Bennet (D) Blames Progressive Group Demand Justice for Failed Strategy Against Trump's Judicial Nominees

May 5, 2019

Colorado senator and 2020 presidential candidate Michael Bennet (D.) on Sunday blamed the progressive group Demand Justice for undermining efforts to stop President Donald Trump's judicial nominees.

Meet the Press host Chuck Todd brought up Bennet's "F" grade from Demand Justice because he didn't vote to filibuster Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

"Here's what I would say. I have clearly said—and it doesn't fill me with any pleasure to say this—I have clearly said that I have not agreed with the Democratic strategy when it comes to judges. And I think the proof is in the pudding," Bennet said.

"The people behind that super PAC that are attacking me for an "F," they deserve an "F" because they helped conceive that strategy and they continue to conceive it."

Bennet defended his refusal to filibuster Gorsuch, saying Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) outfoxed Democrats strategically at every point.

"The reason I said we shouldn't filibuster Gorsuch was very simple, Gorsuch was a trade of [late Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia for Gorsuch. We allowed Mitch McConnell—not only allowed him, gave him every opportunity to use the nuclear option on Gorsuch. Instead of waiting for it, forcing him to wait for [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh. And my argument was, that's going to be when Roe v. Wade is at stake. That's going to be when the president is going to be even more unpopular. That's when the Russian investigation is going to be taken up. We didn't have the discipline, unlike Mitch McConnell."

Back in 2013, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) eliminated the filibuster for judicial nominees. This resulted in judicial nominees needing a simple majority to be confirmed. McConnell expanded this to apply for supreme court nominees when Democrats moved to filibuster Gorsuch's nomination.

"We didn't have the discipline to play it strategically," Bennet argued. "We were nonstrategic. As a result, when Kavanaugh got there, Democrats could do nothing except pretend to our base that we were fighting. I think our base wants—deserves to have results from us."

Bennet added that he thinks Demand Justice and groups like them deserve an "F."

"So you know what? At least I've gone to the floor of the Senate to apologize for my small contribution to those failures, but those who conceived of the strategy continue to advocate it and continue to attack other Democrats that disagree with them. I think they deserve an F."