Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is poised to lead a Democratic Party filibuster of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
The Trump team continues to face resistance on Capitol Hill from Democrats and a handful of Republicans. In a new blow to the former reality TV show host’s agenda, Democrats have vowed to filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, the Trump pick for the Supreme Court.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Thursday that Senate Democrats are planning to filibuster the nomination, according to The Washington Post, complicating the judge’s confirmation. The filibuster could also change the Senate’s procedure for elevating judges to the Court.
Democrats have threatened to obstruct Trump’s Supreme Court nominees since the election, requiring them to receive at least 60 Senate votes to clear procedural obstacles to forward a confirmation vote.
Republicans, trying to confirm Gorsuch before the spring recess in April, have threatened to change the procedural rules that would allow the nomination to move forwards with a simple majority vote.
On Thursday, Sen. Chuck Schumer said they should focus on changing the nominee rather than changing the procedure, reported POLITICO:
“To my Republican friends who think that if Judge Gorsuch fails to reach 60 votes, we ought to change the rules, I say if this nominee cannot earn 60 votes — a bar met by each of President Obama’s nominees and George Bush’s last two nominees — the answer isn’t to change the rules. It’s to change the nominee.”
Schumer’s argument from the Senate floor was that Gorsuch wasn’t too partisan, saying he was:
“Not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology. He was groomed by the Federalist Society and has shown not one inch of difference between his views and theirs.”
Schumer stated in his speech that he didn’t think Gorsuch’s conservative approach would be an “independent check” on Trump. Schumer also urged others to join him in the filibuster. Sen. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania also announced that he would oppose Gorsuch and join any filibuster efforts against the Trump nominee, despite the fact that he is up for re-election in a state that went for Trump in November and is expected to work with Republicans as a results.
Republicans are threatening the “nuclear option” on the confirmation of Gorsuch, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky saying earlier this week:
“If Judge Gorsuch can’t achieve 60 votes in the Senate, could any judge appointed by a Republican president be approved with 60 or more votes in the Senate?”
With his usual sly dissembling, McConnell added insult to injury by telling reporters on Tuesday that he thought a Democratic block of Gorsuch was odd considering that “last year they were complaining about there being a vacancy for roughly a year.”
After the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Republicans blocked Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee for a solid 10 months, refusing Garland even the courtesy of a committee hearing.
Conservative leaders have threatened Senate Democrats with repercussions in the 2018 election, should they oppose Gorsuch’s nomination, but progressives are fighting back to block his elevation to the Supreme Court.
Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, spoke to Democracy for America activists on Wednesday to increase opposition to Gorsuch’s nomination. Urging the activists, Merkley said:
“Every decision Gorsuch makes and every connection he’s had in life has been advancing the privileged and powerful. We need to make sure this nomination does not succeed.”
Watch Chuck Schumer’s speech to the Senate below: