[Congressional Record Volume 166, Number 183 (Saturday, October 24, 2020)]
[Pages S6443-S6447]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                    Nomination of Amy Coney Barrett

  Mr. CRAMER. Mr. President, 2 years ago, I was a candidate running for 
this job, running against a Democratic incumbent. The top issues of the 
race throughout the summer were things like the sanctity of human life, 
and most important in the minds of the voters--at least based on our 
polls--were law and order. The idea that a sanctuary city, much less 
several of them, could exist to protect violent criminals as long as 
they were here illegally was an absurd notion to Dakotans. They were 
good issues for me as a candidate.
  That all changed just a little over 2 years ago, when Senate 
Democrats waged an attack on President Trump's nominee to fill the 
vacancy that occurred by the retirement of Supreme Court Justice 
Kennedy. By ``attack,'' I don't mean engage in a vigorous debate about 
Brett Kavanaugh's political and judicial philosophy or his background. 
Rather, they waged an attack on Brett Kavanaugh himself, on his 
character, his reputation, and his family--and not with facts but with 
  My opponent, North Dakota's junior Senator, joined the smear campaign 
and changed the priorities of our campaign quickly from sanctuary 
cities to, suddenly, the Supreme Court of the United States. That 
happened just 2 years and a couple of weeks ago. As much as anything--
as much as any reason, as much as any issue--the Supreme Court is why I 
am here today. I do not mean just today. I mean it is why I am a U.S. 
  So, when President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill 
the vacancy created by the death of Justice Bader Ginsburg, I knew 
there could be no amount of political harassment that would cause me to 
shrink from this obligation. The suggestion that I or my colleagues 
would squander this--the right and the responsibility under the 
Constitution--and consider waiting until after an election that may 
create an opportunity for someone with whom my constituents don't agree 
to be nominated to the Court would be a dereliction of my duty and 
would rightly enrage the people who sent me here for exactly this 
moment. I refuse to shrink.
  So let's talk about the nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett. By all 
accounts, she is a brilliant jurist. I don't think anybody has really 

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her scholarship, her intellect. Certainly, you couldn't argue as to her 
demeanor. She has, on national display, demonstrated a demeanor that we 
should probably all aspire to but, certainly, for somebody who aspires 
to be on the highest Court in the land. Oh, by the way, I love the fact 
that she was educated in middle America. With all due respect to my 
conservative jurist friends and acquaintances and even those I don't 
know from someplace other than middle America, it is awfully nice to 
see one get to the top.
  My conversations with Judge Barrett were like, I think, everybody's. 
They were pleasant, and they were serious. In some cases, they were, 
maybe, even a little bit intense, but my conversation didn't focus on 
hardly any of the things I have been hearing about with relation to her 
nomination--in fact, none of them have I heard about in this Chamber 
today, and we have heard about lots of them. Mine didn't even really 
focus on the hot-button issues of the day. My discussions focused on my 
inquiry of her--about her sense and her philosophy and her thoughts on 
federalism. What is the appropriate role of States in this cooperative 
federalism--this wonderful experiment that is the United States of 
America? This is a system designed by the States. The Federal 
Government was created by the States. The Federal Government didn't 
create the States. No, the States created the Federal Government. It is 
  I, of course, like the Presiding Officer, was a State-elected 
official. I was never the Governor, but I was probably, in many 
respects, qualified in a way, today, that never occurred to me at the 
time, which was that I was a regulator. I was a State regulator who had 
been elected by the people of my State to regulate things like rates of 
gas and electrical utilities, to cite things like pipelines and 
transmission lines and powerplants and wind farms, and to oversee the 
Federal Communications Act and its application in North Dakota. From 
that perch as a State regulator for nearly 10 years, by far, the 
greatest problems and the greatest obstacles to doing my job were the 
mandates coming from Washington, DC, and its trying to impose its 
mediocrity on North Dakota's excellence.
  So, when I came to Washington, I set out to change some of that. I 
wanted to try to change our bureaucracy a little bit and find somebody 
in this place who understood and respected the role of the States in 
this cooperative federalism, because what I saw and what I continue to 
see is a big bureaucracy that is trying to run right over--roll right 
over--the States of this country. I think that the overriding issue of 
the role of States and of federalism gets to the heart of lots of these 
other smaller issues, of lots of these more granular issues.
