US Senate clashes over Trump Supreme Court pick

"I cannot believe he can stand here on the floor of the United States Senate and with a straight face say that Democrats are launching the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said after McConnell spoke.

Merkley's extended speech isn't a filibuster and won't delay debate or votes, but it's part of Democrats' effort to bring attention to the nomination.

Democrats tried mightily to keep the focus on Republicans' plans to change Senate rules, rather than on their own plans to obstruct a nominee who would likely have gotten onto the court easily with no filibuster in earlier and less contentious political times.

By permanently nixing the 60-vote threshold filibuster for Supreme Court nominees in the future, critics say it will give the party in power all the leverage and eliminate the Senate's tradition of needing at least some bipartisanship to advance nominees.

McConnell "will resist the change in some cases because it's in his interest not only when he's in the minority again but also to be able to rely on Democrats when the House sends you insane things", Ornstein said. Democratic senators are still angered by the refusal of Senate Republicans past year even to consider former Democratic President Barack Obama's nomination of appellate judge Merrick Garland to fill the same high court vacancy that Trump has selected Gorsuch to fill. Some senators have predicted that it will later be applied to legislation.

Democrats in 2013 changed Senate rules to bar filibusters for executive branch nominees and federal judges aside from Supreme Court justices. Scott Walker is renewing his Twitter battle with Democratic Sen.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, said that he had been discussing a potential compromise with Democrats as recently as Monday, but admitted "I haven't made a real push" to reach an agreement.

"What the majority leader did to Merrick Garland by denying him even a hearing and a vote is even worse than a filibuster".

Collins said Gorsuch deserves to be on the high court and that she's "committed" to making sure he gets confirmed. That move has been called the "nuclear option", as it would change the nature of a chamber that historically has afforded considerable sway to the minority party. Partisan rancor has increased and both Republicans and Democrats are eager to play to their respective bases.

"If Judge Gorsuch is an unacceptable nominee, can you imagine any nominee by this president being acceptable to our Democratic colleagues?" asked Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas. "I think he's as good as we're going to get".

Trump promised that he would nominate a Supreme Court Justice in the vein of Judge Antonin Scalia, a constitutionalist-and he kept his word.

Democrats have a different reading of history.

Senators are increasingly anxious that, at this rate, the filibuster may one day be abolished, making the Senate operate more like the House does.

[Senate Republicans should] resist the temptation to extend the "nuclear option" to include Supreme Court nominees, which is something they are actively considering.

Several weeks ago, we stated that it was high time for the Democrats to demonstrate they were up to the role of responsible, visionary leadership by approving President Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. To date, four Democrats oppose a filibuster, four short of the eight that Republicans needed.

"It's not too late for our friends [Democrats] to do the right thing", McConnell said.

  • Leroy Wright