Potential Constitutional Hardball in a Republican-Controlled Senate

President Biden could adjourn Congress to make recess appointments. Or Vice President Harris could simply refuse to recognize Senator McConnell as majority leader

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If the Democratic candidates in Georgia are able to win both seats, the Senate will split 50-50, and in light of Vice President Harris's role, the Democrats would be deemed the majority party. But if one, or both Republican candidates prevail, the Republicans would be deemed the majority party. If Senator McConnell has the gavel, then there is no guarantee that President Biden's nominees will get floor votes. Moreover, legislation that passes the Democratic-controlled House would be dead on arrival. Is there anything the Biden Administration can do to break that gridlock?

Noel Canning effectively foreclosed the use of the recess appointment power with a divided Congress. So long as McConnell keeps Senate breaks less than three days, there would not be a recess long enough to trigger the Recess Appointments Clause. But Noel Canning recognize a workaround: the President can adjourn Congress, force a recess of sufficient length, and make a recess appointment. (Noel Canning was not clear on how long that break had to be; ten days is presumably enough). In Noel Canning, Justice Breyer wrote:

Finally, the Solicitor General warns that our holding may "'disrup[t] the proper balance between the coordinate branches by preventing the Executive Branch from accomplishing its constitutionally assigned functions.'" Brief for Petitioner 64 (quoting Morrison v. Olson(1988)). We do not see, however, how our holding could significantly alter the constitutional balance. Most appointments are not controversial and do not produce friction between the branches. Where political controversy is serious, the Senate unquestionably has other methods of preventing recess appointments. As the Solicitor General concedes, the Senate could preclude the President from making recess appointments by holding a series of twice-a-week ordinary (not pro forma) sessions. And the nature of the business conducted at those ordinary sessions — whether, for example, Senators must vote on nominations, or may return to their home States to meet with their constituents — is a matter for the Senate to decide. The Constitution also gives the President (if he has enough allies in Congress) a way to force a recess. Art. II, § 3 ("[I]n Case of Disagreement between [the Houses], with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, [the President] may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper"). Moreover, the President and Senators engage with each other in many different ways and have a variety of methods of encouraging each other to accept their points of view.

In April, I wrote about the possibility of President Trump exercising this power. He ultimately did not. Now, Professor Peter Shane writes that the adjournment power may be a tool for the Biden Administration's arsenal:

But here's the surprise Biden could spring: The so-called adjournment clause in Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution anticipates the possibility of a "disagreement" between the House and the Senate "with Respect to the Time of Adjournment." Should that happen—for example, if one house of Congress wanted to leave town and the other wanted to stay in session—the Constitution authorizes the president to adjourn both chambers "to such Time as he shall think proper." If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were amenable, she could propose to the Senate a 10-day period of adjournment, which would be long enough to enable recess appointments. The Senate likely would disagree in order to block those appointments. But that refusal would trigger the president's adjournment power. With the Senate adjourned for at least 10 days, an entire cabinet and its principal deputies could be appointed.

Shane acknowledges that no President has ever used this power before. But hardball.

During the founding era, the adjournment power elicited virtually no debate. Its actual purpose is obscure; it seems to be a kind of truncated holdover from the Crown's power to "prorogue," or dissolve, Parliament. But if Biden wants to play hardball, this clause offers a potentially big bat with which to threaten the opposing team.

Professor Neil Buchanan writes about some even harder hardball. Forget recess appointments. Vice President Harris, as President of the Senate, could simply refuse to recognize Senator McConnell as the majority leader.

There is only one constitutional statement regarding the leadership of the Senate, which is that the Vice President is the presiding officer of that house of Congress.  Moreover, the leadership norms that have governed the Senate in our lifetimes are not even set by statute, much less in the Constitution itself.  They are truly norms.  Thus, I argued, the Democrats could (but probably will not) employ a Republican-style breaking of norms by having Vice President Kamala Harris refuse to recognize Mitch McConnell as the person who actually dictates the business of the Senate, including most importantly the determination of which items of business receive floor votes.

Presumably, Harris could force floor votes on pending judicial nominees, and perhaps even force floor votes on legislation that passed the House. Buchanan explains:

Vice President Harris can give "priority recognition" to any senator to control the agenda and to schedule floor votes.  She could designate McConnell, but she could also designate Schumer, Tammy Baldwin, Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, or even the newest Senator, Mark Kelly of Arizona.  (Susan Collins would surely be too "concerned" to accept the position.)  Notably, because any attempt to amend the Senate's rules to formalize McConnell's power would have to be brought up for a vote, Harris could prevent that from happening. . . . Harris could thus simply say that Biden's nominees will all receive votes, and if Republicans can muster 51 votes against any of them, so be it.  The point would be to hold that up-or-down vote, on the record.

