 60 votes. There's no part of advice and consent that says there has to be 60 votes. And in fact, there are currently two members of this Supreme Court right now that did not get 60 votes, Sam Alito and Clarence Thomas.Why not give Neil Gorsuch an up or down vote, Senator Schumer?Here we go (emphasis added)...
But why should Senator McConnell work with you guys on this, when you changed the rules first when you decided to do this?
Then why did you change the rules in the first place?
Our nominee was Merrick Garland. Mitch McConnell broke 230 years of precedent and didn't call him up for a vote. It wasn't in the middle of an election campaign, it was March. Second, then now it looks like we have the votes to prevent Gorsuch from getting on. Now, that doesn't mean you have to change the rules. Each side didn't get their nominee. Let's sit down and come together. Our Republican friends are acting like, you know, they're a cat on the top of a tree and they have to jump off with all the damage that entails. Come back off the tree, sit down, and work with us and we will produce a mainstream nominee.We all know what "mainstream nominee" means. It means one who agrees with the Schumer/Pelosi world view. No thanks, Senator.