Gorsuch confirmation set for next Friday, filibuster drama likely

Sen. Susan Collins will support Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Maine Republican announced Tuesday in a floor speech in the Senate.

"If the nominee can not earn the support of 60 Senators, the answer is not to break precedent by fundamentally and permanently changing the rules and traditions of the Senate, the answer is to change the nominee", Schumer said Tuesday on the Senate floor.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has hinted that he could turn to the "nuclear option" to alter Senate rules to confirm Gorsuch with a simple majority.

Sen. Tim KaineTim KaineKaine says he'll vote against Gorsuch GOP lawmakers defend Trump military rules of engagement Trump supporters call for Kaine's son and other protesters to be prosecuted MORE (D-Va.) said he will vote against the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch.

That means at least 18 Democrats and independents, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY, have announced their opposition to the Denver-based appeals court judge, arguing that Gorsuch has ruled too often against workers and in favor of corporations. She did not say what the Senate majority should do if Democrats filibuster Gorsuch.

Republicans respond by asking how, if Gorsuch's views were so extreme, did he win confirmation on a 98 to 0 vote 10 years ago, when he was seated on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado.

If Democrats go down this road, Republicans are likely to nuke the filibuster and force Gorsuch through on a simple majority vote.

Five Democrats are up for re-election in 2018 in states that voted heavily for Donald Trump: Joe Donnelly, Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester, Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin.

Neil Gorsuch is seen here being questioned in the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 21, 2017.

Every president has the privilege to nominate the justice of their choice ( not the Senate's choice) to fill a vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

"By recklessly blocking a vote or even a hearing on Merrick Garland, the Republican leadership has inflicted lasting damage on the Supreme Court and the independence of the federal judiciary, while diminishing the powers and duties of the Senate", Cardin said.

Lawmakers from both parties are increasingly convinced that the United States Senate is on a collision course that will permanently change the dynamics of the chamber - and the United States Supreme Court. But the rules change did not apply to Supreme Court nominees. "Senator Stabenow voted to confirm Judge Gorsuch in 2006".

And even if Republicans don't want to get rid of the filibuster, they may be convinced Democrats would just do it themselves eventually. As fate would have it, Republicans appear set to invoke the nuclear option, which would change Senate rules so that Gorsuch's nomination would only need a majority vote.

"Look, we all know how this movie ends, OK?"

  • Larry Hoffman