Jennifer covered how Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) will be joining fellow red state Democrats Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) in supporting Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination. Yet, as we took a step forward, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) decided to join Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) clown show filibuster. He says he can’t vote for a nominee who can’t answer important questions, which is a milquetoast answer given that Ruth Bader Ginsburg decided not to answer 70 questions during her confirmation process:
Jon Tester announces he'll vote against Gorsuch, and against cloture. 2nd deep red-state Dems to do so, following McCaskill— Alex Roarty (@Alex_Roarty) April 3, 2017
Judge Gorsuch is a smart man but that doesn’t make him right for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. I cannot support a nominee who refuses to answer important questions. With Judge Gorsuch on the bench, I am deeply concerned that dark money will continue to drown out the voices and votes of citizens, the Court will stand between women and their doctors, and the government will reach into the private lives of law-abiding Americans. These are not Montana values, which is why I cannot support this nomination
The red state Democrat elaborated further on a Medium post. That puts the number of Democrats voting to block Gorsuch at 40. That now only leaves five unknowns, Sens. Leahy (D-VT), Warner (D-VA), Bennet (D-CO), Coons (D-DE), and King (I-ME). Leahy said he’s not inclined to support a filibuster, who could have offered the red state Democrats some cover, but I guess liberal pressure and the wounds from Senate Republicans blocking Garland were too much. Time for some payback, I guess. There was some hope that this filibuster game would fail since at least nine Senate Democrats said that Gorsuch deserved a hearing and a vote. That turned out to be a lie. Very in keeping with how Senate Democrats have acted from the beginning of this session. I guess we should have expected two-timing antics from Democrats concerning how they behaved over Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become our next CIA director..
It seems like we’re going to have to nuke the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations after all. Yeah, I guess one could say this is sort of sad, but Democrats were asking for it. They decided to filibuster Gorsuch, an eminently qualified candidate for the Court, for no reason other than President Trump being the person who nominated him. At the same time, this isn’t surprising either. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) signaled that Democrats would go nuclear on Supreme Court nominations if he and Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) told a group of Democratic donors her concerns about this Gorsuch filibuster, namely that her party should keep their powder dry for a possible fight over a second vacancy. Then, she decided to join Schumer’s filibuster scheme. I guess the silver lining with this is that should Senate Republicans nuke the rules and a second vacancy should occur, filing it with someone, like Judge William Pryor, won’t be such a difficult task.
Schumer has said that the GOP shouldn’t change the rules, but the nominee. Schumer spoke with NBC’ Chuck Todd yesterday about the state of the Supreme Court fight, where he said that Gorsuch won’t get the 60 votes. Jenn wrote how Todd reminded Schumer that there is no 60-vote rule:
I admire Chuck Schumer’s commitment to the “60 vote” SCOTUS nominee “standard” that he just invented.— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) April 2, 2017
Our nominee was Merrick Garland. Mitch McConnell broke 230 years of precedent and didn't call him up for a vote. It wasn't in the middle of an election campaign, it was March. Second, then now it looks like we have the votes to prevent Gorsuch from getting on. Now, that doesn't mean you have to change the rules. Each side didn't get their nominee. Let's sit down and come together. Our Republican friends are acting like, you know, they're a cat on the top of a tree and they have to jump off with all the damage that entails. Come back off the tree, sit down, and work with us and we will produce a mainstream nominee.
Schumer says Gorsuch isn’t mainstream, despite folks on MSNBC, like Ari Melber and Rachel Maddow, conceding that Gorsuch is within that framework. Also, at this point, who on the GOP side wants to work with Schumer on anything? You’re not getting Garland. You’re not getting a liberal replacement, Chucky. You lost the election—and that has consequences. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Gorsuch's nomination today.