by Ken Fine
Senate Democrats on Thursday filibustered the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, holding the line with a precedent-busting partisan blockade of a selection for the high court and setting up a showdown over filibusters that could reshape the Senate for years.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed the "audacious" left.
The 55-45 Senate vote was five short of the 60 needed to cut off debate on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination and move to a final confirmation vote. The Democrats’ opposition is unlikely to stop Judge Gorsuch, however. Republicans were expected later on Thursday to pursue the so-called nuclear option: changing longstanding rules to bypass the filibuster and lift President Trump’s nominee with a simple majority vote. Judge Gorsuch’s final confirmation is expected on Friday.
Republicans have argued that changing the rules to push through the nomination is their only option, seeking to shift responsibility for blowing up the Senate’s longstanding practices to the Democrats. Allowing the filibuster to succeed, they say, would cause more damage than overriding Senate precedent to ensure it fails.Of course, McConnell’s the same guy who broke all kinds of precedent and tradition last year when he refused to so much as hold a hearing on Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia. It’s also the same McConnell who just three months ago essentially promised that the filibuster would remain intact.
“This is the latest escalation in the left’s never-ending judicial war, the most audacious yet,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said after describing Democratic opposition in the past to Judge Robert H. Bork and Justice Clarence Thomas. “And it cannot and it will not stand. There cannot be two sets of standards: one for the nominees of the Democratic president and another for the nominee of a Republican president.”
“We’ve already adopted the rules for this Congress at the beginning of the year. Basically we didn’t adopt any because in the Senate rules are permanent, unlike the House which every two year adopts a new set of rules. We don’t.”