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Thune: Democrats Throw Tantrum While Republicans Remain Focused on Constitutional Duty

β€œOne of the principal reasons that many GOP senators – myself included – ran for office was to confirm principled judges to our courts.”

September 23, 2020

Washington — 

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today responded to various threats and accusations from Democrats regarding the Senate’s expected consideration of the president’s upcoming Supreme Court nominee. While Democrats threaten Republicans, and the American people, for that matter, with actions like court-packing and the elimination of the Senate filibuster, Republicans maintain their focus on the American people and continuing to uphold their elected responsibilities.  

Excerpts of Thune’s remarks below:

“Mr. President, I don’t think anyone is surprised that Democrats have not reacted well to the idea that President Trump will nominate a third Supreme Court justice.

“Overreacting to Republican nominees is pretty much the Democrats’ stock-in-trade.

“It doesn’t matter who the nominee is – to hear the Democrats tell it, any Republican nominee is likely to bring about Armageddon.

“And the fact that some Republican nominees in past years, and as recently as this past June, have sided with the liberal wing of the Court more often than I would like has not in any way restrained Democrats’ hysteria each time a new Republican nominee is introduced.

“I thought we’d reached a low point two years ago, with the nomination of Justice Kavanaugh, who suffered months of character assassination at the hands of Democrats.

“But it turns out, that was not the low point.

“Because we’ve reached a new low.

“As I said, Mr. President, it’s been no surprise that Democrats have reacted with hysteria at the prospect of President Trump nominating another Supreme Court justice.

“It was disappointing – but hardly surprising – that yesterday the Democrat leader blocked a key Intelligence Committee hearing on election security – a topic he has repeatedly insisted is of overwhelming importance –to protest the thought of the Senate fulfilling its advice and consent role and confirming a principled conservative woman.

“Even Speaker Pelosi’s overwrought statement that Republicans, and I quote, “are coming after your children” seemed pretty much par for the course.

“But Democrats have not limited themselves to temper tantrums.

“No, Democrats have moved on to threats.

“Dare to confirm the president’s duly nominated nominee, Democrats say, and if we win back the majority we’ll eliminate the legislative filibuster and pack the Supreme Court.

“In other words, if Republicans dare to fulfill the Senate’s role of advising and consenting to the president’s nominee, Democrats will upend our democratic institutions.

“They will eliminate the legislative filibuster – the Senate rule that helps ensure that legislation that passes the Senate has to be at least somewhat bipartisan.

“And they will pack the Supreme Court.

“For those who need a brief refresher on the concept of court-packing – which had been largely consigned to the dustbin of history nearly a century ago – the theory is as follows: if the Supreme Court is not deciding cases to your liking, add more justices to the court until you start getting the decisions you want.

“In other words, let Republicans dare to fill the vacant slot on the Supreme Court, and Democrats will keep adding justices to the court until they can be assured that they will get the outcome they want – in every case.

“Mr. President, yesterday I referred to these threats from Democrats as undemocratic.

“Why did I say that?

“Well, because they’re inconsistent with democratic government.

“In our system of government, Mr. President, you win some and you lose some.

“And while it’s no fun when you lose, that’s how things go sometimes in a democracy.

“Have Republicans been enthusiastic when Democrat presidents have had nominees confirmed to the Supreme Court?


“But have Republicans suggested that Democrat Supreme Court justices are illegitimate?

“Have we suggested that the proper response to a Democrat Supreme Court nominee is to pack the Supreme Court with additional Republican justices to get a rubber-stamp for Republican priorities?

“No, we have not.

“Because while we may not like it when Democrats are in charge, we know that Democrat-run government is legitimate – just as Republican-run government is legitimate.

“But it has become clear over the past few years – and especially over the past few days – that Democrats only think government is legitimate when they’re in charge.

“And so Democrats are accusing Republicans of undermining our institutions by fulfilling our constitutional role.

“Because that’s exactly what we’re doing: fulfilling our constitutional role

“Let’s be very clear about that.

“Republicans are suggesting that we take up a Supreme Court nominee duly nominated by a duly elected president and confirm that nominee, in accord with our constitutional advice and consent role.

“Democrats are free to think that Republicans should not consider this nominee, but it is absolutely indisputable that Republicans and the president are doing nothing more than carrying out a legitimate constitutional prerogative.

“What Democrats are doing on the other hand – trying to ensure that only one party has a say in our government (some might call that tyranny) and threatening retribution for the exercise of legitimate constitutional prerogatives – now that does pose a danger to our institutions.

“Take the Supreme Court.

“A year ago, several Democrats warned that the court’s nonpartisan reputation was in jeopardy (their argument: that the court would look partisan if it continued with a case Democrats didn’t like).

“What on earth do Democrats think will happen to the court’s reputation if they pack the court with additional Democrats to rubber-stamp their policies?

“Do they really think Americans are going to see the Supreme Court as legitimate once it’s been hijacked for partisan Democratic purposes?

“Mr. President, if you believe in our system of government, you have to believe that all Americans – not just those who agree with you – have a right to have a voice in the government. 

“You are free to vehemently disagree with 50 percent of your fellow Americans.

“You are free to dislike it when your party is not in charge.

“You are free to fight fiercely to secure the policies and candidates you believe in.

“But what you cannot do, without undermining our entire system, is to suggest that government is only legitimate when your party is in charge.

“And if Democrats continue along this dangerous trajectory – if they continue to try to delegitimize the actions of a duly elected Senate majority and a duly elected president – THEY are the ones who will put our entire system at risk.

“And as an aside, if anyone wonders for a moment whether Democrats are advocating a principled position – if perhaps Democrats really think it would be best for our country to eliminate the legislative filibuster Democrats have used so often or expand the Supreme Court – one can simply ask whether Democrats would continue to advocate for these positions if President Trump is reelected and Republicans retain control of the Senate.

“I think everyone knows that the answer to that question is no.

“Mr. President, as I said yesterday, Democrats’ threats are not going to stop Republicans from carrying out our constitutional role and considering the president’s nominee.

“One of the principal reasons that many GOP senators – myself included – ran for office was to confirm principled judges to our courts.

“Judges who understand that their role is to interpret the law, not make the law.

“While many of my Democrat colleagues would like the courts to impose their policies when they can’t push them through Congress, Republicans know that legislation should come from Congress, not the courts.

“The job of judges is to interpret the law as it is written – not to impose Democrat or Republican policies from the bench.

“My colleagues and I were elected – and reelected – in part because of our commitment to confirming judges who would uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

“We’ve followed through on that commitment over the past four years.

“And we’re going to keep following through by voting on the president’s nominee.

“Democrats can bluster.  They can threaten.  They can throw temper tantrums. 

“But we will keep doing what we were sent here to do.”