WASHINGTON -- If Republicans take control of the Senate in the November elections, the repercussions for the Supreme Court could thwart Democratic Party policy priorities for decades, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told NBC on Sunday.
"Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd asked Schumer why voters should care about the prospect of the Democrats losing their current Senate majority.
"You asked one reason: Supreme Court. The money that's cascading into our system," Schumer said in a reference to the 2010 Citizens United decision that legalized Super PACs. "If the Supreme Court continues to be the way it is and there's a vacancy and they buttress that, we will be subject to these few people just dominating the elections for decades to come. The Supreme Court on voting rights makes a huge difference. The Supreme Court on women's issues makes a huge difference."
Also appearing on "Meet the Press," Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said a Republican majority would end government gridlock.
"Washington needs to pass stuff," Portman said. "if you get a Republican majority, it will bring the president to the table and we will begin to solve some of these big problems."
Senate Republicans have filibustered an unprecedented number of judicial nominations and nearly all major legislation during the Obama era, delaying and preventing votes on even traditionally uncontroversial bills. The U.S. currently has no surgeon general, for instance, because Republicans object to Obama nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy because he once tweeted that gun violence is a public health issue -- something C. Everett Koop, former surgeon general under President Ronald Reagan said in 1992. In 2012, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) even filibustered his own bill in an effort to obstruct Senate operations.
Given the intensity of Republican opposition to Obama efforts, Democrats will face a hard road on Supreme Court nominations even if they maintain control of the Senate after November.