In a conference call with Democratic governors on Friday, President Biden repeated his demand that the Senate eliminate the filibuster — or failing that, carve out an exception to it — to enable the Democrat-controlled Congress to codify abortion rights into federal law.
Bad-mouthing his country abroad — which Democratic presidents seem to take perverse delight in doing — at the NATO summit in Madrid a day earlier, Mr. Biden on Thursday condemned the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
“We have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law, and the way to do that, is to make sure that Congress votes to do that,” he said.
Mr. Biden, who will turn 80 in November, perhaps can blame a “senior moment” for his inability to remember back to 2013, but Senate Democrats who were there at the time obviously learned nothing from then-Majority Leader Harry Reid’s detonating the “nuclear option” and having it blow up in their faces.
Let’s refresh their collective memories. Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, orchestrated the elimination of the Senate filibuster on nominations of federal district court and appeals court judges so his party could ram through then-President Barack Obama’s radical left-wing judicial nominees over the objections of Senate Republicans.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, then, and currently, the minority leader, warned Democrats at the time that it would be a Pyrrhic victory and a short-lived one at that.
“You’ll regret this, and you might regret it even sooner than you might think,” the Kentucky Republican said prophetically. After Republicans recaptured the Senate and Donald Trump became president, they took the “nuclear option” to its logical next step, abolishing the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees, stripping Democrats of their ability to block Mr. Trump’s three high court picks.
Thanks in no small part to Mr. Reid’s shortsighted, partisan power grab, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett are on the bench today. Their votes in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization resulted in Roe being overturned.
The Democrats would have you believe that it’s just the pre-June 24 status quo ante on abortion rights they want to restore. That’s a lie. The abortion-rights bill they would pass if they were able to gut the filibuster — the euphemistically named Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022 — goes far beyond that.
That radical legislation would outlaw virtually all existing federal- and state-level abortion restrictions, including informed-consent and conscience-protection laws; bans on taxpayer funding for abortions, such as the long-standing Hyde Amendment; and even parental notification and consent laws governing minors’ abortions.
Democrats who are targeting the filibuster for extinction should be careful what they wish for, in what would amount to a version 2.0 of the “nuclear option.”
If they were to somehow force a filibuster “carve-out” for abortion rights, there would be nothing to prevent the next Republican president and GOP-led Congress in 2025 from passing similar carve-outs for, say, the repeal of Obamacare, or for nationwide school choice or mandatory voter IDs.
Just as an aside, we should note that Mr. Biden took part in numerous Democrat-led filibusters during his 36 years in the Senate, but that was then, and this is now.
Perhaps he thinks everyone else is also suffering from cognitive decline and won’t remember that inconvenient fact. Will anyone in the White House press corps confront him on the hypocrisy?
Likewise, most of the same Senate Democrats now champing at the bit to abolish the filibuster joined a bipartisan effort to preserve it as recently as 2017, when it was Mr. Trump who was calling for its abolition — because they were using it to thwart his agenda.
Despite her support for abortion rights, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s office said the Arizona Democrat continues to oppose eliminating the 60-vote requirement for ending a filibuster, pointing to a June 2021 Washington Post op-ed in which she wrote: “The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles.”
Ms. Sinema wasn’t even in the Senate in 2013, but she clearly learned the lesson of the fallout from the “nuclear option,” even if it was lost on Mr. Biden and almost all of her Senate Democratic colleagues.