Bernie Sanders Calls The “Nuclear Option” A Disappointingly Partisan Move
Following the Senate GOP's decision to change the number of votes required to confirm Supreme Court nominees, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders expressed disappointment in the new rule. In a statement about Republicans' use of the "nuclear option," Sanders said he is "deeply disappointed that Republicans changed the rules" and specifically called out Sen. Mitch McConnell for assisting the change.
He went on to question Gorsuch's potential place on the Supreme Court, adding, "I fear very much that he will be part of an extreme right-wing majority that will attack workers’ rights, women’s rights and environmental protection as well as make our political system less democratic."
Sanders has recently been increasingly vocal about his opposition to Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court. The former presidential hopeful posted a number of tweets outlining his opposition, reasons including Sanders' belief that Gorsuch may vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, may not vote to overturn Citizens United, and would not prioritize protecting workers' rights.
And, as the Democratic filibuster showed, Sanders is far from alone in thinking Gorsuch isn't right for the job. Many other Democratic senators took to Twitter on April 6 after the "nuclear option" was approved to voice their unhappiness with both the rule change and the Senate GOP, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris.
At the same time, Sanders wasn't completely behind Merrick Garland as the Supreme Court nominee either. In March 2016, Sanders said he was prepared to support Garland, but would have preferred a more progressive judge be nominated. But when it comes to Gorsuch, Sanders is completely opposed. The senator spoke out against the SCOTUS nominee on the Senate floor for 13 full minutes on April 4.
Now, however, Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court seems all but inevitable with the "nuclear option," a rule change that is expected to have as-yet-undetermined, long-lasting effects on SCOTUS nomination and confirmation proceedings.
The final vote on Gorsuch's confirmation is expected to occur on Friday, April 7. But until then, U.S. senators are likely to continue making their positions on Gorsuch clear via their social media platforms.
The Supreme Court nominee has his fair share of supporters as well as critics. And at least one person will consider his confirmation a major political victory. And that's President Donald Trump, who called his nominee "a good and brilliant man, respected by all." SCOTUS will be hearing a number of important cases this year, including those concerning free speech, police use of excessive force, and patent law.