Senate Republicans May Go “Nuclear” on SCOTUS Picks if Dems Filibuster Gorsuch
I’m not sure how I feel about this yet. I get that many Democrats feel - correctly - that Republicans stole this seat from Merrick Garland, President Obama’s choice, by not even holding a hearing for him. But if the GOP goes nuclear, we could end up with someone even worse than Gorsuch, with no way of stopping him. So I don’t know if this is the battle to have.
Even before Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch began to make the rounds to Capitol Offices on Wednesday afternoon in an attempt to win confirmation from the U.S. Senate, Democratic efforts to hold the line against him were underway.
Just after Gorsuch’s nomination was announced Tuesday night, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement that Democrats would demand 60 votes to confirm Gorsuch, a rare move on Supreme Court nominees and one that could set into motion the eradication of the filibuster for the Supreme Court.
Many Republicans on Wednesday chummily held the line that Gorsuch was so qualified that they weren’t sure Democrats would object to him. But others were candid about what may transpire if Democrats really do stand in the way of Gorsuch.
“Democrats have no problem voting against a conservative in any shape or form unless they are up for re-election in a red state,” said Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID). “We’ll get more than just the Republicans, I believe, but you’ll never get to 60.”
Risch said he thought Democrats would let a few of their rank-and-file who are up for re-election in red states vote “yes” on Gorsuch, but he was pretty convinced Democrats would try to hold the line.
“They can do 59 votes so they got the 10 that are in red states and they say ‘Okay, we can six of you off the hook. Who are the heroes.’” Risch said. “We’re going to do what we have to do. Just like they did, we’re going to do what we have to do to get him confirmed.”
Republicans’ option to “go nuclear” is shorthand for changing the rules on Supreme Court nominations so that nominees would only need 51 votes to be confirmed. Many Republicans seemed to hint that if Democrats played hardball or blocked Gorsuch, they’d go there.