On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced his intention to use every weapon at his disposal to oppose the appointment of Neil Gorsuch. “After careful deliberation, I have concluded that I cannot support Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court,” Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor. “His nomination will have a cloture vote. He will have to earn 60 votes for confirmation.” From the Washington Post:
Republicans have vowed to change Senate procedures if Democrats do so to quickly confirm Gorsuch—but Schumer suggested they should focus instead on Trump’s nominee.
“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 the rules. It’s to change the nominee,” he said. Schumer’s vow to help block Gorsuch with a filibuster did not include calls for the rest of his chamber to join him in opposition—a sign that he is leaving political space for more moderate Democrats, especially those facing reelection next year, to potentially side with Republicans under political pressure sparked by a multimillion-dollar ad campaign bankrolled by conservative groups in hopes of securing Gorsuch a filibuster-proof vote tally.
The Post adds that “[s]enior Republicans have vowed that Gorsuch will be confirmed no matter what—a veiled threat to Democrats that they will upend Senate tradition and change the chamber’s rules so that a Supreme Court nominee can be confirmed on a simple majority vote.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indeed signaled a willingness to invoke the nuclear option and kill the filibuster to get Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. “Gorsuch will be confirmed,” he said on Wednesday. “I just can’t tell you exactly how that will happen, yet.” However, the Post reported Thursday that McConnell is said to privately oppose a change to Senate rules.