Gorsuch Nomination Hangs By Thread–Unless GOP Goes “Nuclear”

Senate Democrats are making public their planned votes for opposing or supporting Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate, and they would need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster that could block the confirmation.

As of Monday morning, three Democrats have said they will support Gorsuch and 39 senators have said they will oppose his nomination. Of those 39, already 37 have said they will support a filibuster. That leaves the Republicans five votes short of stopping, and the Democrats four votes shy of invoking, the procedural block.

This weekend, Senator Joe Donnelly joined fellow Democrats Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin in declaring his support for Gorsuch.

“After meeting with Judge Gorsuch, conducting a thorough review of his record, and closely following his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe that he is a qualified jurist who will base his decisions on his understanding of the law and is well-respected among his peers,” Donnelly said in a statement.

Senators Claire McCaskill and Jon Tester were the latest to join the Democrats backing a filibuster. Both senators discussed Gorsuch’s support of corporate money as free speech as a reason for blocking his nomination. 

McCaskill
Credit: Source.

McCaskill, like most senators, is concerned about the results of a filibuster, saying, “While I have come to the conclusion that I can’t support Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court — and will vote no on the procedural vote and his confirmation — I remain very worried about our polarized politics and what the future will bring, since I’m certain we will have a Senate rule change that will usher in more extreme judges in the future.”

The potential rule change is the so-called “nuclear option.” It could happen if the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, calls for a majority vote to change the rules on how debate may be ended. A simple majority vote there would suffice.

The last Supreme Court nominee to face a filibuster was

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