I do not know nearly enough about the Senate's rules to decide if this move would even be feasible, absent a rule change. And presumably, that rule change would require a majority. But hardball.

What is the next level of the hardball? Can McConnell call the Sergeant at Arms to arrest the President of the Senate, who refuses to recognize him? Hardball. Or if the GOP takes the House in 2022, could the sitting VP be impeached? (We could finally see what happens if the VP has to preside at her own impeachment trial). Hardball.

Hardball. Get used to that phrase. Hardball. You will be hearing it nonstop for the next four years. I would be much more comfortable if people simply admitted that "hardball" is code for "We have power so we will use it." Trying to dress up and justify politics in euphemistic constitutional garb has never interested me.

NEXT: GOP Politicians and the Presidential Electors Suit

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  1. McConnell holding open a Supreme Court seat for several months in order to get the opportunity to put a Republican justice on? Hardball. McConnell pushing through a Supreme Court nominee within days of an election, thereby reversing his previous rationale for holding off? Hardball. Blocking consideration of multiple House bills to aid an ailing economy in order to trigger a fiscal crisis that buys him leverage to jam through his preferred COVID liability shield? Hardball.

    Let’s not forget what brought us to this point. I am old enough to remember when the Senate was the rational, deliberative body.

    1. Right. There are a million ways both parties can make the other side’s life miserable so long as there aren’t significant majorities in the chambers. And that ultimately, was the underappreciated downside of McConnell’s various escalations (and Reid’s, for that matter).

      In the past, there were grown-ups (Gangs of 14 and the like) who put the brakes on these things and brought people back from the brink, but as polarization has increased less Senators are willing to play the role of grown-up. But eventually some terms of mutual disarmament are going to have to be negotiated so government can function.

      1. At least nobody is talking, (Yet!) about refusing to seat opposing members. That’s also an available bit of ‘hardball’, last used, IIRC, during the Civil war.

        1. Hopefully we step back from the brink before then.

        2. Actually, no. One Dem Rep is suggesting that the Republican whores in Congress who signed on to the crazy Texas suit be barred from serving. I gather that the House can bar those who engage in treasonous conduct.

          Publicity stunt? Yeah, I think so. But I like the idea. Make it clear that each barred Republican rep will be replaced with another Republican, so there is zero gain for Democrats in the House.

          The House makes its own rules in this area, right? (Note: I am not seriously suggesting that the House actually go through with this. It would poison the waters for a generation, make Dems look petty, etc.. But that fact that I fantasized about it for even a second shows how much I despise the whorish behavior of these 100+ idiotic and amoral Republican representatives. I hope it’s the lead fact on each and every one of these members’ political CVs from now on.)

          1. “whores” “whorish”

            Proof Santamonica811 is a misogynistic incel. I bet he also bought into the Russian Collusion Hoax, Fine People Hoax, Bleach Hoax, and all the others perpetuated by Democrat Propogandists.

          2. ” But that fact that I fantasized about it for even a second shows how much I despise the whorish behavior of these 100+ idiotic and amoral Republican representatives.”

            Well, at least you realize that your fantasies reflect on you, not the people you’re fantasizing about.

      2. “In the past, there were grown-ups”
        Indeed, Dilan. I cannot think of better ways to deepen the already deep divisions in American or to make a mokery of Mr. Biden’s pledge to heal America than the hardball scenarios that JB suggests.
        If the President, VEEP and allies can be seen as the guilty party in undermining that promise, then they risk losing both houses in 2022.
        Mr. Trump has already done sufficient damage to America. We don’t need the next administration to continue down his path

        1. or to make a mokery of Mr. Biden’s pledge to heal America

          Biden did enough of that by directly comparing Trump to Hitler, perpetuating the Fine People Hoax, and insinuating Trump supporters are Nazis & racists during the election. Then there was Kamala Harris starting her enemies list.

    2. It didn’t start with McConnell not holding a floor vote for Garland. It didn’t start with the Democratic move which inspired that, nor the Republican move which inspired that, ad infinitum. It begins with government. Your partisan take simply shows how partisan you are, that everything is ok if your side does it.

