U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is a lame-duck Democrat in a body controlled by Republicans.
He’s not going back into private life without a fight. He’s picked a doozy to wage with his GOP colleagues.
Frankly, it’s a fight worth having.
Reid wants to force the Senate to vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the nation’s next attorney general. She’s been waiting seemingly since The Flood to get a vote by the full Senate, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell keeps digging in, resisting the vote for this reason and that reason — none of which has any bearing on Lynch’s qualifications for the job to which she’s been nominated by President Obama.
She is highly qualified. She has deserved a full vote since the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended her appointment.
McConnell, though, is holding her hostage to other legislation.
Reid’s role as minority leader is supposed to put him in a subordinate capacity. However, he said this week that if he gets 51 senators to sign on, he can call for a full Senate vote and circumvent the authority reserved customarily for the majority leader.
He’s going to enrage McConnell if he manages to schedule the vote. A majority of senators already has said they plan to confirm Lynch as AG. The trick, then, is to get a majority to agree simply to a vote.
Lynch would succeed Eric Holder at Justice. Republicans already detest Holder. Every day Lynch is delayed from taking her job is a day that Holder remains at his post. Why in the world, if you’re a Senate Republican, do you want to keep someone on the job that you cannot stand?
Senate protocol and decorum are supposed to inviolable. A lot of it has been tossed aside in recent years as the parties have fought tooth-and-nail with each other. Democrats changed the filibuster rules in the previous Congress. And just recently, a group of Republicans sent a letter to the Iranian mullahs telling them the nuclear deal worked out could be tossed aside when the next president takes office in January 2017.
Decorum? Protocol? It’s gone, mostly.
Harry Reid’s set to play some hardball. If it gets Loretta Lynch confirmed as the next attorney general, well, let him throw the first pitch.