Neil Gorsuch

Gorsuch’s Path to 60 Votes Closing Fast

“Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s path to 60 votes is rapidly closing — setting the stage for a nuclear showdown in the Senate as soon as next week,” Politico reports.

“Senior Democratic sources are now increasingly confident that Gorsuch can’t clear a filibuster, saying his ceiling is likely mid- to upper-50s on the key procedural vote. That would mark the first successful filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee since Abe Fortas for chief justice in the 1960s.”

Democrats Will Filibuster Gorsuch

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) announced he would oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court “and join other Democrats in filibustering the nomination, making it likely that the judge will struggle to find the support needed to clear a 60-vote procedural hurdle,” the Washington Post reports.

Schumer said Gorsuch “was unable to sufficiently convince me that he’d be an independent check” on President Trump and is “not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology.”

Democrats Mull Deal to Let Gorsuch Through

Politico: “A group of Senate Democrats is beginning to explore trying to extract concessions from Republicans in return for allowing Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed… The lawmakers worry that Gorsuch could be confirmed whether Democrats try to block him or not — and Democrats will be left with nothing to show for it. That would be a bitter pill after the GOP blocked Merrick Garland for nearly a year.”

“The deal Democrats would be most likely to pursue, the sources said, would be to allow confirmation of Gorsuch in exchange for a commitment from Republicans not to kill the filibuster for a subsequent vacancy during President Donald Trump’s term.”

Rick Hasen: “Triggering a fight over the filibuster will gain attention, but Democrats can only do it once. The Gorsuch nomination restores the balance of power on the Court to the position it was in before Justice Scalia’s death.”

Smooth Sailing for Gorsuch So Far

Rick Klein and Shushannah Walshe: “Amid the political insanity, the Supreme Court confirmation hearings have been taking place in a bubble, in a time warp to a recent past of serious questioning sprinkled with predictable political sparring. It’s been a refreshing return to Washington normalcy; even tired talking points, traded between the parties as they are, can sound somehow comforting. It may stand as a credit to the Senate Judiciary Committee that it can operate as if nothing outside the hearing room has changed.”

“It also stands to benefit the nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, who has come across as earnest, human and humorous through his first two days in front of the committee. Gorsuch has looked slightly testy under questioning by Democrats, but he remains on a glide path to confirmation. The only reminders that he’s being considered for confirmation in Trump’s Washington have come when the president himself comes up; Trump’s interest in what it would have taken him to win Colorado is about as Trump a question for a Supreme Court nominee that one can imagine.”

Will Democrats Filibuster Gorsuch?

NBC News: “As Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch enters his second day of confirmation hearings in the Senate, his fate is dependent upon the support of Democratic senators who are embroiled in partisan fighting over the politics of the high court and a controversial president. Democrats’ concerns could lead to an explosive fight on the Senate floor that would hold up his nomination and potentially force Republicans to enact the so-called ‘nuclear option,’ a procedural move that would blow up Senate rules to pass President Donald Trump’s nominee.”

“Operating in a hyper-partisan era with an unpopular new president, Gorsuch’s judicial leanings will be one area of focus for Democrats, but hard feelings felt by Democrats over Republicans blocking the last Supreme Court nominee and Gorsuch’s independence from President Donald Trump are other areas of concern. For now, it appears Republicans have the votes to get their nominee confirmed but it remains to be seen just how far they will need to go to get there.”

Democrats Focus on Garland at Gorsuch Hearing

“The Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Judge Neil Gorsuch is underway, but based on the statements of Democrats, one might think it was about the man who might have been: Judge Merrick Garland,” the New York Times reports.

“Democrats were always expected to highlight Republicans’ refusal to even meet with President Barack Obama’s nominee last year. But the frequency and ferocity of their attacks were notable out of the gate.”

Democrats Face Two Tough Paths on Gorsuch

“When it comes to the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, Senate Democrats appear to have two options: Get out of the way or get run over,” the New York Times reports.