    3. ” I am old enough to remember when the Senate was the rational, deliberative body.”

      A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away?

  2. These are incredibly bad ideas and could lead to a real constitutional crises, not the fake ones so often talked about during Trumps tenure. I hope at least a few in Congress are adults but I’m not sure.

  3. I remember the gracious manner Democrats accepred the 2016 election. Republicans would do well to imitate them.

    1. Too late for that, unless Trump can go back in time to election night and concede, and then begin the transition process the next day.

      1. The real election night is this coming Monday. I’ve been predicting all along that he’d concede when the EC votes, if not before.

        1. He will recognize the finality of the result and vacate the White House on 1/20/2021. But, he will never concede he lost a free and fair election.

          1. That’s fair enough, given the scale of the election law violations. I think he could possibly ride that horse right back into the White house in 4 years, depending on how moderate/awful the Biden/Harris administration is.

            1. In other words Brett, you agree that Trump didn’t lose a free and fair election. Trump are you are taking a dump on democracy because you can’t accept a defeat.

              1. I think President Trump most likely, and presumptively lost his election bid in a free and fair election. But I would still like to see election audits in at least AZ and GA where the margin in both states was barely 10,000 votes. I’m not convinced the margin of error/fraud is less than 10,000. But then even those two states would not provide enough electoral votes for Trump to prevail.

                As one president once said “trust but verify”.

                1. Sigh. Georgia did that not once, but twice.

              2. No, I think he lost an election which was neither free nor fair, but I’m quite open to the idea that he did genuinely lose it, he wasn’t defrauded out of a win.

                It would have been quite impressive to have won after 4 years of overwhelmingly negative media coverage, and with the media spiking any stories that made Biden look bad, even going so far as deplatforming a major daily newspaper when they refused to play along.

                I’m not sure you can call it a ‘fair’ election when the media are this overwhelmingly on one side. And is it a free election when election laws are being systematically violated to the advantage of one party?

                But, no, I think he really did lose.

                But that doesn’t excuse the illegalities, or make living in a country where the media are openly in the tank for one party burn any less.

                1. Last I checked, Fox News had the highest ‘news’ ratings.

                  It probably didn’t occur to you, but when the President is a total piece of shit, the news about his behavior is not going to be positive most of the time.

                  Maybe don’t support a fucking criminal.

                  1. Jason,
                    Yeah, I never understood that whole “Coverage of my candidate is much more negative than the coverage of your candidate.” argument. Just to give the most extreme sort of example, arguing that “99% of articles about Hitler are negative, while 99% of articles about Mother Theresa are positive. How biased the media area!” would be silly. Having roughly equal percentages of positive/negative stories about each of these people would be insane.

                  2. You can already see Fox News pivoting towards this sort of argument. Today, that network’s Howie Kurtz said that if the media were fair, they would focus as much attention on Hunter Biden as the media did on Ivanka and Jared.

                    That’s moronic, of course. I do agree that the media should have roughly the same focus on Hunter as was given to Don Jr and Eric. (Maybe a bit less towards Hunter, as DJ and Eric were vocal spokesmen for their father, while Hunter is staying far away from his father’s political activity currently. But equal would be fine.) But OF COURSE the media will pay much less attention to Hunter than they have/are paying towards Jared and Ivanka. Those two WORK IN THE WHITE HOUSE. AS HUGELY INFLUENTIAL advisors. They both were probably in the top 50 of most influential and powerful people service in the American government, and that includes all governors, mayors, Senators and Reps, judges and justices, etc. OF COURSE more attention should have been paid towards them.

                    I suspect that Fox News (and other conservative media) will fail to appreciate that significant difference. (Note: If there’s evidence that Prez Biden was connected to his son’s alleged tax fraud, then that changes the calculus, of course.)

                  3. “Last I checked, Fox News had the highest ‘news’ ratings.”

                    Been a while since you checked, hasn’t it?

          2. But, he will never concede he lost a free and fair election.

            I agreee. The election was neither free nor fair. Too much violence by Democrats (Portland for starters), suppression of Democrat Scandals (Hunter Biden emails), Hoaxes perpetuated by Democrats (Russia, Bleach, Fine People, too many to count really), and more.

            https://www.wsj.com/articles/now-whos-contesting-elections-11607124449

      2. I didn’t know Trump and Republicans were one and the same. Is it like the Christian Trinity where he’s one and many simultaneously?

