War: Senate Democrats Prepare To Filibuster Trump's SCOTUS Pick No Matter What

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Jan 30, 2017 1:00 PM
War: Senate Democrats Prepare To Filibuster Trump's SCOTUS Pick No Matter What

Tomorrow at 8 P.M. President Donald J. Trump will announce his pick for the Supreme Court. Reportedly, Appellate Judges Neil Gorsuch (Tenth Circuit) and Thomas Hardiman (Third Circuit) are the top choices, though Gorsuch is thought to be the leading contender. Both men are solid picks; both were unanimously confirmed to their spots on their respective courts. Gorsuch is said to be a copy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, while Hardiman is more like Alito. That should satisfy the conservative test with these potential nominees. Yet, despite both men being qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, Senate Democrats vow to filibuster Trump’s pick whoever that may be. The battle lines are being drawn, according to Politico. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made similar overtures, saying that he's willing to keep the Supreme Court vacancy open if Trump's nominee isn't "mainstream" (i.e. a liberal).

Senate Democrats are going to try to bring down President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick no matter who the president chooses to the fill the current vacancy.

With Trump prepared to announce his nominee on Tuesday evening, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said in an interview on Monday morning that he will filibuster any pick that is not Merrick Garland and that the vast majority of his caucus will oppose Trump’s nomination. That means Trump's nominee will need 60 votes to be confirmed by the Senate.

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It’s a move that will prompt a massive partisan battle over Trump’s nominee and could lead to an unraveling of the Senate rules if Merkley is able to get 41 Democrats to join him in a filibuster. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also reminded her Twitter followers on Sunday night that Supreme Court nominees can still be blocked by the Senate minority, unlike all other executive and judicial nominees.

Any senator can object to swift approval of a nominee and require a supermajority. Asked directly if he would do that, Merkley replied: “I will definitely object to a simple majority” vote.

Merkley's party leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, has said he will fight "tooth and nail" any nominee that isn't "mainstream.

As Guy wrote, Trump wants Senate Republicans to nuke the filibuster rules for Supreme Court nominees should the Democrats try to block his nominee. Right now, the nuclear option only applies to presidential appointments that are not related to the Court. McConnell has vowed to confirm whomever Trump picks, despite the rancor from his Democratic colleagues. Unlike Republicans who had the Biden rule to fall back on, which explicitly stated that no judicial nominee should be confirmed during an election year, Democrats don’t have that option. They do have the eight-vote obstacle that Republicans have to overcome to reach the 60-vote threshold for cloture. This is where the Democrats could make their stand, despite, in Hardiman’s case, all of them voting for his confirmation (95-0). Gorsuch was confirmed through a voice vote.

So, it appears that Democrats think the Hardiman and Gorsuch were mainstream enough, despite their conservative judicial philosophy for the appellate courts, but not the Supreme Court? That’s odd. Then again, this is the Democratic Party, which has entered an evolutionary stage in which they go indiscriminately insane over anything President Trump does. If Trump said he likes drinking Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, I’m sure there would be a freak-out and boycotts from progressives.

Note to Senate Democrats: You don't get to dictate who gets nominated, and you need to come out of this fever dream that you won. 

Guy will have more on this, plus the ad blitz that’s being prepared for whoever the next Supreme Court nominee is in the coming hours.