“Senate Republicans’ enthusiastic backing of President Trump’s nominee ensures majority support even before the confirmation hearing begins Monday. But the Republicans also hope that enough Democrats are won over by Judge Gorsuch — or recognize the inevitability of his confirmation — that they join in efforts to head off an explosive showdown over a filibuster.”

“Should Democrats ultimately deny the judge the necessary backing to clear the way for an up-or-down vote, Republicans seem more than ready to take the potentially volatile procedural steps to eliminate the 60-vote threshold on high court picks and summarily install him over Democratic objections. In either case, Judge Gorsuch winds up on the Supreme Court, filling the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016.”

Democrats Paralyzed Over Gorsuch

“Democrats can’t seem to land a punch on Neil Gorsuch — and it’s not even clear they want to,” Politico reports.

“President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee has breezed through more than 70 meetings with senators. Opponents who’ve scoured his record have found little to latch onto. And some Democrats are privately beginning to believe that Gorsuch — barring a blunder at his Senate confirmation hearings next week — will clinch the 60 votes he needs to be approved without a filibuster.”

Udall Floats Plan to Confirm Gorsuch and Garland

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) has an idea that could place both Judge Neil Gorsuch and Judge Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court at the same time, CNN reports.

“His proposal is for Trump to meet privately with Supreme Court justices who are interested in retirement. If one of those justices decided they would be willing to retire, and if Trump promises to nominate Garland, President Barack Obama’s unconfirmed former SCOTUS pick, in their place, then the retiring justice would submit a letter of resignation contingent on that promise. Then, both Garland and Gorsuch would be voted on simultaneously.”

Gillibrand Predicts Gorsuch Will Be Confirmed

One way or another, Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed to the Supreme Court, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) predicted, Politico reports.

“The New York Democrat said either Gorsuch will garner 60 votes or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will rewrite the Senate rules to allow Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority. It’s a rare concession that Republicans will win what’s shaping up to be a vicious fight between a Democratic base urging party leaders to fight President Donald Trump’s pick and Republicans who have said they will confirm Gorsuch by any means necessary.”

Gorsuch Was Smart to Distance Himself from Trump

Judge Neil Gorsuch told Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) that he was “demoralized” and “disheartened” by the President Trump’s recent attacks on the judiciary but Rick Hasen thinks it was “a smart political move” likely planned in advance.

“And this is the perfect response politically. It expresses disappointment with restraint. It is not, as some have said, that the president’s attacks on the judiciary are ‘dangerous’ or ‘unprecedented’ or poised to precipitate a constitutional crisis. This is about the least he could get away with saying while still criticizing. And any more could undermine his standing with the President. So it puts him in the sweet spot.”

Gorsuch Criticized Trump Attacks on Judges

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch told Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) that President Trump’s tweets about the judiciary are “demoralizing” and “disheartening,” CNN reports.

Said Blumenthal: “He said very specifically that they were demoralizing and disheartening and he characterized them very specifically that way. I said they were more than disheartening and I said to him that he has an obligation to make his views clear to the American people, so they understand how abhorrent or unacceptable President Trump’s attacks on the judiciary are.”

9 Democrats Say They’ll Allow Vote for Gorsuch

“In the past week or so, nine Senate Democrats have stated that Judge Neil Gorsuch deserves an up-or-down vote in the Senate — implying that they would not vote to support a filibuster to block his nomination,” National Review reports.

The nine: Richard Blumenthal, Chris Coons, Joe Manchin, Dick Durbin, Heidi Heitkamp, Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester, Joe Donnelly and Jeanne Shaheen.

“There are 48 Democratic senators (or Democrats and independents who align with the Democrats). If nine oppose a filibuster, there will be only 39 senators in support, and the filibuster effort will fail.”

“Of course, any one of these senators could pull a Cory Booker and suddenly forget all past statements on a given issue or nominee and completely reverse himself in an effort to win over the support of the Democratic party’s furious grassroots.”