  Now, whether it is the waters of the United States and what is a 
navigable water--that is one of the big ones, right? The Clean Power 
Plan and its imposition on local and State regulation is another, and 
how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission deals with grid 
reliability. Maybe it is something even more granular like cross-State 
emissions. Who knows? There are lots of them--lots and lots of them--in 
areas where it has really been the courts themselves. Whether it is the 
Supreme Court or the appellate court or the district court, it has 
really been the courts--the judiciary--that have been the only thing 
standing between an overbearing Federal Government and the rights of 
  So my discussions with Judge Barrett centered around her views on 
federalism. I gave her some examples, some North Dakota examples. I 
even laid the blame on Congress, and we deserve a lot of it, for sure. 
We have passed broad authorizations for the bureaucracy and then let 
them fill in the blanks. We have to stop doing that. We need to be more 
proscriptive. In the meantime, I want to be sure that we have a Supreme 
Court that understands the sovereignty of States.
  I mean, right now, North Dakota is engaged in several pieces of 
litigation with our own Federal Government, and this is under Trump's 
Department of Justice. I just wish the lawyers at the Department of 
Justice would take on the bad actors in the political class with the 
same zeal with which they take on my State. By the way, there are much 
bigger things they could be taking on when they take on the political 
class, if they would just do it, than the little things, where they 
should be negotiating settlements with the State of North Dakota. I 
just wish they had the same zeal for that. That would be much more 
worthy of the title of ``justice.''
  Yes, I am very pleased with Judge Amy Coney Barrett's philosophy and 
demeanor, but I was really grateful for her answers on the issue of the 
role of States in a cooperative Federalist system like ours. Yet, at 
the end of the day, judicial philosophy, intellect, and where one went 
to college is all just shored up by the fact that she is a person of 
incredible virtue--yes, a virtue that is grounded in faith. That is, 
after all, where most virtue comes from. In fact, I suspect that some 
of those virtues that used to be more universal in our country are part 
of why the left despises her so much.
  As for me, I am just glad that she is willing to do it. I am glad 
that her family is willing to stand with her and do it. I am glad that 
she has the virtues of faith that underpin the intellect and the 
experience and the demeanor. In fact, perhaps, it is why she has all of 
those other things. For those reasons and several others, it is going 
to be a pleasure--it is even going to be an honor--to stay the night 
tomorrow night, if that is what we have to do, to cast the vote for 
Judge Amy Coney Barrett to become the next Associate Justice on the 
Supreme Court of the United States. I urge my colleagues to do the same
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, I am here to talk about my support for 
confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court.
  Judge Barrett's qualifications and her character are indisputable. I 
had the honor of meeting with Judge Barrett earlier this month when she 
said her guiding principles as a judge were in the mold of a great 
Justice--the late Justice Antonin Scalia. In fact, during our meeting 
and over the course of her hearing before the Senate Judiciary 
Committee, Judge Barrett demonstrated her understanding of the purpose 
of the U.S. Supreme Court and the proper role of a judge.
  Judge Barrett believes that judges shouldn't legislate from the 
bench. Keep in mind that she is currently a sitting judge on the 
Seventh Circuit Court. She won't misuse her power as a judge to impose 
her policy preferences, and she won't twist the original and the true 
meaning of the Constitution to advance a political agenda of any kind. 
Judge Barrett will uphold our cherished constitutional rights, 
including the Second Amendment.
  I have an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association and the 
Montana Shooting Sports Association. I firmly believe that a correct 
understanding--a profound understanding--of the Second Amendment is 
essential. In the discussions I had with Judge Barrett, she confirmed 
she has that understanding. Judge Barrett's strong support of the 
Second Amendment can give every law-abiding Montanan who owns a firearm 
the full confidence that she will never allow the government to take 
away our guns. She understands what ``shall not infringe'' truly means.
  I believe Judge Barrett will stop Congress in its tracks when it 
exceeds its limited constitutional powers. For decades, Congress has 
imposed policies that this body has had no authority in creating in the 
first place. Judge Barrett will ensure that Congress stays within its 
limited constitutional powers while returning powers to the States and 
back to the people. She will defend the Constitution. She will protect 
our Montana way of life, including our Montana jobs. Judge Barrett will 
not bend to the radical fringe groups that are looking to kill Montana 
timber and coal jobs. She will be a fairminded Justice whom Montanans 
will be proud of.
