Gorsuch Nomination Headed for ‘Nuclear Option’
Despite praise from several Democrats, the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court looks destined to go “nuclear” after continued threats of filibuster from Democratic leaders in the Senate. Originally it appeared that Gorsuch, with seemingly impeccable qualifications, would be able to sail through the process and receive some Democratic support. We’ll know by next week whether that’s still the case.
Report from The Hill:
Senators in both parties are gearing up for a showdown over Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confidently predicted on Tuesday that the Senate would confirm Gorsuch on April 7, before lawmakers leave town for a two-week recess.
But as Democratic opposition grows, leaders are signaling they’re prepared to push the chamber to the edge as President Trump’s pick comes up for a vote — even if it means using the “nuclear option” to change the Senate’s rules.
“We’re going to get Judge Gorsuch confirmed,” McConnell told reporters during a weekly press conference. “It’ll be an opportunity for the Democrats to invoke cloture. We’ll see where that ends.”
Pressed on if he would have the votes within his conference should Democrats initially block Gorsuch’s nomination, McConnell said he was “confident” the judge will join the Supreme Court.
But Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) returned his own rhetorical fire, arguing that Gorsuch faces a heavy lift to get the 60 votes — including the support of at least eight Democratic senators — he will need to avoid a filibuster.
The Wall Street Journal has a bit more in depth on the filibuster threat and some initial vote counts:
More than half the Democrats in the Senate now say they will vote against President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, setting up an acrimonious showdown over Judge Neil Gorsuch’s bid to fill the seat left vacant by Antonin Scalia’s death last year.
The battle shows signs of becoming bitter, with Democrats promising a filibuster, Republicans threatening to invoke a rules change known as the “nuclear option,” and Democrats essentially daring them to try.
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than two dozen Senate Democrats had said they would vote no on Mr. Gorsuch’s nomination, while no Democrats had said they would vote yes.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination next Monday, with a vote in the full Senate coming later in the week.
The reality here is that Democrats can do nothing to actually prevent Gorsuch from getting to the bench. I’m surprised they’re actually expelling this much energy on this particular nomination, when clearly the next Supreme Court nomination, whenever that may occur, will be more consequential in tilting the balance of the Supreme Court.
In some ways, the Gorsuch nomination is barely news since it’s basically a foregone conclusion that he will eventually be confirmed. The question is how much obstructing the Democrats can do along the way to satisfy a base that is looking for any and all push-back against the Trump administration.
Part of the heavy opposition from Democrats is rooted in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision not to take up hearings on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee back in 2016. Poor Merrick Garland never stood a real chance as Republicans took a gamble to wait and see if they could take the White House and avoid losing Scalia’s seat on the court to a liberal justice. That gamble paid off when Donald Trump won, but it also meant that the Senate had spent almost a year simply denying Barack Obama his duty as President to appoint a new judge.