Democrats exploded in anger Monday after Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court and then sworn in as the court's newest associate justice. They promised retaliation and blamed Republicans for escalating tribalism in American politics.
But conservative commentator and lawyer Ben Shapiro was quick to provide Democrats with a history lesson.
What did Democrats say?
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said expanding the Supreme Court and packing it with liberal justices is necessary because such measures will fix what she called a "broken system."
"Remember that Republicans have lost 6 of the last 7 popular votes, but have appointed 6 of the last 9 justices," Omar claimed. "By expanding the court we fix this broken system and have the court better represent the values of the American people."
Meanwhile, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said Democrats should not stop at the Supreme Court — he said Democrats should pack the entire federal judiciary with liberal justices.
Enter Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who claimed that Republicans are "bulldozing" their agenda into reality.
"Expand the court," Ocasio-Cortez said immediately after the Senate confirmed Barrett.
"Republicans do this because they don't believe Dems have the stones to play hardball like they do. And for a long time they've been correct. But do not let them bully the public into thinking their bulldozing is normal but a response isn't. There is a legal process for expansion," she added.
Republicans do this because they don’t believe Dems have the stones to play hardball like they do. And for a long t… https://t.co/OWrvsA68SP— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1603758089.0
What's the truth?
As Shapiro was quick to point out, Democrats began political escalation — particularly in the Senate — years ago, and those chickens are now coming home to roost.
According to Shapiro, Democrats are responsible for the political environment that has resulted in the confirmation of judges like Barrett.
"The funniest part about this tweet is that Democrats were first to destroy judicial candidates for mere interpretational disagreement, the first to use the filibuster against judges, and the first to nuke the filibuster against judges...but she thinks the Republicans started it," Shpairo wrote in response to Ocasio-Cortez.
The funniest part about this tweet is that Democrats were first to destroy judicial candidates for mere interpretat… https://t.co/PJE6yD0EG6— Ben Shapiro (@Ben Shapiro)1603760051.0
Indeed, Senate Democrats have spent decades tearing down conservative-leaning judges nominated to the federal judiciary.
The climax of such behavior happened in the fall of 2018 during Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation, when Democrats pushed unsubstantiated claims that he was a serial sexual assaulter.
Meanwhile, as the Heritage Foundation explains, the filibuster, implemented in the early 1800s, was originally meant for legislative purposes, but Democrats were the first to invoke the filibuster in 2003 against nearly one dozen federal judicial nominees appointed by then-President George W. Bush.
And who could forget when, in 2013, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) forever changed the landscape of the Senate by invoking the so-called "nuclear option" to lower the vote-threshold required to approve federal judges. Democrats did this in retaliation against Senate Republicans — who at the time were in the minority in the Senate — for taking a play from the Democratic playbook and using the filibuster to block many of then-President Barack Obama's executive nominees.
Previously, judges and executive nominees needed three-fifths approval, or 60 votes in the Senate, to end debate on their confirmation. But because Democrats changed the rules, only a simple majority, or 51 votes, is required to end debate on confirmation.
One year later, Democrats confirmed 89 federal judges using the re-written rules.
After Democrats changed the rules, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell left Democrats with a sobering warning, "You'll regret this — and you may regret this a lot sooner than you think."
Turns out, McConnell was right.