  Yet some on the far left not only oppose Amy Coney Barrett's 
confirmation but have also said they are open to packing the Supreme 
Court with liberal judges. Let me just define what ``packing'' means. 
That means increasing the number of Justices on the Supreme Court from 
9, which has been the case for 151 years, to 11 or 13 or more, perhaps. 
That will be an attack on our

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Montana way of life. I stand with Montanans in strongly opposing this 
dangerous power-grab proposal. With Judge Barrett on the Supreme Court, 
the age of activist Justices rewriting the laws to accomplish their own 
policy agendas will be gone.
  She is a mother of seven children--five biologically and two adopted 
Haitian children. We will have a Supreme Court Justice whom we can also 
call a minivan mom. Judge Barrett is an inspiration to professional 
women, to working moms, and to school-aged girls across Montana who can 
feel certain there is no American dream that women cannot achieve.
  Just last week, I met with several northwest Montana businesswomen 
leaders in Kalispell to talk about their support for Judge Barrett's 
confirmation. These Montana businesswomen shared their views of Judge 
Barrett as a mentor, a role model, a wife, a mother, a brilliant 
jurist, and a great leader.
  I would also like to take a moment to congratulate and thank 
President Trump for nominating such outstanding and well-qualified 
individuals to the U.S. Supreme Court. With Judge Barrett's 
confirmation, we will take another major step toward restoring the 
Founding Fathers' vision for the Supreme Court and the separation of 
powers they brilliantly created.
  As a U.S. Senator from Montana, supporting Judge Barrett's 
confirmation to the Supreme Court is an easy call. She is someone whom 
Montanans can be proud of and whom Montanans can look up to on the 
  I urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support 
Judge Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

                 Unanimous Consent Request--S. Res. 758

  Mr. President, I rise today to speak about an effort that, frankly, I 
never envisioned I would have to, something that is so beyond radical, 
and that is packing the U.S. Supreme Court.
  This plan, hatched by a Democratic President in 1937, was so radical 
then that it was soundly defeated here in the U.S. Senate--a Senate, I 
might add, in which 76 of the 96 Members were Democrats.
  This was a plan that was so hostile to institutional principles that 
the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1937 said that it was ``a measure 
which should be so emphatically rejected that its parallel will never 
again be presented to the free representatives of the free people of 
  In fact, as recently as 2019, the brilliant late Justice Ruth Bader 
Ginsburg stated: ``I think it was a bad idea when President Franklin 
Roosevelt tried to pack the court . . . and if anything would make the 
court look partisan, it would be that.''
  Well, today we find ourselves in the same spot, and the reason why is 
simple: The Democratic Party still does not accept the legitimacy of 
President Trump or his highly qualified judicial nominees.
  Don't forget it was just earlier this year that the Democratic 
leader, Senator Schumer, stood in front of the Supreme Court and openly 
threatened President Trump's two Supreme Court picks if they didn't 
vote the way he wanted by saying, ``I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want 
to tell you, Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind and you will 
pay the price. You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these 
awful decisions.'' That is disturbing--disturbing, indeed.
  Let's be clear. This is nothing more than an attempt at a partisan 
power grab by Democrats. You see, packing the Supreme Court by moving 
from the current 9 Justices to 11 or 13 would essentially eliminate the 
Supreme Court from being a check and a balance on Congress and the 
executive branch, paving the way for a radical, far-left agenda put 
forth by Chuck Schumer and the Democrats if they get the majority.
  Packing the Supreme Court is a direct attack on our Montana way of 
life. Packing the Supreme Court with activist, liberal Justices will 
help the far-left radicals strip away our Second Amendment rights, 
destroy good-paying energy and natural resource jobs, and cripple the 
Montana and American economy by blocking forest management and energy 
  For us in Montana, we know exactly what it means to have an activist, 
liberal judge on the bench. Look no further than Judge Brian Morris of 
Montana. Judge Morris has done everything in his power to try to kill 
Montana's energy jobs. In fact, he specifically blocked the Keystone XL 
Pipeline. This project would create thousands of jobs and generate tens 
of millions of tax dollars every year for Montana schools and Montana 
  Packing the Supreme Court will also erode a major principle of our 
Constitution; that is, the separation of powers into three coequal 
branches of government. Packing the Supreme Court would simply make the 
Court an extension of the legislative branch. It is the independence of 
the judiciary that is essential to check and balance both the executive 
and legislative branches. Packing the Court would simply turn the U.S. 