        At least Democrats are separate beings, since we know that even though Clinton conceded the election, many others never did

        1. “Too late for that, unless Trump can go back in time to election night and concede, and then the Republican-led executive branch can begin the transition process the next day, and elected Republican officials throughout the country can retroactively withdraw their idiotic lawsuits claiming the election was stolen” better for you?

        2. Some Democrats didn’t concede (I think about 50 House members refused to attend the inauguration). But, the vast majority did including Clinton, Obama and Biden.

          1. The rioters attended, too.

            I wonder if there will be rioters in D.C. this time around?

            1. There were no “rioters.”

          2. And precisely zero of those House members tried to have the result of the election literally overturned and handed to the Democratic candidate.

            1. And precisely zero of those House members tried to have the result of the election literally overturned and handed to the Democratic candidate.

              You completely forgot about Maxine Waters (and other Democrats) during the counting of the electoral ballots, didn’t you.

              https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2017/01/06/congresswoman-maxine-waters-booed-after-objection-to-electoral-college-count/

  4. Well, that would certainly be exciting, that’s for sure.

    I think a question exists as to whether one or both of the chambers, if so adjourned, could reconvene prior to the time the President set.

    1. In the Time of Adjournment clause, does “Time of Adjournment” refer to the time adjournment begins, or the time it ends? It’s the time adjournment ends to which the clause specifically refers. Not clear to me why the President should be able to force Congress to adjourn, unless that power is granted more clearly than in the language of this clause. If the clause is ambiguous, as it seems to me, then I would think Congress is entitled to its own interpretation. Has the clause been invoked to force adjournment? If so, was there any discussion in Congress?

      1. No, I understand that the President CAN say, “You’re both adjourned for the next month.”

        I’m just saying that it’s not clear to me that one of the chambers couldn’t say, “Screw this, we’re convening again.” They could do that if they’d agreed on how long to adjourn, after all, and all the President was given, arguably, was the power to settle a disagreement on that matter.

        1. Well, that’s one interpretation of the clause. As I said, though, it isn’t clear to me that the President can do that, or that Congress would have to accept it.

        2. Brett,
          I’m not understanding your point. Are you saying that, after a president invokes this power, BOTH houses are able to trump (heh) this presidential power by then coming to an agreement about returning to session the next day or the next week? That seems at least plausible.

          But you seem to be saying that ONE house of Congress (here, the Senate) could ignore this presidential power by saying, “Yes, you dismissed us at 9:04 am today. We’re reconvening at 11:04 am today.” That is a tortured reading of the Constitution, I think. It flies directly against the specific enumerated power that a president can dismiss Congress “to such Time as [the president] shall think proper.”

          Did you really intend to suggest this latter argument?

          1. It would seem Brett is arguing what seems to him (and to many) to be a “good” outcome. However, I agree w/ you that the text doesn’t support this construction.

            Regrettably the 1787 Founders inserted this for some unfathomable reason. It certainly smacks, as Prof Shane indicates, of introduction of a Monarchical element into a Republican form of government. Justification of it is indeed difficult to conceive.

            I wish there were some scholarly treatment of it. However as it seems this power has never been exercised yet, existence of extensive discussion seems unlikely.

          2. Look, suppose the House and Senate agree to adjourn for 12 days over Christmas. Six days in, the Senate leadership decide there’s some important business that just can’t wait.

            Is it your understanding that the Senate can’t reconvene before the 12 days are up? Because it’s my understanding that, not only can they reconvene without asking permission of the other chamber, they HAVE done that on more than one occasion.

            As all the President was given was the power to settle disagreements between the chambers on this topic, once he’s adjourned them both, that has the same status as their own voluntary recesses. It’s not remotely a power of prorogation, just settling the matter for them when they disagree.

            A power of prorogation would severely upset the balance of powers between the branches.

  5. As a commentator above stated, these are incredibly bad ideas. In fact that may be an understatement. Horrific is the adjective that comes to mind.

    Any attempt to do these things would end up at the Supreme Court. And even its decisions would not be beneficial. It would cast the Court in the direct role of a political body, and so destroy confidence and acknowledgment by the people in all three branches of government.

    Democrats who would contemplate such a thing need to be told a simple truth. If you (Dems) want to control the Senate then you (Dems) need to win enough elections to control the Senate. That’s the way it works, they way it should work and the only way it can work if the nation is not to shatter and balkanize.

