Democrats threaten delay on Supreme Court nominee

Posted April 03, 2017

Gorsuch has been the subject of Senate confirmation hearings this week and Republicans will need the support of some Democrats if they wish to confirm him under current rules.

But Republicans have the option of going "nuclear", a colloquial term used to describe changing the longstanding precedent surrounding confirmation of presidential nominees and reducing the required number of votes from 60 to a simple majority of 51.

Still irate that Republicans blocked President Barack Obama's nominee, Democrats consider Gorsuch a threat to a wide range of civil rights and think he was too evasive during 20 hours of questioning.

"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 can not earn 60 votes, a bar met by each of President [Barack] Obama's nominees, and President [George W.] Bush's last two nominees, the answer isn't to change the rules - it's to change the nominee", Schumer said.

Gorsuch also managed to dodge taking a position on abortion, same-sex marriage and campaign financing, the dynamic of which changed in 2010 when the Supreme Court allowed the creation of so-called "superPACs" that can take in and donate unlimited amounts of money to political candidates. West Virginia's Joe Manchin and Florida's Bill Nelson, Democrats facing voters next year, remain undecided on Gorsuch, their spokesmen told Reuters.

That does not mean Bennet is ruling out supporting a filibuster.

So, either the Democrats have to alienate their own base by casting enough votes to kill their own filibuster, or the likelihood is that Republicans will change the rules to get rid of the filibuster on Supreme Court nominations.

On Thursday, lawyers, advocacy groups and former colleagues got their say on Gorsuch during the final session to examine his qualifications.

Hearings for a Supreme Court nominee usually dominate Congress, but that's not been the case over the four days of hearings.

Gorsuch received the American Bar Association's highest rating after what ABA official Nancy Scott Degan called a "deep and broad" investigation.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a member of the Judiciary panel, said during a hearing break that Gorsuch may have convinced "some, but not many" of his fellow Democrats to vote for him.

"Feinstein, the committee's senior Democrat, summed up her colleagues" frustration. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, also said they would vote against Trump's nominee, among at least 11 senators who say they will oppose Gorsuch in the face of pressure from liberals to resist all things Trump, including his nominees.

"And maybe that's a virtue, I don't know". Orrin Hatch said he hadn't seen a better nominee in 40 years in the Senate.

"Judge Gorsuch's record indicates that he has the character, intellect, and experience to make an excellent addition to the U.S. Supreme Court", Toomey said in a statement.