Supreme Court into an extension of whatever political party happens to 
control the White House and the Senate.
  Here is how it would work: Whichever President is in power, if they 
have the same party in power in the Senate, they could keep escalating 
the number of Justices. It would go from 11 to 13 to 15 to 17. It would 
absolutely spin out of control, and our Founding Fathers would be 
rolling over in their graves. The packed Court would simply turn the 
Supreme Court into an extension of whichever political party happens to 
control the White House and the Senate.
  So I am here today to call out the shameful partisan attack on our 
judiciary, and I hope the rest of my colleagues will join me in passing 
this resolution that calls for the Supreme Court to simply remain as it 
has been for 151 years at nine Justices. That is all it says--we are 
going to keep the Supreme Court at nine Justices.
  As if in legislative session, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
proceed to consideration of S. Res. 758, submitted earlier today. 
Further, I ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the 
preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made 
and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, reserving the right to object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Reserving the right to object, I would open with the 
observation that--well, let me start by saying that in one of the great 
plays in our language, the opening began with the observation that 
``something is rotten in the state of Denmark.''
  There is increasing evidence that something is rotten across that 
lawn and across First Street at the U.S. Supreme Court. What is the 
evidence of that? Well, the first thing I would suggest is the amount 
of anonymous dark money influencers swirling around the Court.
  I have spent a good deal of my professional life around appellate 
courts. I have never seen--nor does the history of the Supreme Court 
evidence--anything like what is taking place right now with dark money 
influencers swirling like eels around that Court.
  How do they do it? Well, they are involved in the selection process 
through a group called the Federalist Society, which takes large, 
anonymous, dark-money contributions and controls the selection of 
judges. How do we know it controls the selection of judges? Donald 
Trump has said so.
  The Wall Street Journal has said this was a subcontracting 
operation--a subcontracting operation--and it worked. It is not a good 
thing when the selection of our Supreme Court is subcontracted out to a 
private group that then takes multimillion-dollar anonymous donations. 
It shouldn't be hard for Members to understand that is a dangerous set 
of facts.
  Then you go on to the campaigns for those selected nominees, and you 
see more anonymous donors writing checks for as much as $17 million. I 
can't write a check for $17 million. I don't know anybody here who can. 
The number of donors who can write a check for $17 million is very 
small, and the number who would want to is even smaller. That is 
another avenue of influence.
  Last, you have law groups appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, 
also anonymously funded. Some have gone out to find a plaintiff of 
convenience to

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bring strategic litigation before the Court. Some appear as what they 
call amici curiae, friends of the Court. Some swap back and forth in 
the same series of cases; they exchange positions as the litigant group 
and a friend of the Court. But what they share is that they are funded 
by the same groups, and they don't disclose that to the Court in their 
filings. So it raises the proposition that this isn't just dark-money 
eels swirling around the Court, but these are, in fact, tentacles of a 
common operation.
  It is particularly surprising that the Senator from Montana would not 
have concern about this because the State of Montana has been so 
strongly concerned about dark-money influence for so long. Indeed, it 
was a State of Montana case that went to the Supreme Court under, I 
guess, Attorney General Bullock at the time, where Senator McCain and I 
wrote a bipartisan brief warning of the dangers of all of this money.
  So that is the first thing--dark-money influencers swirling around 
the Court in a way that is unprecedented, in my view, in judicial 
  The second is a pattern of decisions that has emerged out of that 
Court. Under Chief Justice Roberts, there have been 80 decisions that 
had these characteristics: One, they were decided 5 to 4--a bare 
majority. Courts usually strive to build stronger majorities because 
that strengthens the institution. Eighty cases, bare 5-to-4 
majorities--by the way, bare partisan 5-to-4 majorities--and in every 
case, an identifiable Republican donor interest at stake that won--a 
pattern of 80 to 0.
  Last, you have the behavior taking place politically around these 
nominations and how peculiar that behavior is.
  Here is Senator Daines talking about the effort to appoint Judge 
Garland to the Supreme Court. He said, ``I don't think it's right.'' 