    In this last cycle Democrats had good candidates. They had plenty of money. And they had a winning (sorry Trump delusionists) Presidential candidate. They should have won control of the Senate, but they did not. Elections have consequences at all levels. And no, just because a Republican majority acts in an egregious, undemocratic and autocratic manner does not give license to the Dems to do the same.

    1. “Democrats who would contemplate such a thing need to be told a simple truth. If you (Dems) want to control the Senate then you (Dems) need to win enough elections to control the Senate. That’s the way it works, they way it should work and the only way it can work if the nation is not to shatter and balkanize.”

      This whole post is just a bunch of Blackman speculating about terrible things Democrats could do. No one has proposed them. You’re basically arguing against some people that only exist in Josh’s imagination.

    2. What is the appropriate response if McConnell simply refuses to let the government function? He refuses to confirm nominees, refuses to bring legislation up for a vote, etc.

      Exactly why does one guy, who never won an election outside of Kentucky, get to gum up the works completely?

      I’m not advocating for some of these ideas, but I wonder what you suggest. It’s easy to talk about Biden maybe playing hardball, but McConnell has done it, and is continuing. Is only one side allowed to do that?

      1. “What is the appropriate response if McConnell simply refuses to let the government function? He refuses to confirm nominees, refuses to bring legislation up for a vote, etc.”

        Did this happen in 2015-2017?

        “Exactly why does one guy, who never won an election outside of Kentucky, get to gum up the works completely? ”

        Because the majority party in the Senate wants him to do so.

        Mitch isn’t dictator, he is first among equals, which often means chief cat herder in practice.

      2. bernard,
        The answer to your question has been known and practiced since the early days of the republic…. PORK BBQ.

      3. Voters seem to like divided government, certainly that seemed to be their verdict this year.

        Who are you to decide the voters will is illegitimate?

        1. How many voters, added up from all the races, voted for Democrat senator candidates?
          How many voters, in total, voted for Republican candidates?

          If you agree that the party with the larger number represents the “voters’ will,” then you may not be happy with the result. (And you’re lucky that California did not have a Senate race this year . . . or you’d be adding a few million more votes to the Dem total.)

    3. I’m not so sure that Harris merely preventing McConnell from blocking the senate from actually holding votes would be that constitutionally horrific. Hardball, yeah. An escalation, yeah. A breach of norms, yeah. But simply forcing them to hold votes when a majority of the senate actually wants to hold a vote isn’t exactly the Spanish Inquisition. (If a majority of the senate doesn’t support a proposal, then it will be pointless since the bill or nomination will just be voted down.)

      1. Agree re: the normative question, constitutional and otherwise. But unless the measure was so popular with Republicans that McConnell would put it on the floor himself, I suspect any potential defectors would close ranks with their caucus to protest the tactic. So I don’t imagine it being effective. Of course what I suspect and imagine plus $4.60 will get you a mocha venti.

        1. I suspect you’re correct.

  6. I doubt any of these would happen. If Biden were to do something so unprecedented as prorogue Congress, the shitstorm when they reconvened would also be unprecedented. If Harris were to try to pretend to pass control of the Senate to the minority party, that would make the prorogue shitstorm look like a calm bathtub by comparison.

    If nothing else, once the GOP regained control of the Senate, I doubt any Biden nominee would get any vote.

    1. “If nothing else, once the GOP regained control of the Senate, I doubt any Biden nominee would get any vote.”

      This entire article discusses a hypothetical in which Biden nominees aren’t getting a vote in the first place.

      1. ” doubt any Biden nominee would get any vote”

        One can expect one nomination to go up in flames. That chews a lot of political capital. denying even two nominations is very unlikely.
        The most probable scenario is that McC and lieutenants decide on the most hated nominee and deep-six that one alone. They will agree to a waiver for Austin if Biden will accept their prerogative to cancel one.

        1. McConnell’s capital in this regard depends on events such as what the DOJ does in the next 6 weeks. The more convinced Republicans are that the election wasn’t just stolen, but stolen by the head of a crime family, the easier it becomes for McConnell to be obstructive, and the more dangerous it becomes for him to be cooperative.

          If Hunter is prosecuted over the supposedly ‘debunked’ laptop, the Senate and White house will have very little room for cooperation.

