Before the Gorsuch nomination hearings concluded, several Democrats announced they would both oppose the nomination, and try to filibuster the judge’s nomination to keep a Senate vote from occurring.
Perhaps most importantly, the leader of the Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer stated his intention to filibuster. Schumer said without irony that Judge Gorsuch was unable to convince him that the judge would be an “independent check on a President that has shown almost no restraint from executive overreach.”
With fifty-two Republican Senators, Gorsuch will need eight Democrats to agree to a cloture motion once the filibuster starts to advance his nomination. That’s if current Senate rules are followed. The big question is if Republicans will change Senate rules should they be faced with a successful filibuster and allow for the nomination to proceed with a mere majority.
Conventional wisdom places the best chance for Gorsuch to get votes from among ten Democrats. The ten Democrat Senators are running for re-election next year from states that Trump won in the presidential election. Two of those, however, have already joined Schumer in opposition to the nomination. As the Washington Post reported, “Sens. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) and Robert Casey (D-Pa.) also announced on Thursday that they would filibuster Gorsuch.”
There are reports of various deal proposals potentially being brokered, including one that gives Gorsuch sixty votes but makes Republicans promise to keep the sixty vote minimum going forward with future nominees thus canceling the so-called “nuclear option.”
On the Republican side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to have indicated a willingness to advance Gorsuch’s nomination no matter the procedure required. He said “Gorsuch will be confirmed. I just can’t tell you exactly how that will happen yet.”
The hearings themselves ended as they began, without much in the way of drama or surprise.
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