In a situation that promises to get ugly, Democrats have recruited enough votes to filibuster Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court. Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware joined the effort to block Trump's Supreme Court nominee on Monday, bringing the total number to 41 Democrats, precisely the amount needed to permit a filibuster.
"I will ultimately vote against Judge Gorsuch's nomination today," said Coons at the judge's confirmation hearing on Monday. "Still, I share the view of many of my colleagues that Judge Gorsuch is a talented, experienced jurist. I understand why all of my Republican colleagues will support him and why some of my Democratic colleagues will support him today as well."
Several Republicans did indeed hint on Monday that using the "nuclear option" — which would reduce the number of necessary votes to 51 instead of a supermajority of 60 — would be their only choice.
BREAKING: Senate Democrats have the 41 votes to filibuster Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch; GOP vows to confirm him anyway.— The Associated Press (@AP) April 3, 2017
Gorsuch has faced fierce opposition from Democrats since his nomination was announced. In March, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer vowed to carry out filibuster to block the confirmation of President Trump's nominee.
Some Democrats, such as Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, worried about prompting Republican members of the Senate to rewrite rules and publicly opposed the filibuster effort being pushed by others in his party. "People who have been here for a long time know that we’re going down the wrong path here," he said. "The most unique political body in the world, the United States Senate, will be no more than a six-year term in the House. I’m doing whatever I can to preserve he 60-vote rule."
After news of Democrats reaching the necessary 41 votes broke, Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz urged GOP legislators to deeply consider their actions before changing Senate rules.
This will mean nominees for SCOTUS won't have to meet with minority party to be confirmed. Remember: door swings both ways in Washington.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) April 3, 2017
Republicans: please take a few weeks before you change the Senate forever. I believe you will regret going nuclear.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) April 3, 2017
Responding to the Democrats' success in getting the necessary votes for a filibuster, Republicans insisted Gorsuch would ultimately be fill the vacant Supreme Court seat. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah simply tweeted, "Judge Gorsuch is going to be confirmed."
Either way, the road ahead promises to be a rocky one for the Senate.