          1. What? You don’t think Trump will pardon Hunter Biden–while pardoning his own children–as Trump leaves office??? [joking, of course]

  7. I think the silence = consent argument is quite bad and is probably unlikely to pass any form of scrutiny. I’m not sure about the forced recess, which is interesting. The refusal to recognize a majority leader works, but I’m not sure it has much of a practical effect. I don’t feel like there’s been much political blowback in voting against nominees. Especially where the senators can call it a protest against changing the rules as the Republicans did in 2013 after the nuclear option and Democrats did in 2017 after the nuclear option 2.0 and refusing to vote on Garland. I think it’s a hardball move without an endgame.

  8. Who is this for.

    Next we can consider caning on the floor of the Senate.

    1. At least there’s precedent for it. But I think they’d delegate that to Antifa.

    2. This probably isn’t the post I would have wrote, but I’m deeply interested/concerned about what the advice and consent of the senate is going to look like for executive officers and judicial nominees if Republicans hold the senate. So, me?

      1. “executive officers and judicial nominees”

        Most cabinet posts will get confirmed, if a bit slow like in 2017. A few will withdraw because they can’t get 51 votes and maybe one will get rejected to show who is boss.

        District judges in “Blue’ states will largely get confirm, those in “Red” states only if they are acceptable to the GOP senators in that state. Circuit judges will be few and far between.

        Mitch was majority leader in 2015-2017 with Obama. Why do you think it will be different this time?

        1. Most cabinet posts will get confirmed, if a bit slow like in 2017.

          Keep up with those fake talking points, Bob.

      2. But this isn’t speculation about how it would look, it’s speculation about what is the most evil but legal stuff that someone could pull.

        Those are different things.

        1. The most evil but legal thing somebody could pull off, would be refusing to seat members of the opposing party, so as to turn a very marginal majority (Or tie with tiebreaking vote.) into a substantial majority that can rule even with defections, or even achieve required super majorities.

        2. True enough. Just don’t take someone from a 5th tier law school so seriously

        3. The most likely evil but illegal thing is political assassinations aiming at giving one party or the other a solid majority.

          If I were a member of Congress, I’d be wearing body armor any time I wasn’t safe at home, and I’d be seriously considering moving my family to a secure, undisclosed location.

          1. That’s some paranoid nuttery.

            If you put that shooting on Dems as some kind of political agenda, do I get to put all the shootings by white supremacists on conservatives?

            1. Representative Scalisi would like to have a word with you, I gather. And Senator Paul might chime in while he’s at it.

              I’m not saying that the DNC would hire a hitman. I’m saying that Democrats are currently portraying Republicans as such horrible monsters that the odds of one of their less stable supporters trying to emulate Hodgkinson. It wasn’t so long ago that Rand Paul and his wife were attacked by a mob, and escaped only thanks to police assistance.

              Look, you can’t go around calling the opposing party Nazis and monsters, and not expect consequences.

  9. These would be fabulous. Since I was denied a 269-269 tie by 44,000 votes, this will do.

  10. In a procedural battle between McConnell and Harris, my money is on Cocaine Mitch.

    1. Mitch held up campaign finance “reform” for years largely by himself, he wasn’t even in leadership yet. She ran for president. He’d eat her for lunch.

      1. She ran for President and was crushed like a bug. OTOH, a procedural battle doesn’t necessarily require being popular with the general electorate, let alone the Democratic primary electorate. She’s a former prosecutor, that probably qualifies her somewhat for procedural fights.

  11. “Trying to dress up and justify politics in euphemistic constitutional garb has never interested me.”

    Lmao, like the last four years never even happened. The lack of self-awareness for Blackman to write this is really astonishing.

  12. It is a sad state of affairs where we are talking about Mitch having so much spite that he would just block Biden’s cabinet picks. If the Rs want to vote against them, then fine, but refusing to hold a vote is disgusting. This hardball needs to stop.

  13. The first piece of hardball I am expecting is a Senate subpoena for Hunter Biden’s laptop to the FBI and for testimony to Hunter Biden himself.
    Fun questions like “Who is the ‘big guy’?”

  14. The hardest ball of all still rests firmly in the hands of the state legislatures and it seems that both houses of Congress (and a few Governors) are now keenly aware of that fact. The fear of loss of power is an awesome motivator today just as it was in the 1960s.

    A while back, I mentioned that there are almost enough like-minded states to form a constitutional convention and the recent Texas litigation underscores that fact: had the cause been more noble, the necessary four additional legislatures [perhaps even the four being sued] would have joined the effort. Imagine the effect of another amendment — particularly one without ratification sunset, like the Corwin Resolution — sitting out there! Certainly then Congress, the executive, and the federal Courts would all find new respect for the entirety of the union.

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