'If You Can, Mitch, Go Nuclear': Trump Doubles Down On Nuking Filibuster If Democrats Obstruct Gorsuch

Matt Vespa
|
Posted: Feb 01, 2017 2:10 PM
'If You Can, Mitch, Go Nuclear': Trump Doubles Down On Nuking Filibuster If Democrats Obstruct Gorsuch

Guy wrote about the Trump White House firing off threats to nuke the filibuster rules for Supreme Court nominees—and he’s doubling down on that threat. Some Senate Democrats have voiced their position to filibuster whomever Trump nominates for the Supreme Court. Last night, President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to shouts of acclamation from the Right and condemnation from the Left. Actually, the Left went into full freak-out mode, claiming that it’s a “stolen” Senate seat (whatever that means). Some of my liberal friends on social media are saying that Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy last year, should be given a hearing first. There’s only one problem: his nomination expired. Gorsuch is the nominee. Period. And he’s a worthy successor to the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

At least seven Senate Democrats are saying they support a hearing and a vote for Gorsuch. There are reports that the all-out filibuster strategy is just one floated by some in Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s caucus. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who said he would filibuster any nominee who isn’t Garland, heavily favors that path, but others are not so sure. Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said he would push for a hearing and a vote. Still, if Senate Democrats, still sore about Clinton losing the election, engage in blocking Gorsuch, the president said that the ball is in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s court, but if he can—he should go nuclear. On the positive note, those seven Democrats have said they oppose filibustering Gorsuch (via The Hill):

“If we end up with that gridlock, I would say, if you can, Mitch, go nuclear,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with judicial advocates in the Roosevelt Room.

"Because that would would be an absolute shame if a man of this quality was put up to that neglect," he said of Gorsuch, a federal circuit court judge. "So I would say, it's up to Mitch, but I would say go for it."

After Trump announced his nomination Tuesday night, Democrats quickly rallied in opposition to Gorsuch, with some suggesting they would force a 60-vote threshold to clear his nomination.

[…]

Seven Democrats in the Senate — Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Chris Coons (Del.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Dick Durbin (Ill.) — have said they oppose filibustering Trump’s Supreme Court pick.

So, this either could be a bloody fight, or the appearance of one is totally overblown. Guy added that one could be on the horizon, though not for Gorsuch, saying that the appellate judge could be confirmed without a fight, though a second vacancy could appear during the Trump presidency. That second potential nominee could face the sort of fight that might warrant a nuclear option.