UPDATE — 4/3, 1:29 p.m. EDT: With four Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee members announcing Monday they will support a filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, the upper chamber’s minority party will have enough votes to force Republicans to change parliamentary rules for President Trump’s High Court pick to be confirmed.
“If we have to, we will change the rules,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) at a Monday committee meeting. “It looks like we’re going to have to.”
41 Senate Democrats have now signaled opposition to Gorsuch, with the latest to go public including Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.) and Mark Warner (Va.)
After successfully delaying a floor vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the number of Senate Democrats in opposition to President Trump’s nominee rose steadily this week with three additional members joining 33 Senate Democrats already pledging to vote against the Colorado judge.
Three Democratic senators, Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, Hawaii’s Brian Schatz and Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal, all announced their intent to vote “no” Friday and vowed to back an expected filibuster to block a floor vote.
In announcing her intent to vote against Gorsuch, Sen. McCaskill stated her review of Gorsuch’s legal opinions reflected a “stunning lack of humanity.”
For his part, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), told the Associated Press Thursday his GOP counterpart should avoid changing chamber rules to confirm Gorsuch in response to speculation Republicans were on the cusp of harnessing the “nuclear option.”
Despite the number of Democrats in favor of a filibuster, two moderate members, Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Hietkamp (D-N.D.), came out in support of Gorsuch Friday. Heitkamp faces a difficult reelection bid in 2018; Manchin has been strongly supportive of President Trump’s executive actions undoing massive Obama-era energy regulation.
President Trump won overwhelmingly in West Virginia and North Dakota.
As opposition against Gorsuch grew in the upper chamber, a coalition of several liberal groups are preparing to deliver a strong message to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), demanding the committee withhold campaign assistance to any senator in support of Gorsuch.
The groups involved include: WeWillReplaceYou.org, Friends of the Earth Action, Demand Progress, Ultraviolet Action, and VoteProChoice.
All plan to hand deliver a petition to the DSCC on Monday.
[Reuters] [Roll Call] [The Hill] [NPR] [Photo courtesy Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images via Denver Post]