Democrats don’t have the votes to block the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and given his performance over the past two days, it’s unclear why they would want to in the first place, but some political theater may still await us.
Forty-one of 48 Senate Democrats will need to support a filibuster to pointlessly interfere with Gorsuch’s confirmation. And what would be the point? In easily rebuffing the “concerns” those vetting him expressed during his confirmation hearings so far, Gorsuch was able to make his opponents look like the fools they wanted him to be.
They couldn’t pin the guy down on anything. Diana Feinstein expressed concern that Gorsuch wouldn’t take the side of the “little guy,” and Gorsuch was able to rattle off a few such cases where he defended individuals against big corporations in his 2700+ case career. They tried to pin him down on Roe v. Wade, and he made it clear he would’ve walked out of the room if Donald Trump asked him to do such a thing (not like he solely has that power, anyway).
Al Franken questioned whether or not Gorsuch was part of Steve Bannon’s “plan for deconstruction of the administrative state.” He might as well have asked if Gorsuch was part of the illuminati at that point.
Perhaps the lack of actual criticism is why, when Gorsuch was a Bush nominee, not a single Senate Democrat (include then-Sen Barack Obama) opposed him.
But if a filibuster is tried, it’ll likely be thwarted quicker than the criticisms of Gorsuch.
According to Fox News, Top Republican Sen. John Thune, of South Dakota, all but confirmed Wednesday that his party is willing to use what’s known as the “nuclear option,” to lower the vote threshold to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch if Democrats try to filibuster.
“We will do what is necessary to confirm Judge Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, yes,” he told Fox News’ Shannon Bream on “America’s Newsroom,” when asked if they’d go that route.
Thune, who serves in the No. 3 position in Senate GOP leadership as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, added that Democrats “have not laid a glove on him” in the hearings and predicted the judge would get an “affirmative” vote in the Senate.
The threat comes as Democrats not only threaten to filibuster but suggest he shouldn’t get a vote until the FBI completes its probe of possible links between Russia and Trump associates.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., both called Tuesday for a postponement on any vote to confirm Gorsuch to the nation’s highest court.
“It is unseemly to be moving forward so fast on confirming a Supreme Court justice with a lifetime appointment while this big gray cloud of an FBI investigation hangs over the presidency,” Schumer said. “You can bet if the shoe were on the other foot and a Democratic president was under investigation by the FBI the Republicans would be howling at the moon about filling a Supreme Court seat in such circumstances.
Warren added on Twitter: “Neil Gorsuch is up for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court from a President whose campaign is under FBI investigation.”
When in doubt, blame the Russians.
At least according to Warren’s standards of FBI investigatiosn, Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have been able to appoint new Supreme Court Justices either.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]