John Berman reminded us it's "zero days until Election Day. Voting is now. 21 days until it's over. Three weeks from today. With that in mind, why is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laughing? John Avlon with a reality check."
Avlon said he wanted to kick off his story with something "a little scary." He played a clip of Mitch McConnell laughing with Sean Hannity.
"It's important to understand, though, just why Mitch McConnell is laughing that way. Because if you want to find a real rigged system with stolen seats, don't listen to Donald Trump about the election. Instead, look at our judicial nominations and how they've become hijacked by hyper partisans," he said.
"With the Supreme Court nomination getting jammed through the Senate along partisan lines less than three weeks from Election Day, it's an unprecedented power grab."
"Of course that's exactly what President Obama's nominee Merrick Garland was denied. But Republican senators assured us this was the new election year standard. That was a lie. So when Mitch McConnell complained about the 'Democratic playbook of double standards, broken promises and raw power,' he was engaging in some primo projection.
"Judge Amy Coney Barrett is actually sitting in a stolen appellate court seat right now. That's right. Obama's nominee, Myra Selby, was the first woman and first African American to serve on the Indiana Supreme Court. She was denied a Senate vote because Republican Senator Dan Coats blocked it. In contrast, Joe Donnelly granted a vote to Amy Coney Barrett when she was nominated by Trump. Now when Trump got into office, there were 103 court vacancies. How did that happen?"
"Translation: those seats were open because of obstruction, pure and simple. Get this. There were only 68 presidential nominees ever blocked before Obama took office, and 79 during Obama's first five years in office up to November 2013. That's right. There were more nominations blocked in by Republicans under Obama than had occurred up to that point in our country's history. That's when then-Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid decided to go nuclear and remove the filibuster-proof 60-vote requirement to fill lower court vacancies.
"McConnell swore revenge, and none of President Obama's seven circuit court nominees during his final two years got through the Republican-led Senate.
"Now, compare that with 17 circuit judges approved for Reagan in his last two years with the Democratic Senate, 16 for Clinton, ten for George W. Bush. Now, Judge Barrett is rated well qualified by the American Bar Association, the highest rating, and that matters. The problem is the process.
"It has been corrupted by obstruction, situational ethics and trust that the judiciary is dropping along partisan lines. We've gone from near unanimous confirmations for justices as different as Scalia and Ginsburg, to bitter party line votes, with Brett Kavanaugh getting the narrowest margin in history. It's not just fairness, but representative majority rule. Because Republicans have lost the popular vote in all but one of the last seven presidential elections, but they're on track to seat five of the last seven Supreme Court justices. Based on the support of GOP senators whose states represent less than half the American people.
"So, that's why Mitch McConnell is laughing. And that's your reality check," Avlon concluded.