The Senator put it in terms of right and wrong. And he said, ``I don't 
think it's right to bring a nominee forward in an election year.'' He 
said, ``The American people have already begun voting . . . and their 
voice should be reflected in what we do going forward.''
  The very next occasion, the very next election in which the same set 
of circumstances presented itself, he and virtually everyone on the 
Republican side completely reversed their position about what is right 
in this matter. When you see reversals of position like that, that is a 
signal to me that there is something more going on.
  So whether it is all the dark money, whether it is the peculiar 
pattern of decisions, or whether it is the unexplainable behavior of 
Members, it sends a pretty strong signal that something is, in fact, 
rotten in and around that Court.
  I believe that every one of us should agree that we are entitled as 
Americans to a court that is not a pantomime court that goes through 
the routine, the ritual of adjudication, while making sure that a small 
group of special interests actually wins the case at the end of the 
day. Nobody should be interested in a court that operates that way.
  We don't know how bad the situation is because it is dark money, 
because it is still hidden, and until we figure it out, under the rule 
that it is premature to rule out remedies until you have a complete 
diagnosis, I will object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. DAINES. I appreciate the Senator from Rhode Island bringing up 
dark money spent in our elections.
  We all agree that dark-money spending has gotten out of control; 
however, the Senator from Rhode Island gives me an opportunity to point 
out the blatant hypocrisy from those in the Democratic Party on this 
very issue.
  I know I speak for probably every Montanan, if not most, when I say 
that we are tired of being bombarded with never-ending television, 
digital, radio, mail pieces, and most of it is from dark-money 
organizations. And where do you think much of this dark money is coming 
from? It is from groups aligned with the minority leader and the 
Democrats. In fact, according to a September 2020 report by 
OpenSecrets, which tracks political spending, two dark-money groups 
aligned with the Democratic Senate leadership have spent more than $44 
million on political TV ads--more than any other outside group on 
television ads during the 2020 election cycle.
  Let me say that again. These are two dark money groups aligned with 
Democratic Senate leadership that have spent more than any other 
outside group on television ads during the 2020 election cycle. Yet 
neither group has reported any spending to the FEC at all--zero.
  You may ask yourself why the minority leader and his dark money 
allies are dumping so much money into races across our country, 
including Montana. The reason for that is the minority leader wants to 
be the majority leader and take control of the U.S. Senate. He wants to 
change the rules, destroy 151 years of precedent, and pack the Supreme 
Court with activist, liberal judges who will strip away our rights and 
our freedom.
  Packing the Court is a direct attack on our Montana way of life. That 
is why, more than ever, my Court packing resolution is so important. It 
just says: Let's keep it at nine.
  It is not that complicated. We cannot let this Court packing occur.
  So while the Democrats continue to decry dark money--until it 
benefits their campaigns, of course--we must all take a stand in 
ensuring that our Montana way of life is protected.
  For those reasons, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. I just want to make sure that the record of the 
Senate is clear here. Democrats don't just decry dark money spending; 
Democrats have, over and over again, sought to end it. I know this 
because I was the floor leader on the DISCLOSE Act when we brought it 
right here in the Senate, and we came within one vote of getting rid of 
dark money. Every Democrat voted for that measure. Every Democrat voted 
to get rid of this scourge of dark money. Every Republican voted to 
protect it.
  So, yes, do Democrats use dark money? We are playing by your rules. 
We are playing by Republican rules. We could have brought up the 
DISCLOSE Act again because it was the first order of business the House 
passed in H.R. 1, but the Senate majority leader didn't want that bill 
to get a vote.
  So it is a little bit rich to hear a litany of woes about dark money 
from the party that is responsible for dark money happening. We could 
have gotten rid of it if we had passed my DISCLOSE Act. We could have 
gotten rid of it if we had passed H.R. 1. We did none of the above.
  So if I may, I would like to ask that a resolution be passed.

                 Unanimous Consent Request--S. Res. 59

  Mr. President, as in legislative session, I ask unanimous consent 
that the Senate proceed to the consideration of S. Res. 59, submitted 
earlier today; further, that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble 
be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid 
upon the table with no intervening action or debate.
