The Slatest

Democrats Have the Votes to Filibuster Neil Gorsuch. He’s Still Getting on the Supreme Court.

Judge Neil Gorsuch during his March 21 Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Democrats now have the 41 votes they need to successfully filibuster Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

As of Monday morning, the whip count showed 37 senators confirming they would vote against cloture. That meant Democrats needed four more to reach 41 votes, enough to block a final vote on the nomination under current Senate rules.

They got three Monday morning. Virginia centrist Sen. Mark Warner joined the filibuster in a statement. And during the Judiciary Committee’s meeting to consider Gorsuch’s nomination, the current committee ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and the previous one, Sen. Patrick Leahy—who’d previously seemed supportive of advancing the nomination—joined as well. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, meanwhile, announced that he would not block the nomination.


By the time the Judiciary Committee’s lengthy meeting reached the afternoon, the four outstanding votes from the Democratic caucus were those of Maine Sen. Angus King, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, and Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin. Senators don’t usually show up for their work week until Monday afternoon, which meant that King, Menendez, and Cardin hadn’t been put on the record yet. Coons, though, had to be in town early for the Judiciary Committee meeting, which put the onus on him.


After a long windup, Coons said he would join the filibuster—but held out hope that a resolution could be reached before the planned vote on Thursday. He did not look happy. Very few members of the Senate, on either side, are happy right now.

Barring the distant chance of an agreement being reached behind closed doors to advance Gorsuch’s nomination, Democrats will carry through a successful filibuster of Gorsuch on Thursday. And then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues will vote to change the rules of the Senate to allow filibusters on Supreme Court nominees to be broken with a simple majority. Gorsuch will then be advanced, confirmed, and sworn in as the ninth member of the Supreme Court.