The Senate’s top Democrat said Thursday that Democrats would filibuster the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch.
The Washington Post reports that Thursday’s hearings on Gorsuch ended on a “confrontational note,” and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that he will vote no on President Trump’s nominee. He has also asked other Democrats to join him in blocking an up-or-down vote on Gorsuch.
If the Republicans want to get Gorsuch confirmed before their Easter recess, Senate rules require that they have 60 votes; they currently have only 52 senators.
According to the Post, the Republicans have vowed to get Gorsuch confirmed even if it means changing the way justices are approved. According to the Post: “Traditionally, senators can force the Senate to muster a supermajority just to bring up the nomination of a Supreme Court justice. If that is reached, the confirmation requires a simple majority.”
Schumer had an answer for that, however. In a speech on the Senate floor, he said: “If this nominee cannot earn 60 votes—a bar met by each of President Obama’s nominees and George Bush’s last two nominees—the answer isn’t to change rules. It’s to change the nominee.”
Although Democratic senators have been getting pressure from their liberal base to block Trump’s nominees across the administration, Schumer did not say that the entire Democratic caucus would oppose Gorsuch.
The Democrats may not have the votes they need to block Gorsuch; the Post also reports that there are competing views on whether to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination or preserve the filibuster threat for the future, because retaining the filibuster could force Trump to select a relatively moderate nominee if he is given the chance to replace a second justice during his term.
Three other senators also announced Thursday that they would filibuster Gorsuch. They are Sens. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Read more at the Washington Post.