  If I may, just briefly, before the Presiding Officer calls for 
objections, just describe the resolution, which expresses the sense of 
the Senate that dark money undermines the integrity of the judicial 
system and damages the perception that all people receive equal justice 
under law; that dark money organizations funded by anonymous donors are 
now playing an outsized role in the selection of judges and Justices of 
the Supreme Court of the United States and have spent millions of 
anonymous dollars on advertising campaigns supporting those selections; 
that the people of the United States have no idea who is funding these 
campaigns and what business those funders might have before the Court; 
that the Federalist Society and the Judicial Crisis Network and other 
groups have been a part of this and they are heavily dark money funded 
in this role; that then-Candidate Trump said of his judicial selections 
that they would ``be hand-picked by the Federalist Society''; that his 
White House counsel boasted that the Federalist Society had been ``in-
sourced''; that the Washington Post reported that Leonard Leo, then of 
the Federalist Society, helped raise $250 million from mostly anonymous 
donors into this effort--and I will leave the rest of the details to 
interested readers who want to pursue it.
  But I would say to Senator Daines' umbrage about dark money in 
Montana campaigns, if there is anything worse

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than dark money in political campaigns, it is dark money around courts, 
and that is the problem we face right now, and that is what requires 
looking into
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I have 
already made my remarks about the hypocrisy on this issue of dark 
  I think it is also worth pointing out that it was a very different 
situation in 2016, when Merrick Garland was nominated by President 
Obama. In every White House controlled by one party and the U.S. Senate 
by another, the President of the Senate, going back to 1888--in an 
election year when both the Senate and the Presidency are controlled by 
the same party, you move forward; when not, you don't.
  That is exactly what we did. We had an election in 2016. President 
Trump won, and here we are in 2020 with Republicans controlling the 
Senate, and the White House began to move forward.
  So with that, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I would just add, that was not what 
Senator Daines or anybody else on the Republican side said at the time. 
I was here at the time, and what was said at the time, particularly by 
Senator Daines is ``I don't think it's right to bring a nominee forward 
in an election year''--not when the party's control is split in one way 
or another. ``I don't think it's right to bring a nominee forward in an 
election year'' because the American people should have their voice 
  That has not changed. This new emphasis on the party difference is 
fundamentally the rule of ``because we can.'' If that is going to be 
the rule, if that is the rule that Republicans are prepared to adopt 
here--that what matters around here isn't precedent, isn't principle, 
isn't what is right, but is just because we can--then please don't 
feign surprise in the months and years ahead if we on the Democratic 
side follow that same rule that you are saying is the way to proceed 
  In the same way that it is at least ironic for Republicans to stand 
here complaining about dark money when it was the Republican Party that 
protected dark money here on the Senate floor, it will be equally 
ironic if the party should turn around later on and Democrats seek to 
use the measure of ``because we can,'' and you raise objections. You 
are basically here on the Senate floor forfeiting your right to make 
those objections in the way you are behaving on this nomination.
  With that, I will yield the floor to Senator Scott.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Daines). The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. SCOTT of Florida. Mr. President, I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, given the time, I will reserve the 
other unanimous consents I have. I understand that we are going to 
close, and we are close to that time. So I appreciate Senator Scott's 
coming to the floor to respond to those, but I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I will shortly ask to have a quorum 
call by noting the absence of a quorum, but before I do that, I wanted 
to point out just one issue of vocabulary, if you will, which is that 
the definition of ``court packing'' has actually two operative 
definitions on the Senate floor: One is to expand the number of judges; 
the other is to take advantage of existing vacancies and try to use 
them to change the balance of the courts and to put in judges who are 
predisposed to certain rulings.
  That is, in fact, the meaning that Senator McConnell gave to that 
term when he said that President Obama was seeking ``to pack the D.C. 
Circuit with appointees'' when he was filling vacancies; that Senator 
Cornyn used when he said President Obama wanted to ``pack the D.C. 
Circuit''; what Senator Grassley used when he announced President 
Obama's ``efforts to pack'' the D.C. Circuit; and when Senator Lee of 
Utah accused President Obama of trying to ``pack the D.C. Circuit with 
unneeded judges simply in order to advance a partisan agenda.''
  So when we describe all that has taken place across the last three 
nominations--all the procedural abnormalities, all the peculiarities of 
funding, all the odd political behavior on the other side, the 180-
degree, tire-squealing reversals, all of that, we are actually 
following the vocabulary that you all used about the D.C. Circuit, just 
to be clear on that point.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered