As Democratic opposition to Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court solidifies, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has to consider going nuclear on the filibuster for the high court and has to line up enough Republicans to make that happen. That outcome is in doubt. Gorsuch, though he was as slippery as any nominee in his confirmation hearings, did not provide enough solid answers for many Democrats. He is an extremist, and many of his decisions reflect that. An "aw, shucks" Eddie Haskell demeanor couldn't overcome what Jeffery Toobin calls his "predilection for employers over employees [that] yielded a circuit-court opinion of almost Gothic cruelty."
The Supreme Court is, as political scientists like to say, a counter-majoritarian institution: the President and the members of Congress must answer to the voters; the Justices, who serve for life, answer only to the commands of the Constitution. But, in doing so, it’s their duty to speak for those who lack political power. The Trump era has already meant trouble for these people—the poor, the sick, dissenters, immigrants—and Gorsuch, for all his intellectual distinction, has shown scant regard for their concerns. There’s little reason to believe that he would as a Justice, either.
That's the conclusion more and more Democratic senators seem to be reaching. They succeeded in delaying a vote on the nomination in committee Monday, giving Gorsuch a week to provide better answers, but at the same time two more Democrats—Sens. Bill Nelson (FL) and Mazie Hirono (HI) announced they would oppose cloture—they would join the filibuster led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Democrats now believe they're very close to blocking a cloture vote. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is the only Democrat admitting he'll vote for cloture.
Sen. Jon Tester of Montana said he is “still undecided,” as did Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said he’s continuing to study Gorsuch’s record and that the threat of the nuclear option wouldn’t influence his choice. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who like Nelson voted to break the filibuster on Alito, said Gorsuch’s stance on privacy rights would be a central factor in her still-unmade decision on confirmation.
“I’m reviewing the hearings,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who is facing parochial pressure to back Gorsuch because the judge hails from Denver.
Help resist popular vote loser Donald Trumps’ Supreme Court nominee. Click here to call your Democratic senator(s) and tell them to filibuster Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation.
McConnell needs eight Democrats to overcome a filibuster, and if that doesn't happen he needs 51 Republicans to go nuclear and get rid of the filibuster. The conservative rag the Daily Caller is ringing an alarm bell over whether he can get those 51 votes.
What looked like a done deal a month ago is now in serious question. That's because of our resistance. Keep calling your senators and keep their spines stiffened. Make Trump come back with a better nominee.